by: JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor
The South Plains College men’s basketball team is fighting for a conference championship in the final weeks of the season.
After taking a tough loss against conference rival Midland College, the Texans won a close contest against Frank Phillips, pushing past the Plainsmen 77-72 on Feb. 1 at Texan Dome.
Jerron Love led SPC in scoring with 14 points, making three of four shots from behind the three-point line and was a perfect five of five on free throws.
Justice Green and Che Bob also scored in double digits for the Texans, with each scoring 12 points in the contest.
Marlon Jones was the fourth Texan to score in double digits, tacking on 11 points against the Chaps.
The Texans came up short in their rematch with Midland College on Jan. 28, losing their first conference game of the month and bringing their record to 15-7 overall and 6-3 in conference play.
Bob led the team in scoring with 17 points and had four blocks with seven rebounds against the Chapparals.
Green pitched in 13 points of his own and grabbed five steals against the Chaps.
Roberto Gallinat scored nine points, while Jones was close behind with eight points in the game
The Texans extended their conference winning streak with a win an 83-76 victory against Western Texas College in Western Junior Athletic Conference play on Jan. 25 at Texan Dome.
SPC fought to overcome a 15-point deficit in the first half
“We felt like we needed to get better shots,” said Texans head coach Steve Green. “We weren’t real patient in taking advantage of what our strengths were against them, which was going inside.
In addition to tough shots hindering scoring, the Texans were also slowed by the loss of one of their leading scorers this season, as Bob was in foul trouble.
“Our leading scorer had two fouls, so he sat out the majority of the first half,” said Green. “When you get dependent on one or two guys to score the majority of your points and one isn’t getting the ball and the other isn’t in the game because of foul trouble, you’re going to have a bit of a drought.”
The comeback win against WTC was the fourth consecutive conference victory for the Texans, bringing their overall record to 15-6 and conference record to 6-2 at this point.
The offensive attack for SPC against WTC was powered by a combined 46 points and nine rebounds from sophomores Marlon Jones and Bob.
Jones, a 6-foot-9 forward from Chicago, Ill., made nine of 13 shots from the field, along with five of eight freethrows. A 6-5 guard from Charlotte, N.C., Bob, came off the bench to play 26 minutes, scoring on eight of 15 shots from the field and two of four from behind the three-point line.
Justice Green, a 6-4 freshman from Tuscaloosa, Ala., pitched in 16 points and five rebounds against the Westerners.
The final player to score in double digits for the Texans was Deontae North, a 6-4 sophomore guard from Corona, Cali., who posted 12 points.
With nothing but conference play remaining this season, the Texans will have their work cut out for them on the way to a possible championship.
“We’re still in a situation where we can control our own destiny,” explained Green. “We don’t need anyone else’s help to be a conference co-champion or champion. We can do the job ourselves, and that’s where we’re at as of today.”
SPC had a dominating victory over conference rival Clarendon College on Jan. 18 at Texan Dome. The Texans outscored the competition by more than 30 points, winning their third consecutive conference game, 99-66.
The Texans took advantage of poor shooting by Clarendon, out-rebounding the Bulldogs 51 to 27 in the game.
Bob provided the bulk of the offense, recording a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes of play off the bench.
Bob has had a great season so far, leading the Texans in scoring from the bench.
“He’s a sixth starter is what he is,” Green told the Plainsman Press in an interview recently. “He’s probably playing more minutes than anyone. He’s a real aggressive player.”
Jones posted a double-double of his own against the Bulldogs, shooting a perfect game from the field, scoring 14 points by making six of six shots from the field and four of six freethrows.
Green made a strong contribution on offense, scoring on six of 11 shots, along with five of six freethrows, and finishing with 19 points in the game.
North contributed a solid 11 points and three rebounds against the Bulldogs.
The Texans racked up a tough road victory against conference opponent Howard College, holding off the Hawks in a 74-71 victory on Jan. 14 in Big Spring.
Love, a 5-10 freshman guard from Yonkers, N.Y., played 31 minutes off the bench to lead the Texans in scoring with 19 points on six of 10 shots, including four from three-point land. He also was a perfect three of three from the free throw-line.
North and Bob each had a strong night on offense, combining for 29 points and nine rebounds in the game.
North finished the game with 15 points, shooting 50 percent from behind the three-point line and a perfect six of six on freethrows.
Bob’s 14 points came on five-of-seven shoting from the field and three of four from the foul line.