LEVELLAND — There are very few accolades South Plains men's basketball coach Steve Green has yet to attain.
An NJCAA Hall of Fame inductee and three-time national champion, Green added another notch to his resume Monday night, capturing win #500 at South Plains as the Texans topped Midland College 58-52 at the Texan Dome.
"I try not to reflect on these things, because you start adding them up and the years go with it," Green said. "We've accomplished a lot here, and this school has a lot to be proud of in the athletic department. It's not just men's basketball, it's from top to bottom and our school has done well. But, I'm not done yet and I'm not ready to look back and say, 'man, what a great career.'"
The Texans (12-6, 4-2) backed up their decorated coach in the second half, ripping off a 12-2 run late in the second frame to take a 50-43 lead over the Chaparrals on a Rivaldo Soares' layup with just over six minutes remaining. Soares would put the Texans up 55-45 with a 3-ball from the right wing to give South Plains its largest lead of the night with 3:57 to play.
"I think it was definitely a tale of two halves," Green said. "We somehow got through the first half without getting run out of there. In the second half, we kind of loosened up a little bit and hit some shots and had a little bit better pace. Shots are always good when they go in, and Rivaldo and Ben are catch and shoot players and they picked it up in the second half and got open."
Amani Harris would get Midland within eight, 55-47 with a layup with just over two minutes remaining, which was immediately answered by Benjamin Bayela who connected on a 3 from the corner to put South Plains up 58-47 with 1:48 to go. Midland would pull within six following consecutive buckets, the second coming from Harris with 40 ticks left, but it wouldn't be enough as South Plains notched its second consecutive conference home win.
"There's nothing more you want to do than win, and to get coach Green his 500th win and to be a part of the team that helped him do that is great," Soares said. "I was one year old when he started here, and he's been doing this for a while. At the end of the day, it's all about execution and in the second half we were finally able to hit some shots and get a lead and maintain it."
Soares led all scorers in the contest with 24 points and five rebounds as the 6-foot-7 freshman from Boston knocked down 8 of 15 attempts from the floor and was 4-for-8 from distance. Bayela netted 15 points, three rebounds, and three steals, dropping in 5 of 11 attempts and was 4-for-7 from the 3-point line. South Plains shot a 37 percent clip from the floor and were 8 of 18 from the perimeter while forcing the Chaparrals to shoot just 5 of 28 from behind the arc.
South Plains will now shift its focus to the road as they play seven of their next eight games away from home, including a road trip to Borger on Thursday night to take on Frank Phillips College at 7:30 p.m. Following the contest, the Texans will be on the road on Jan. 27 at Odessa, followed by trips to Howard College and Western Texas, before returning home on Feb. 6 to take on No. 9 Clarendon College on 'Think Pink' night at the Dome, sponsored by Covenant Hospital of Levelland.