West Texas A&M improved to 11-5 and 1-0 in LSC South play with the victory in the game, which featured 12 lead changes and 15 ties. Angelo State, meanwhile, falls to 11-5 and 0-1 in conference play.
For the game, the Buffs shot a solid 48.3 percent from the floor and were led in scoring by Robert Lee for the fifth straight game. The Fort Worth, Texas, native collected his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Two WT post players were also impressive on the night as Andre Hill produced 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor and added eight boards, while Chris Hinz produced 13 points.
Early in the contest, the Buffs got off to a sluggish start, with the Rams jumping out to an 11-4 advantage and WT only able to get on the board on a pair of Hinz baskets.
WT did not stay down long, however, as senior Andre Hill shook loose for a pair of scores on the low block followed by a three-point field goal by Pierre Barlow at the 12:45 mark that knotted the game at 11-11.
Robert Lee gave the Buffs their first lead as he converted a lay-up while being fouled at the 12:05 mark; after missing the ensuing free throw, Lee grabbed his own rebound and sank a short jumper to put WT up 15-14
After Angelo State had to battle back to take a 27-25 lead, it was Barlow who again put the Buffs ahead, draining his second long range shot of the half with 2:22 to play in the period. Lee continued the WT surge as after an ASU turnover, he connected on his second three-pointer of the half to extended the home lead to 31-27.
In the closing second of the half, the Rams rushed down the court for one final attempt but a huge block by Hill gave the Buffs even more momentum and sent them to the locker room with a 33-27 advantage.
After retaking the court, the two teams traded blows until a Marcus Hubbard three-pointer at the 17:21 mark tied the game at 35-35. The Rams found their shooting stroke in the second half as they made six of their first eight shots to open the period.
A three-pointer by sophomore Ben Doherty at the 7:40 mark gave the Buffs a 59-56 advantage in the second half to spark a 5-0 run for the Buffs which left them with a five-point advantage, their biggest since the opening minutes of the second half.
Again the Rams battled back, tying the game at 64-64 on a free throw by Hubbard with 4:05 to play. The Buffs built a four-point advantage at 68-64 with just 2:25 to play, but back-to-back scoring possessions by the Rams tied the game at 68-68 and set the stage for Cooper’s final second heroics.
On Saturday, the Buffs renew acquaintances with border rival Eastern New Mexico in LSC South action. Tip off for the WT-ENMU contest is set for 8:30 p.m. (CST) from Greyhound Arena in Portales, N.M.