By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
Klint Pleasant’s game plan was simple for last week’s Lone Star Conference Crossover game against Tarleton State: keep all-America forward Danny Jones off the block, limit his touches and play him physical.
Jones’ stat sheet from the game speaks for the Cats defeat as much as the final score, as he posted a double-double (16 points and a game-high 17 rebounds). His efforts helped the Texans dominate ACU in the rebounding battle (47-33) and ultimately live up to their billing as the top team in Division II, taking the contest 81-58 at Moody Coliseum.
Pleasant, whose Cats are now 9-6 overall this season, 0-1 in LSC South Division play, said coming out aggressively in the first half is key in the upcoming games, especially Saturday’s game against West Texas A&M. Results of Thursday’s game against Eastern New Mexico were unavailable at press time.
“Psychologically, the first five minutes is huge,” Pleasant said. “Anytime you have a team traveling four or five hours to come play you, you need to come out and play with effort early.”
West Texas A&M, which has won four consecutive games prior to last night’s LSC South Division opener against Angelo State, is 10-5 overall and led by a pair of 6-foot junior guards: Rod Prater, who is 13th in the LSC in scoring at 14.8 points per game, and David Rhone, the LSC leader in assists with 5.4 per game.
“They shoot the ball well and take pride in their half-court defense,” Pleasant said. “We have to execute offensively and eliminate turnovers.”
The Buffs rank second in the LSC in field goal percentage and fourth in scoring defense, as well as third in scoring margin.
Junior forward Tucker Pierson, who is 12th in the LSC in scoring at nearly 16 points per game, second in rebounding at 9.5 per game and fourth in field goal percentage at 52.9 percent from the floor, is enjoying a breakout season. He has almost doubled his scoring and rebounding averages from last season while significantly increasing his field-goal percentage.
Lee said Pierson is a true example of hard-working student-athlete.
“I’m happy for him,” said Lee of Pierson’s success this season. “He’s as big as some of the guards we play against, yet he’s still out there grabbing 10 rebounds a game. He makes me feel like I should be out there getting more rebounds.”
After Saturday’s game against WTAM, the Cats head out for four consecutive road games, including a Jan. 28 rematch at Angelo State and a Feb. 6 showdown against LSC South Division leader Texas A&M-Commerce.