The Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University (LCU) was home to some of the best action in all of college basketball this past weekend as the No. 3 nationally ranked LCU Men’s Basketball team hosted No. 1 West Texas A&M University (WT) on Thursday night, followed by the reigning NCAA DII National Champion LCU Women’s Basketball team taking on the highly touted ladies of Lander University Friday evening.
The first matchup featured two teams with recent familiarity as the Lone Star Conference foes last battled on Mar. 16 when WT knocked out LCU in the NCAA South Central Regional postseason round last season. The Chaps came into this early season top-5 showdown with a 2-0 record, while WT entered the game a perfect 5-0.
WT’s spotless record was short-lived as LCU knocked off the nation’s top ranked team by a score of 73-67 in a game that featured a dazzling 24 points from junior guard, Aamer Muhammad, and a career high 15 rebounds to go with 16 points for senior, Parker Hicks.
LCU Head Coach, Todd Duncan, was impressed with how the Chaps jumped out of the gates quickly behind eight consecutive points by Muhammad in the opening two minutes of play.
“Aamer set the tone with his aggressiveness and shot making.” Duncan continued. “He also played tremendous defense on some of the best players in our league. His plays gave the crowd great energy and kept the electricity going in the Rip.”
Speaking of the crowd, hundreds of fans attended to support and LCU students packed the student-section to capacity from the first minute to the last. Muhammad had this to say about the impact the crowd had from the opening tip.
“The student-section had a big impact on our hot start, for sure.” Muhammad said. “That was the best student section I’ve ever seen in my three years here at LCU, and one of the best I’ve seen in my life.”
That previous matchup between LCU and WT in the postseason was also played at the Rip Griffin Center, addingan extra spark to the team’s motivation for Thursday night and all the games to follow.
“It all came back to us,” Muhammad remarked. “Our motivation for getting this game was from our last memory of them beating us on our home floor. We played with that chip on our shoulder and proved to the nation why we will be one of the best teams in the country.”
After receiving their rings at halftime on Thursday to commemorate last season’s championship run, Friday saw the LCU Women’s Basketball team face up against fellow No. 1 ranked Lander University. Both teams were positioned atop the nation in the WBCA (LCU) and the D2SIDA (Lander) polls, respectively.
Friday night’s battle between the nation’s best was back and forth until the final whistle as the Lady Chaps overcame a 10 point 4th quarter deficit to defeat Lander 76-72 behind a remarkable 30-for-31 free throw shooting performance.
A buzzer-beating three point heave by graduate senior, Allie Shulte, that would have brought LCU within one point of Lander was waved off to start the 4th quarter, but LCU Head Coach, Steve Gomez, believes his team’s composure down the stretch was what helped them come back to win.
“I think our ability to still start the 4th quarter with quality possessions was the turning point.” Gomez said. “Audrey Robertson also made a key play when she missed a shot but got her own rebound and put it back which provided us a big momentum swing.”
As this new season has gotten underway, Gomez has been proud of his team’s togetherness and believes that will help propel them the rest of the way.
“They have stayed together very well,” Gomez explained. “The unity of the team is always going to be vital for us to survive a season of the ups and downs that come with athletics.”
The LCU Men’s Basketball team’s next matchup will be against the University of Hawaii at Hilo in Honolulu, Hawaii on Wednesday, Nov. 24. This game comes after LCU secured another win defeating Arlington Baptist University on Saturday to bump their record to 4-0.
The LCU Women’s Basketball team also took a victory on Saturday against No. 20 ranked Daemen College to make their record 6-1. The Lady Chaps travel to Hawaii as well this week to participate in the Oahu Thanksgiving Classic. Their first game will be on Thanksgiving evening against the University of Minnesota Crookston.
For more information on Lubbock Christian University Athletics, visit lcuchaps.com