Tarleton State University

02/21/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/21/2024 16:32

Second-place Texans host WAC-leading Lopes in battle for top spot on Thursday night in Wisdom Gym

STEPHENVILLE, Texas - Tarleton State Men's Basketball hosts Grand Canyon on Thursday night in a match-up between the top two squads in the WAC for a chance at the Texans to pull within a game of a potential share of the WAC title at Wisdom Gym at 7 p.m.

Prior to tip-off, former Texan and current colt EJ Speed will join Texan nation in the lobby of Wisdom Gym. The NFL linebacker will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans from 6:15-7 p.m. Items will be provided for signatures but outside items may be permitted as well at the consent of Speed.

Throughout the entirety of Thursday's match up fans will have the opportunity to win some amazing prizes. During every media timeout, a fan will be selected and awarded a prize. Prizes include a PS5, Yeti Cooler, flat-screen TV and many more Texan swag items.

The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with Byron Anderson (pxp) and RJ Choppy (analyst) on the call. Kyle Crews will have the radio call on 90.5 KTRL. Live Stats will be provided by StatBroadcast and can be found on TarletonSports.com. For highlights and live score updates follow @tarletonmbb on Twitter and Instagram.

The Purple and White are 11-3 in the WAC play, and 18-7 overall, breaking program records for total and WAC wins in a season and securing an over-.500 overall record for the first time in the D1 era. The Texans are on a six-game winning streak, their longest WAC streak in program history.

Tarleton became the second school to clinch a bid to the 2024 WAC Tournament with a win combined with a Southern Utah loss last Thursday. The Texans currently have the second-best conference winning percentage and are seeded second in the WAC Resume Seeding System.

Last week, the Texans survived a late comeback by UT Arlington to escape with an 80-78 victory. After leading by six points with just under a minute to play, the Mavericks missed a game-tying lay-up at the buzzer giving the Texans the victory. led the team with 22 followed by with 18.

In each of the last nine games, a Texan has scored at least 20 points in each game. Williams has accounted for four 20-plus efforts in the last five contests. During the last nine games, Smith has scored at last 10 points in each.

Tarleton has been consistent with their starting lineup, featuring the same five starters for the last 23 games this season. Currently it is tied for the sixth active longest streak in the country. The Texans are one of 30 schools in the country to use three or less starting lineups this season.

leads the league in offensive rebounds (97). The senior would rank ninth in the nation with 3.88 offensive boards per game. The senior ranks 12th in program history and is 56 boards behind program record holder Danny Jones 153-mark. Gaddy ranks in the top seven in four different statistical categories in the conference.

will be standing on the Texan sideline for the thirteenth time this season. Jones has been filling in for coach since Nov. 19 who has not been with the team due to medial circumstances. Jones was named the acting head coach on Dec. 19. He holds an 8-4 record during his time on the sidelines.

GCU is led by leading scorer Tyon Grant-Foster, who is averaging 18.9 points per game. After two seasons off, the Kansas and DePaul transfer guard is leading the Lopes to the best record in the nation. GCU enters 24-2 overall, the lone team in Division I to have two or less total losses. Head Coach Bryce Drew, famous for his buzzer-beating shot in the NCAA Tournament for Valparaiso University is in his 12th season coaching, and his fourth at the helm of the Lopes.

The last time the Lopes visited Stephenville, the Texans downed the eventual WAC Champions, 81-62. GCU owns the all-time series, 6-1 and is 2-1 in Wisdom Gym. Earlier this season the Lopes overcame an early 18-4 Texan lead to take a 74-48 victory in Phoenix.

Tarleton will round out the week on Saturday against California Baptist in a revenge match against the Lancers at 4 p.m in Wisdom Gym. Early-arriving fans will receive a free pack of Texan trading cards in honor of National Trading Card Day.