FRISCO — Tarleton's Lone Star Conference and NCAA Division II chapter has come to an end as the Texans fell to No. 9 St. Edward's 60-52 in the LSC Championship men’s basketball quarterfinal round at the Comerica Center.
The Texans finished the 2019-20 campaign with an 18-12 record overall and earned the No. 7 seed in the tournament with a 13-9 conference record.
Tarleton put St. Edward's (26-3) on upset alert throughout the game as the Texans held the Hilltoppers to just 32 percent shooting and 11 percent on 3-pointers. What cost the Texans were turnovers, as they committed 21 compared to just eight for St. Edward's which led to a 22-7 advantage in points off turnovers for the second-seeded Hilltoppers.
Tarleton trailed 7-0 to start the game but scored 15 of the next 20 points to take its first lead halfway through the opening half. Zach Naylor came off the bench to score eight straight points for the Texans. The senior posted a team-high 15 points with 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.
The Texans used an 8-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game at 28-24 with four minutes left in the half. Clashon Gaffney had four points during the run and joined Naylor in double digits for the game, finishing with 13 points. St. Edward's closed the half on an 8-2 run to take a 37-32 lead at the break.
St. Edward's maintained the lead for much of the second half, but never more than four points, allowing the Texans to make a push. Javontae Hopkins posted five points and put the Texans up by one with 7:55 left, 47-46, for the only lead of the half. Ashton Spears, who had a game-high 22 points, converted on a four-point play on the ensuing possession and put St. Edward's up for good as they closed on a 14-5 run to end the game.
Devin Bethely had six points while Randall Broddie, Isaiah Range and Dexter Johnson each had four points. Josh Hawley had one point to round out the Texan scoring efforts.
This was Tarleton's final season in NCAA Division II as it transitions to NCAA Division I. The Texans will join the Western Athletic Conference next season.