CANYON – The last time No. 16 Dallas Baptist and No. 8 West Texas A&M played inside the First United Bank Center, the Patriots ended the Buffs 45-game home winning streak.
The Buffs did not forget.
West Texas A&M scored the game’s first 22 points and never looked back cruising to a 88-77 win over DBU in the Lone Star Conference semifinals.
The Buffs advance to meet either Texas A&M-Kingsville or St. Edward’s at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
DBU awaits to see if they will earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II South Central Regional when the selection show airs at 9:30 p.m. Sunday night.
“It was a good win by our team,” West Texas A&M coach Tom Brown said. “We started off really strong tonight. We were up 22-0 and you don’t get that opportunity against a team like Dallas Baptist a lot. Our guys were dialed in and I think Dallas Baptist had a little bit of an off night.”
“They started the game with an edge that we didn’t have and that’s on me as a coach to make sure we start better,” Dallas Baptist coach Blake Flickner said. “You can’t spot a team like that 22 points to start the game.”
In case WT needed any reminder at half about the previous home loss to DBU, the Buffs led the Patriots by the same amount of points at half as they led in the January 9 loss (18).
“We did not talk about the last game,” Brown said. “We don’t talk about winning and losing too much. We talk about what we need to do offensively, defensively, and in transition.
“You can always be up by more. I thought we could be up by 30 at half. We made some mistakes in the first half but as a coach, I always want more. We needed to stay focused, do the little things – we’re not going to put the brakes on. We wanted to make them work on defense by taking great shots.”
This time, the Buffs never let the Patriots back in the game holding at least a 10-point lead throughout.
“We didn’t reference that game but we talked about believing it could be done,” Flickner said. “Focusing on that because you can’t do something special if you don’t think it can happen. We made it a little bit of a challenge, we pushed it to 11 and they took the momentum back from us. That’s fool’s gold. You can’t get down like that to West Texas.”