March 6th, 2014
The men’s basketball team began prepration for its first Western Athletic Conference season Nov. 2, 2013 with an exhibition game against Texas A&M-Kingsville at the UTPA Field House. The Broncs took home their first win of the season at 74-56 and hopes were high for success in Coach Dan Hipsher’s first season.
But as the season comes to a close, a 9-21 record is not what the early returns indicated.
“It’s been a learning experience for all of us,” said Hipsher, who replaced Ryan Marks, the former coach who spent four seasons in the Valley and won 16 games in 2012-13. “I think the kids have competed for the most part, but of course we would like to have more wins. Some things limited our team, but I’m proud of the kids, the competitiveness that they played with.”
The Broncs began WAC Conference action against Grand Canyon University in Phoenix Jan 2, losing 91-85. Prior to the start of the conference season, the Broncs had endured a six-game losing streak but gotten four wins in a row after that. They continued their fall until facing the University of Missouri-Kansas City, taking the road win Feb. 16.
The conference record is now 6 to 14 with one more home game at the Field House, Saturday night against Grand Canyon University.
The Broncs hope to take home one more win, close out the season and gain a little momentum before heading to the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, March 13.
There, despite a poor record, UTPA has a chance to make National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament if it can get on a roll and sweep to the WAC title.
The season was affected early on by the loss of promising Shaun Noriega, a transfer graduate student who was taken out by an injury before the season started. Now as the schedule comes to a close, the Broncs have also lost starting guard Javorn Farrell to an injury. The graduate student transfer from the University of Massachusetts will sit out the last home game, but the WAC event as well. He has averaged 16 ppg and about five rebounds as the team’s best all-around performer.
In addition to injuries to major players, Hipsher also cites the difficulty of playing teams from the WAC, who have an advantage in size against the relatively small Bronc group.
“We are limited height-wise,” Hipsher said. “So the bigger teams really bother us. But that’s what we had to deal with.”
Although there were some issues playing against teams of the conference the Broncs have still battled this season.
After the losing streak in April UTPA went 4-7 in March. Despite the losses and change in team dynamics, Shaquille Hines, a forward from Chicago who was part of last year’s winning team, commended his teammates for holding together, making a point to say that the schools in the WAC are not invincible.
“This was a big learning process the whole year,” Hines said. “(But) every team is beatable in this conference. There is no team that’s unbeatable or better than everybody else. That’s the good thing.”
Though the team faced a rollercoaster of a season, Hines knows the Broncs still have something to prove.
This is the first year that the Broncs will participate in the WAC Tourney, and also the final run for senior Josh Cleveland, who has been playing for the school for the past three seasons.
“We still deserve to be in this conference, we jelled as a team,” the frontcourt veteran said. “We’ve been through it all together. There is still more work to be done actually. As we reflect on it we wish we could change, play harder.”
Though the end of the season is on the horizon, there is still some work left to do and once it is all over Hipsher will look forward to the future.
“We are looking forward to getting kids in here,” he said. “Building a program that can be competitive in the WAC. The University is growing and we have jumped up into a league that is probably a little more committed than the one we’ve been in, in the past, so we are trying to develop together.”
February 4th, 2014
The University Broncs men’s basketball team took a loss against California State University Feb. 1. The team fought hard to defend their home turf at the UTPA Field House but the score still settled at 72-64.
Sophomore Shaquille Hines did his part against the roadrunners by recording his second double-double of the season with 15 points, on top of that he had a career-high with 11 rebounds, a five assists and his personal season-high two steals.
Hines was not alone, Junior Shaquille Boga scored 14 points. And Graduate student Javorn Farrell scored a close 13 points, six rebounds, six assists while mounting two blocks and one steal. All three were then trailed by senior Josh Cleveland who scored 11 points.
The game was a back and forth matchup as Hines and Cleveland each scored three pointers building up the Bronc lead to 16-7 in the first seven minutes. From there on the Broncs kept up their lead all the way till roadrunners started their first run. The team started adding up the points with a 13-2 layup tallying the total to a 35-34 game, headed by Cal. State.
It was late in the game when the Broncs took back their lead as Hines hit a layup with five minutes left on the clock. The score was at 57-56 in favor of the Broncs. It all came to a halt as the roadrunners went for a 12-2 run ending the day at a 68-60 score in the last minute.
