Texas A&M-Commerce coach Jaret von Rosenberg said before meeting West Texas A&M Saturday night his team couldn’t afford to allow the Buffs a run of points.

Not only is von Rosenberg a talented young coach, he’s a prophet.

No. 3-ranked West Texas A&M used a 22-6 run midway through the second half to shake free from determined Texas A&M-Commerce and cruise to a 77-61 South Central Region semifinal win before 2,514 mostly delighted fans in the First United Bank Center.

“We have a fun team and it’s been a great ride as our guys get along really well,” said West Texas A&M coach Tom Brown, his team set a school record for wins in a season with 33. “We have big one coming up Tuesday.”

The Buffs (33-3) advance to the South Central Regional final for the third year in a row hosting St. Edward’s at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night with the prize for win a berth in the Division II Elite Eight. The Hilltoppers downed Lubbock Christian, 93-80, in their semifinal Saturday night.

This was the fourth meeting of the year between WT and Commerce (24-9). With just more than 15 minutes to play it sure looked like they knew what each other were doing with the score tied 37-37.

Commerce wanted the game played at a slower pace and did a nice job accomplishing the strategy with the score knotted at 37.

The Buffs love a high octane running offense, proof of that arriving Friday night scoring 109 points in their quarterfinal win over New Mexico Highlands.

Over the next eight minutes the Buffs won the pace strategy.

During that time WT made play after play going on the game-clinching run outscoring Commerce 22-6, building a 59-43 lead on a Brandon Hall bucket.

“They wanted to slow the game down and that was obviously going to be a concern because we like to push the ball,” Brown said. “Quay is a one-man fastbreak and so is Jo Jo. … we just really want to go and get our shooters like Ryan Quaid and Gach Gach and Jordan Collins open.

“I thought our guys were aggressive but very patient. I was pleased to see us finish with nine turnovers.”

During the run WT put on display its ability to frustrate opponents sharing the wealth with several players contributing.

WT junior guard Jordan Collins ignited the run opening with a 3-pointer, physical freshman guard Qua Grant found his way to the basket on drives scoring nine of the 26 points, and the icing was a block by junior Eric Mosley from behind on Commerce’s Rodney Brown as he tried to dunk.

The Buffs quickly turned Mosley’s block into two points by freshman Joel Murray at the other end for a 55-43 lead with just more than nine minutes to play.

Commerce never recovered dropping its fourth straight game to the Buffs this year, seeing its season for a third straight year end after a loss to WT, and falling to a 2-9 record against WT in 11 games played over a three-year period.

Commerce coach von Rosenberg said he told his players he apologized to them for not having a better game plan and added the 22-6 run was the major key to WT’s win.

“I thought the first half went exactly like we wanted it to,” con Rosenberg said. “A lower possession game. We were playing at a pace I liked. But West Texas was able to do what they have done to us multiple times … as they do they on a quick run and stretch the lead to 8-10 points and then you have to change the game plan. We had to speed up.”

Freshman Grant was a stat machine for WT scoring a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor, tying Hall for a game-high eight rebounds, and leading WT in assists with four.

Joining Grant in double figures for the Buffs were Hall and Quaid, each with 13, while Collins added 10.

Commerce was led by senior guard Reggie Reid’s 19 points, with Willie Rooks adding 15 and Rodney Brown chipping in 10.


WT coach Brown was asked in the postgame press conference how hard it is to beat a team four times in one year, like WT did to Commerce this year.

“Especially a good team,” Brown said. “Texas A&M-Commerce was picked to win the league. They are very talented. Reggie Reid. Willie Rooks. Trey Conrad. Those three guys can play. I’d take those three on my team any day. They play with heart.

“When you beat a team like that you know you have a pretty good team yourself.”


No question the outside shooting of WT guard Collins has been in a spark the Buffs two regional wins. Collins is 7-of-12 beyond the 3-point line in the regionals.


Commerce’s talented senior guard Reid tipped his cap to WT’s dynamic duo freshman guards of Qua Grant and Joel Murray.

“For sure I give much respect to them,” Reid said. “They are freshman playing like juniors or seniors. There is no drop off with them. They don’t make many mistakes.”


WT 77, TAMC 61

TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE (24-9): Trey Conrad 3-6 2-3 9, Rodney Brown 2-4 6-6 10, Reggie Reid 6-15 4-5 19, Willie Rooks 5-11 1-4 15, Austin Grandstaff 0-2 0-0 0, Wayne Stewart 1-3 0-0 2, Carson Tuttle 1-1 0-0 2, Deonta Terrell 2-5 0-2 4, Srdan Budmir 0-2 0-0 0, Vemon Lowndes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-24 13-20 61.

WEST TEXAS (33-3): Qua Grant 9-14 2-2 22, Brandon Hall 5-12 1-2 13, Gach Gach 3-8 0-0 8, Joel Murray 4-12 0-2 9, Ryan Quaid 5-9 2-2 13, James Pennington 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Collins 4-8 0-0 10, Drew Evans 1-3 1-2 3, Eric Mosley 0-1 0-0 0, Derrick Geddis 0-0 0-0 0, Marshal Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Sterling White 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 31-65 5-8 77.

Texas A&M-Commerce 25 36 — 61

West Texas A&M 30 47 — 77

Halftime: West Texas A&M 30, Texas A&M-Commerce 25. 3-point goals: Commerce 8-23 (Conrad 1-3, Reid 3-6, Rooks 4-8, Grandstaff 0-2, Stewart 0-2, Budmir 0-2); West Texas 10-32 (Grant 2-6, Hall 2-7, Gach 2-7, Murray 1-6, Quaid 1-1, Collins 2-5). Rebounds: Commerce 24 (Terrell 5), West Texas 37 (Grant 8, Hall 8). Assists: Commerce 6 (Reid 4), West Texas 13 (Grant 4). Steals: Commerce 5 (Five tied with 1), West Texas 4 (Four tied with 1). Technicals: None. Attendance: 2,514.



NCAA Division II Men's South Central Regional

at First United Bank Center, Canyon and Recreation and Convocation Center, St. Edward's, Austin

Regional quarterfinals

WT Bracket

W. Texas A&M 109, New Mexico Highlands 95

A&M-Commerce 72, Dallas Baptist 70

St. Edward's Bracket

St. Edward's 82, Angelo State 81

No. 6 Lubbock Christian 82, Colorado Mines 73

Saturday's semifinals

West Texas A&M 77, Texas A&M-Commerce 61

St. Edward's 93, Lubbock Christian 80

South Central Regional Championship

St. Edward's (29-3) at W. Texas A&M (33-3), 7 p.m. Tuesday