UTPA Media Relations
OREM, Utah – The No. 5 University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) Broncs (6-27, 4-8 GWC) were defeated by the No. 1 University of South Dakota (USD) Coyotes (21-9, 11-1 GWC) 76-71 in the semi-finals of the inaugural Great West Conference (GWC) Basketball Tournament at the McKay Center on the campus of Utah Valley University.
The Broncs saw two players hit double-digits with freshman guard Aaron Urbanus’ 15 points and sophomore guard Jared Maree’s 11 points.
“Aaron has had a terrific season. He has really made great progress over the course of the year, and for a freshman to play the way he did today in a conference semi-final game is really impressive. Along with all the returners, we feel like our future is really bright. As a coach, you can always stop and smile knowing that you’re going to have a kid like Urbanus for three more seasons,” head coach Ryan Marks said.
Leading the way for the Coyotes with a double-double was senior forward Tyler Cain, who leads the GWC in rebounding and shoots 66 percent from the field, with 16 points and 17 rebounds.
UTPA opened the first half of the game strong with a 3-point shot from Nick Weiermiller. The lead changed seven times, but the Broncs took control at the 6:45 mark 22-20, and did not fall behind until 5:27 in the second half. The Broncs lead 35-29 heading into the half.
Throughout the last 5:30 minutes of the contest, the Broncs fought to regain control as both teams traded a 3-point margin lead until the final four seconds of the game when the Coyotes’ Jake Thomas shot two free throws to secure the USD win.
“Obviously I thought it was one heck of a college basketball game. From the standpoint of my team, I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. Our record at the end doesn’t really reflect the distance we have come as a team. If you go back and watch games we played earlier through now and evaluate the caliber of basketball we are playing, we have come light-years. That is a great tribute to a really special group of young guys. I have a lot of returners and I look forward to building on this with them next year,” Marks said.
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