The Broncs took a hard fought loss and will be back on the court Feb. 6 at Seattle University.
February 3rd, 2014
The Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Jeff Hurd announced Jan. 31 that UTPA Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dan Hipsher will be suspended for Feb. 1 game against Bakerfield.
Hipsher violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy during the 67-53 loss against the Utah Valley University Wolverines.
Hipsher was ejected during the first half of the game as a Wolverine player slid across the floor with the ball. Hipsher became outraged when the referee did not call the player for a traveling violation. He got into the face, screamed and bumped the referee, at which point the official ejected Hipsher from the game.
“We accept the ruling of the Western Athletic Conference, and as a result, Dan will not coach his team Saturday,” UTPA Director of Athletics Chris King said. “We all look forward to putting the incident behind us. Our focus now is on Saturday night against Bakersfield and the remainder of the conference season. Dan continues to have my full support moving forward.”
The UTPA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has no further comment on the matter as they want to move forward from this incident.
January 21st, 2014
UTPA women’s basketball team gave the Chicago State University Cougars a fast paced game Jan. 18. Midway through the game the broncs went on a 16 point run to pull off a win at the UTPA Field House 66-44.
Currently the Bronc season record now stands even 9-9, 3-2 season record in the Western Athletic conference.
The game was at a standstill as the Broncs fought off the Cougars. But Kaelynn Boyd, a sophomore, scored a three pointer, starting the 16 point run. Then junior Tonashia Walker hit seven straight points using two free throws, a three pointer and one layup.
The Broncs kept up the momentum as Charrell Price scored another three pointer and Brittany Bush went for a free throw. Scoring Shawnte Goff ended the run 42-27.
All in all Goff scored a total of 18 points, junior Jasmine Thompson scored 10 and Bush came close to a double double with nine points and 12 rebounds.
With this win in hand the Broncs will now face off at home against New Mexico State, Jan. 25, at the UTPA Field House.
January 18th, 2014
The Broncs basketball team recorded their first Western Athletic Conference victory by shooting a season-high 58 percent from the floor. The Broncs won 78-66 on the same stage where the 1963 Broncs won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship, Municipal Auditorium, against the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos (5-11, 2-2 WAC) Jan.16.
The Broncs now move to a 5-14 record, 1-3 in the WAC, a conference with an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.
The Broncs haven’t achieved as high of a shooting percentage since Feb. 14, 2009, when they shot 68.8 percent over Longwood at the UTPA Field House. The Broncs showed consistency as they shot 57.1 in the first half and 59.1 percent in the second.
The Broncs were able to hold the Kangaroos to 33.9 percent shooting from the floor, which included a 5-for-26 shooting for the Kangaroos in the first half as the Broncs led 42-27 going into half time.
Sophomore forward Shaquille Hines led the Broncs in double-figure scoring with eight rebounds, three blocks, two assists and one steal to go along with his 21 points. Junior guard Shaquille Boga scored 18 points, shooting 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Senior Justin Leathers had 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Recent graduate student Javorn Farrell rounded out the last of the Broncs in double-figure scoring by scoring 10 points with five rebounds and five assists.
To start the second half, Broncs Boga and Farrell hit a pair of threes and pushed the lead to 21. The Broncs took their largest lead of the game at 57-35, when Boga hit a jumper to make it a 22-point game with 13:32 to go in the game.
The Broncs are back in action Jan. 18 at 2:05 p.m. when they visit Chicago State University.
January 12th, 2014
The University Broncs men’s basketball took another loss this season against the Seattle University Redhawks 64-46 Jan. 13 at the UTPA Field House.
Leading the Broncs was guard Javorn Farrell with 14 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals. Following closely behind was Shaquille Hines and Hurley Johnson, both scored nine points, Hines also grabbed nine rebounds.
This season the Broncs are 4-14, 0-3 in conference action during their first season in the Western Athletic Conference season at UTPA. But despite the loss and continuing season record the Broncs go on the road for a three away game streak, they visit Kansas City, Mou. next Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.
January 3rd, 2014
The Broncs men’s basketball team lost to Grand Canyon University, 91-85, Jan. 2 in the first game of the Western Athletic Conference at Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix.
