No. 1 WTAMU Buffs stretch win streak to 17 with Larry Wise leading the way

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WTAMU forward Larry Wise scored a season-high 32 points against Midwestern State on Saturday. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]
So just what are the Buffs up to down in Canyon these days?

A whole lot of good.

Thursday and Saturday West Texas A&M made sure home stayed sweet by adding two more W’s to its winning streak of 17 and continued to hold its reign as the No. 1 Division II men’s basketball team in the nation.

The Buffs looked impressive in the First United Bank Center beating Cameron 90-78 on Thursday and then had few problems in handing Midwestern State an 89-62 loss on Saturday.

The sweep completed WT’s successful four-game homestand at 4-0, moves it overall record to 20-1 overall and now sit atop the Lone Star Conference at 14-0.

Impressively, WT has not lost since Nov. 16.

Here’s what you need to know:

West Texas A&M 90, Cameron 78

The Buffs didn’t come out firing on all cylinders by any means taking its first lead nearly eight minutes 16-13 on a Wise 3-pointer.

But once WT held the lead it never relinquished and an upset by Cameron was never a problem.

Senior Larry Wise led WT with 29 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while senior guard Zach Toussaint buried six 3-pointers and scored 20 points. Freshman Kieran Elliott continued his bid for LSC newcomer of the year honors going for 12.

Cameron is a legit D-II team giving WT fits at home back on Jan. 6 losing by 72-68.

With Thursday’s loss Cameron dropped to 13-7 and 9-5 with 6-5 sophomore Lavell Brodnex pulling off a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

WTAMU guard Journee Phillips goes up for a bucket against Cameron on Thursday night at the First United Bank Center. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]

West Texas A&M 89, Midwestern State 62

Midwestern State definitely showed up in the first half holding a 25-21 lead 13 minutes in on a Braedon Bigott 3-pointer.

But the Buffs weren’t about to let their win streak go in front of the home crowd and held a comfy 40-31 lead at halftime.

WT used an 18-2 run in the second half to seal the deal on this win extending that win streak to 17.

The Buffs beat up Midwestern State (12-9, 6-9) from beyond the arc making 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) on 3-point attempts. Wise led all scorers with a team-high 32 points. Sophomore Ahamed Mohammed joined Wise in double figures with 12.

WTAMU forward Larry Wise combined to score 62 points in wins over Cameron and Midwestern State over the weekend. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]

A word with the Wise

Buffs senior Larry Wise continued his bid to be in the running for not only the Lone Star Conference player of the year but the national D-II player of the year.

In the win over Cameron, he helped the Buffs overcome a slow start by scoring a game-high 29 points and grabbing eight rebounds.

In the win over Midwestern State, the 6-5 Waxahachie native was brilliant and efficient scoring a season-high 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor.

With the 32 points Wise passed Price Brookfield on the all-time WT scoring list moving to ninth place with 1,437 points. Wise is four points from passing Reggie Ramey for 8th place.

Wise’s talents left him with the option of entering the portal playing for a mid-major Division I program this season or completing year three with the Buffs.

WT coach Tom Brown is thrilled Wise decided to stay and play his final college season in Canyon.

“Larry is a very good player,” Brown said. “They have to key on him and that opens things up for guys like Zach (Toussaint) and Brock (Mishak) and Kieran (Elliott) and Ryland Holt. He’s six-five and can get his own shot. He’s a handful to guard. And I thought his defensive was really good this weekend as well. It wasn’t like he had a letdown down on defense.

“He was Player of the Week (in the LSC) last week and I would be shocked if he didn’t get it this week. You never know someone could have gone off for 40 or something.”

Brown said Wise may appear a quieter rather than vocal player, but he sees a different player day to day.

“What he is is modest,” Brown said. “I don’t think he’s quiet. I think he has a great personality and is someone you’d like to hang out with. He always has your back. He has a confidence about him that he can get things done and doesn’t have to force things.

“He’s just a great kid. He had lots of opportunities to go Division I last spring and decided to stay, and we are excited about that. He’s a great representation of what a student-athlete is (has his undergraduate degree and working on his Masters).”

Head coach Tom Brown and the Buffs are 20-1 overall this season. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]

The Perfect 10

West Texas proved Brown’s philosophy if you can’t shoot it, we don’t recruit it Saturday against Midwestern State.

Ten different Buff players made 3-pointers as WT finished 15-of-29 from beyond the arc as a team.

Leading the way was sophomore guard Ahamed Mohammed with three, followed by Larry Wise, senior Zach Toussaint and sophomore Brock Mishak with two apiece.

Adding one trey apiece were senior Ryland Holt, juniors Journee Phillips and Cameron Bell, and trio of freshman from Australia in seven-footer Harry Evans, Isaac Ayoubi and Mackenzie Morgan.

The WTAMU Buffs recent homestand drew 8,122 fans at the First United Bank Center. [Roy Wheeler/ Press Pass Sports]

Crowd noise

The No. 1 Buffs are definitely on the radar of fans as this four game homestand drew 8,122 fans for an average of 2,030 fans per game.

The highlight game was the Jan. 25 meeting between the No. 1 Buffs and No. 4 Dallas Baptist.

WT handled business that night winning 93-79 before one of the best regular season crowds in WT D-II as 3,557 fans arrived and were loud and proud.

WT coach Tom Brown and his players love the attention.

“Now that’s what college basketball is all about,” Brown said after the Dallas Baptist game. “Two good teams going at it and that atmosphere was as good as I’ve seen here.”

Brown added after the Midwestern State win on Saturday how the crowd was into the game and their knowledge of what’s going on.

“When Larry (Wise) came out late that was a really nice ovation they gave him,” Brown said. “The crowds have been great, and we really appreciate them showing up.”

Next Up

The Buffs hit the road for a pair of LSC games starting Thursday in Odessa against UT-Permian Basin. Then it’s off to Angelo State on Saturday playing the Rams guided by former WT coach Vinay Patel.

“You have to be ready in this league going on the road,” Brown said. “Permian will have a big crowd. Angelo, the place is going to be going bananas. So these are going to be two really tough games for us.”

WT defeated UTPB 77-69 at home back on Jan. 13 and downed Angelo 88-73 at The FUBC on Jan. 11.

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