LEVELLAND — The Texans needed a spark.
Trailing 60-59 following a 3 from Midland's Kayo Goncalves with 4:32 remaining, sophomore Ben Perez pasted a 3-ball from the right wing, drawing a foul on the play and converted on the and-one to complete the four-point play and put South Plains back up, 63-60.
The Texans wouldn't trail again as Perez sparked a 16-4 run capped by a 3-ball from Jordan Brangers with 48 ticks left to improve to 15-6 on the year and 7-2 in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference with a 75-64 victory over Midland College on Thursday night at the Texan Dome.
"My teammates have incredible confidence in me to shoot the ball, and seeing that first one go in helped a lot," said Perez, who finished with 12 points, all of which came in the second half. "My teammates were able to get me open, and I was able to make a few plays at the end. That was a must-win game, and it is a pretty big relief to get that one."
South Plains opened the contest 14 of 31 from the field and 7 of 16 from the perimeter in the first half as Texas Tech signee Deshawn Corprew netted 12 points and four boards at the midway point. Sophomore Jordan Brangers tallied nine of his 18 points in the front half as the Texans forced Midland to shoot just 3 of 14 from 3 and led 39-38 at the break.
"I thought we missed a whole lot of easy shots in the first half," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "When you miss shots where the scorekeeper is already getting ready to punch the button, something worse is getting ready to happen at the other end. My old high school coach said one time, 'If you miss a layup at one end something worse is about to happen at the other end,' and it just seemed like it did."
Trading blows to begin the final stint, South Plains eventually grabbed a six-point, 52-46 lead following a pair of free throws from Brangers with 10:21 to play. Midland chipped it's way back, utilizing an 8-2 run to tie the game at 54 on a Marquell Fraser' jumper with 6:23 left.
South Plains' Isaiah Maurice sunk a 3 from the corner on the following possession to put the Texans up 57-54, which was quickly erased when Jardin Van Der Korput answered with a 3 of his own to knot the game at 57 all with 5:38 to go. South Plains would convert on five of its next six possessions, sinking Midland in the final minutes as the Chaparrals fell to 7-16 on the year and 3-6 in the WJCAC.
"I thought the second half, we tried to stop their version of Michael Jordan (Marquell Fraser), and Chris Orlina stepped up and did a respectable job," Green said. "I thought that was key. Ben and Jordan had a couple 3s, and Jordan hit that last one when I was wanting him to drive and he pulls up and hits a 3, so all's well that ends well."
Perez added four boards and a pair of assists to go along with his final point total while Corprew ended the contest with 12 points and seven boards. Raymond Doby notched nine points and seven rebounds and Orlina added eight points and grabbed four boards.
Fraser led all scorers with 30 points, 20 of which came in the front half, and also corralled seven rebounds for the Chaparrals. Van Der Korput netted 11 points and four rebounds while Goncalves finished with nine points and four boards.