Junior guard Shaquille Boga led four Broncs in double-digits scoring, with career-highs in points, field goals, attempts and rebounds. Boga had 25 points on nine of 19 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds to go along with his six assists and three steals.
Recent graduated student Javorn Farrell scored 25 points while team mates Shaquille Hines and Justin Leathers scored a combined 23 points and combined for six rebounds.
In an interesting first half the Broncs were within three points half-way through, but the Antelopes powered up with a 9-2 run to go up 33-23. Then senior Josh Cleveland hit a trio of layups as the Broncs answered the Antelopes run with an 11-1 run of their own and pulled within one point with about two minutes left in the first half.
In the second half the Antelopes outscored the visiting Broncs 27-13 in the first nine minutes as they took the lead 64-49. The Broncs would respond with a 12-3 run that pulled the Broncs within six points, but the Antelopes scored the next seven points to push the lead back to double digits.
With five and half minutes left in the game Leathers hit a three pointer that jump started a 22-10 run that pulled the Broncs within one point with 51 seconds remaining. In the next possession for the Antelopes Jerome Garrison hit a three-pointer while the shot clock was running down ensuring a two possession game for the remainder of the game.
The Broncs are back in action Jan. 4 at 3 p.m. when they visit Texas A&M in a game that can be seen live on Fox Sports Southwest.
FSSW can be found in the Rio Grande Valley on Time Warner Cable channels 63, 304 (SD) and 1304 (HD), Dish Network channel 416 and DirecTV channel 676.
December 30th, 2013
In a losing effort sophomore Shaquille Hines scored a career-high 27 points, as the Broncs (4-10) fell to Duquese University Dukes (6-5) 88-69 Dec. 29 at the UTPA Field House.
Hines had career-highs in field goals and attempts by going 12 of 22 from the field. He also had his first multi-three-pointer game with three on six attempts, another career-high. Recent graduate student Javorn Farrell scored 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting, eight of the attempts were from three point range which is a career-high. Farrell also had a season-high in assist with six, posted a carerr-high with three blocks and tied another career-high with four steals.
Hines kept the game close in the opening minutes by making 10 of the Bronc’s first 12 points. After he made a layup and a jumper to tie the game at 15.
Micah Mason and Ovie Soko for the Dukes combined for 15 points as the Dukes responded with a 22-4 run take a 37-19 lead with 5:11 remaining in the first half.
The Broncs scored 10 of the next 14 points to pull within 12 on three-pointers by senior Justin Leathers and junior Christian Hildebrandt. The deficit stayed in the teens for most of the game, until the Broncs were down 74-58 with 7:55 remaining.
The Broncs then went on a 7-0 run due to layups by Farrell and Hines and a three-pointers by Farrell to make it 74-65. The Dukes, however, outscored the Broncs 14-4 over the final five minutes to end the game.
The Broncs open up their first season in the Western Athletic Conference Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. when they visit Grand Canyon University.
December 20th, 2013
The University women’s basketball swept in a win against the University of Texas at Arlington with a score of 75-63 at the Field House Dec. 18. After the win the team is now tied for the best season start in program history at 6-4.
The win was much needed after two back- to-back losses against Texas A&M and Texas Christian University, stated Shawnte’, Goff a guard for the Broncs.
“We came out and did what we needed to do,” Goff said. “We didn’t play good at TCU, we didn’t do good at Corpus, so we knew we had to come out and get this win.”
On top of the win the team put forward a season high of 11 three pointers, fourth highest in program history. Goff scored seven of those totaling her career-game high of 25 points. Trailing behind her was Jasmine Thompson who scored a game high of 22 points with five rebounds and three steals.
Goff and Thompson lead the team in scoring but at first the team struggled as they were down 28 to 15 with 10:30 seconds left in the first half. But the Bronc’s held tough and eventually caught up and pilled within one point with only 7 minutes left in the first half. UTA however, still held on to the lead until Goff scored a three pointer tying the game in the second half at 41, and the rest is history.
As Tonisha Walker, a guard explains they struggled at first due to one of their top scorers being out due to a broken toe.
“We all had to step up and contribute,” Walker said. “We have depth as a team and we will pull out in the end.”
Despite the setback of an injury and rocky start to their game the Bronc’s prevailed and will face off against the University of Nebraska at Omaha in Wichita, Ks. Dec. 21.