Southland Tourney Recap
Things get heated as teams fight for the right to dance.
by Jamie Palmer
Katy, TX — For two straight Saturdays, the University of Texas-San Antonio had a must-win game to continue their season.
Down 10 at half and the right to play in their own conference tournament on the line, the Roadrunners fought back and beat UT-Arlington in the last game of the regular season. The following Saturday, coach Brook Thompson’s team knocked off McNeese St 75-72 to win the Southland Conference tournament and right to dance at the NCAA’s.
UTSA beat No. 2 seed Northwestern St in the quarters and No. 3 seed Sam Houston in the semi’s before beating the top seed McNeese St in the championship.
“I can’t sit here and tell you how proud I am of these guys for what they’ve done all year long,” Thompson said. “What they’ve done in the last two weeks, especially the win at UT Arlington, we wouldn’t be sitting here today.”
I would say Devin Gibson had a lot to do with Thompson “sitting” at the winners podium. The 6-0 senior guard pretty much carried UTSA to the ship. He recorded a triple-double in the quarterfinals and came right back with a double-double in the semifinals. His triple-double performance against Northwestern St was most impressive, where he scored 20 points, five rebounds, and six assists in the second half to bring his team back from 14 down to win 97-96.
“To have the poise that he had today, leadership ability to rally his teammates, opportunities to give 10 assists is incredible and his biggest assist was at the end to Jeromie.” Coach Thompson said about triple-double. “Its one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen and probably the greatest one I’ve ever coached.”
Gibson mate from the down under, Jeromie Hill, helped carry some of that luggage en route to the tournament title. The conference freshman of the year award winner scored 25 points and scored the winning lay-up off a Gibson assist in the Northwestern St game. Hill also came up big in the championship with another 25 point game on 10 of 14 shooting and a perfect 4 of 4 behind the arc.
“The last two years at home in Australia, I’d be at home, watching ESPN, all the college games, the NCAA tournament, I knew I could get there,” Hill said. “I’m very thankful and humbled to be going.”
Devin Gibson and Jeromie Hill were both named to the all-tournament team. Gibson was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.
The Roadrunners will play Wednesday against Alabama St. The winner will get No. 1 seed Ohio St on Friday.
UTSA isn’t the only Southland Conference team to earn a bid to play in the postseason. McNeese St earned the right to play in the NIT with the Southland regular season crown. The Cowboys will host Boston College in the first round on Tuesday.
Listed below are some players out of the Southland we may see down the road in the NBDL, overseas, and possibly THE LEAGUE. Yeah I said it, THE LEAGUE! Don’t sleep on the Southland.
Devin Gibson (Sr), 6-0/170 lbs Guard, Univ Texas-San Antonio
The Houston native averaged 23 points a game in Southland Conference tournament. Gibson didn’t have his best outing in the championship, scoring only 15 points on 4 of 10 shooting. His best performances came in the quarterfinals and semifinals, where he chalked up an impressive triple double (28 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast) against Northwestern St and double-double (26 pts, 10 reb) against Sam Houston. The first team All-Southland member is the only player in the nation averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2.5 steals a game.
Gilberto Clavell (Sr), 6-7/225 lbs Forward, Sam Houston St
The Southland player of the year scored 20 points against Stephen F Austin and 25 points against UTSA. Clavell had his turnaround jumper working in both games of the tournament, shooting a combined 17 of 29 from the field and only missed one free throw in both games.
Will Pratt (Sr), 6-5/225 lbs Forward, Northwestern St
The conference third leading scorer kept his avg going against UTSA, scoring 26 points on 8 of 13 shooting with 4 of 6 from the arc. He went perfect from the charity stripe (6-6) but only managed to grab one board. Most of Pratt points came from driving the baseline, where he was to strong for UTSA to defend.
Anatoly Bose (Sr), 6-6/200lbs Forward, Nicholls St
The nations ninth leading scorer (22.1 gm) did all he could against McNeese St. He scored 25 points on 8 of 16 shooting, 2 of 6 from 3pt and 7 of 9 from the line. He was tough on the boards where he grabbed nine and had two nice blocks on the defensive end.
William Mosely (Jr), 6-7/220lbs Center, Northwestern St
The nations leading shot blocker (4.9 gm) earned a double-double against UTSA. He scored 11 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking five shots. He had two monster put backs off the rim that should have made SC top 10. Mosely is the one to watch for in the 2012 draft, a lot of NBA scouts should be visiting Natchitoches, Louisiana next season. His long big frame and ability to rebound and block shots should be his ticket to wearing that Jerry West logo.