ABILENE — Sophomore Trey Wade recorded a career-high 31 points and 14 rebounds as No. 9 South Plains held off Temple 87-79 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Region V Men's Basketball Tournament at Moody Coliseum.
The Texans secured a spot in Friday's semifinal round where they will square off with No. 4 Ranger College at 7 p.m. The contest will be streaming live at spctexans.com as Michael Wiiest of KLVT Radio Levelland will call the courtside action with pregame slated for 6:45 p.m.
"I thought we played really well in the first half and started getting away from some of the things we were doing right," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "I think Gaige getting in foul trouble really put a cramp in our style so to speak. We made just enough good to plays to win, and just enough bad plays to let them come all the way back on us."
Wade had his way from the opening tip, leading the Texans with 16 points in the front half as South Plains shot out to a 41-27 lead at the midway point. Despite shooting just 36 percent in the first 20 minutes, South Plains forced eight turnovers on the defensive end resulting in 10 points on the other end.
"I was just trying to be aggressive and do whatever it takes to win," Wade said. "I knew I could force some type of mismatch on the outside and I was trying to attack as much as possible. We moved to a zone defensively to try and slow down their offense, and it was just a matter of holding on and that's what we did and we got it done. We need to stay focused tomorrow and play defense and stay locked in for 40 minutes."
Trailing 61-41 with 11:40 remaining, Temple would eventually get within 10 thanks to a Kedrian Johnson' 3-pointer with 5:37 remaining. Sammy Brooks would then trim the Texans' lead to four with a 3 from the top of the key with 1:45 to play. Prim would push South Plains back up six with a pair of free throws with 1:14 left, which would prove to be a trend as the Texans were 9-for-9 from the free throw line in the final three minutes of regulation.
Wade put the finishes touches on a career night, dropping in two free throws to put the Texans up 85-79 with just 18 ticks left as South Plains held on and moves one step closer to a championship berth.
"I knew it, our coaches knew it, but we couldn't seem to get it across to some of the other guys that you have to go to your mismatch, and tonight that was Trey," Green said. "We felt like we had them inside, and when Gaige went out we went through about a seven-minute stretch where we forgot about Trey. Luckily, he was able to knock down some shots and do enough to help us win tonight."
Orlina and Prim each finished with 11 points as the Texans shot a 50 percent clip in the second half and knocked down 21 free throws in the contest. Dajour Joseph chipped in 10 points off the bench for South Plains while Deon Barrett netted nine and Jonah Antonio tallied six.
Johnson led all scorers in the contest with 42 points, bucketing 14 of 31 shots from the floor and was 6 of 13 from behind the arc. Brooks poured in 11 for the Leopards who shot 41 percent in the second half and were 6 of 14 from the perimeter in the final 20 minutes.