LUBBOCK, Texas (March 12, 2022) – Playing as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional for the first time ever, Lubbock Christian University took care of business in Saturday night’s quarterfinal matchup with Texas A&M-Commerce, winning 80-63 to advance to the semifinals.
It was the fourth-ever win in a regional game for the Chaps (27-3), who were playing as the higher-seeded team for just the second time ever. They now advance to the semifinals, which will tip off a 7:30 pm on Sunday at the Rip Griffin Center.
LCU didn’t quite control the game from the tip, but they did get on the scoreboard first with a Jalen Brattain made free throw and score the game’s first made field goal on a Parker Hicks jumper, and the Chaps were up by five at the first media timeout.
Texas A&M-Commerce pulled back within two at the 12:44 mark, but the Chaps took control of the game starting on their next possession. Lloyd Daniels hit a layup and it sparked a 12-0 LCU run that had them up by 18 points before the Lions scored again.
Eight of the 12 points in the Chap run came from Rowan Mackenzie, who was the game’s leading scorer with a season-high 21 points. He was just one point short of matching his career high and one rebound away from his first double-double of the season. The Australia native was 5-10 from the floor and 10-13 from the free throw line while chipping in four assists as well.
The Chaps stayed hot even after the Lions broke the run an pushed the lead all the way out to 22 points with 3:44 left in the first half, which was its largest point of the entire game. They ended the opening period shooting 51.7 percent, including 46.7 percent from behind the arc.
Three-point shooting was worse in the final 20 minutes (0-3) but the overall shooting was even better, and the LCU needed it to hold off a comeback attempt from TAMUC.
Chap head coach Todd Duncan said he new the Lions would eventually make a run and they did it early in the second half. It was an 11-0 run that started at the 17:25 mark and featured three three-pointers and an alley-oop, fastbreak dunk, pulling the Lions within 10. Daniels stopped the run with a layup, but TAMUC kept pushing and pulled as close as seven on a three-pointer by JJ Romer Rosario at the 12:14 mark.
With exactly 10 minutes to go, Daniels hit again and sparked a quick 6-0 LCU run that gave them some breathing room. Another 7-0 run by the Chaps with under six minutes to go increased the lead to 18 points and basically put the game out of reach.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
LCU could have made the second half a little easier on themselves if they had shot the ball better from the free throw line. The Chaps at one point missed four straight attempts, and he shot 63.0 percent from the line overall (17-27). They have only shot worse from the line three times this season. Once against UAFS, when they attempted only five free throws total, and twice in Hawaii, where they were 11-19 (53.0 percent against Hawaii Hilo and 5-10 (50 percent) against Hawaii Pacific.
There were no upsets in the quarterfinal round of the South Central Regional, meaning Lubbock Christian gets to face the No. 4 seed Colorado Mesa on Sunday with a trip to the regional championship on the line.