EDINBURG — The UTRGV men’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak Monday, cruising past North American University 92-73 at the UTRGV Fieldhouse in Edinburg.
Five UTRGV players scored in double figures during the win, led by Sherman Brashear’s 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Ahren Freeman added 16 points and eight boards, while J.J. Howard, Elijah Elliott, DeAnthony Tipler and Daylen Williams chipped in 14, 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The victory marked win No. 25 for head coach Matt Figger at UTRGV, moving him to 25-43 overall with the team.
“I’m not very happy,” Figger said. “I don’t care about the score or the opponent. We played very immature. We had moments when we were a team and moments where we were very selfish individuals, non-competitive selfish individuals at that. These stats are all misleading. I don’t think we played great. We did not. We did not play well at all.”
The Vaqueros jumped out on the Stallions early, using a barrage of 3-pointers to take a 14-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.
18 of UTRGV’s final 20 first-half points came from behind the arc, with five different players hitting from deep during the opening half.
The double-digit lead evaporated before the break, however, with the Stallions closing out the half on a 10-0 run to cut the Vaqueros lead to 43-39 heading into the half.
“We’ve not played a solid game yet this season,” Figger said. “It has been a tale of halves. We wilt under pressure. That’s a mental thing. We’re mentally weak as a team. When things get hard, we cave in mentally. I wonder if we have the toughness right now to get through some things. It is my job to correct it in practice.”
The Stallions looked to stay hot during the second half, cutting their deficit to one on a 3-pointer from Jamarric Hammond less than 30 seconds into the final period.
The Vaqueros responded immediately, going on a 17-0 run over the next five minutes to stretch their lead back to double digits. UTRGV didn’t look back after the run, with North American not coming within single digits again during the remainder of the contest.
Elliot was responsible for over half of the team’s points during the run, scoring nine of his 13 points during the stretch.
UTRGV (2-3) returns to action during the Acrisure Invitational beginning Friday. They’ll take on Hawaii at 7 p.m. to open the invitational, followed by a contest against either San Diego or Arkansas State on Saturday at a time to be determined after Friday’s action.
“I want to see a lot of mental improvement,” Figger said. “I want to see a lot of mental toughness, fortitude and heart. It has nothing to do with skill. It has nothing to do with running and jumping. It is all between your ears. Everything is between your ears. It has to do with having some pride in wearing that Vaqueros jersey and representing UTRGV, not representing an individual. The team says UTRGV and Vaqueros. That better mean something.”