In the first postseason basketball game in UTD history, cold second-half shooting doomed the Comets as they fell to American Southwest Conference (ASC) West division champion Sul Ross State 77-57.
With the Feb. 27 loss, the Comets were eliminated from the ASC tournament, and their most successful season ever came to an end.
“It’s disappointing, but I won’t allow the players to view this as anything but a success,” head coach Terry Butterfield said.
Feisty defense kept the Comets close until Sul Ross exploded on an 11-1 run to open the second half.
The Comets’ usually reliable three-point shooting was conspicuously absent as UTD couldn’t mount a comeback.
The team made four or five bad plays in a row after halftime and th en had to take chances defensively to try to close the gap, Butterfield said.
Junior forward Eric Chatham paced the Comets with 12 points and freshman forward James Venters provided an inside presence, swiping seven defensive rebounds to lead the team.
Junior guard Jason Malone chipped in 11 points but shot only 4-of-12 from the floor.
Free throws proved to be another Achilles heel for the Comets as they misfired on 16-of-29 from the line.
Butterfield said he expects the players to be motivated by the team’s success and work hard during the offseason.
“It was a heck of an accomplishment,” Butterfield said. “We went from a sub-par year to a year when we were one of the top four teams in the league.”