BHSU wins thriller over West Texas A&M – punches ticket to Elite 8

BHSU Athletics MediaMarch 15, 2023Sports
BHSU heading to Elite 8

CANYON, Texas – Black Hills State men’s basketball won a battle with No. 1 West Texas A&M Tuesday night, 68-67, to advance to the NCAA DII Elite Eight for the second straight year.

The Yellow Jackets (28-5, 18-4 RMAC) came out victorious in a back-and-forth game that saw 14 ties and 14 lead changes.

Joel Scott tallied his 15th double-double of the season with 25 points and 14 rebounds.

PJ Hayes was also in double-figures with 13 points, going 4-of-6 from deep while grabbing five boards.

Sindou Cisse led with three assists while also tacking on seven points and a blocked shot.

Caelin Hearne, Matthew Ragsdale and Ryker Cisarik each added six points while Jaeton Hackley scored four.

Layups from Scott and Cisse followed by a Hayes three put the Yellow Jackets ahead early 7-0, two minutes into the game, but WT roared back with 12 unanswered to take a 12-7 lead at 14:36 in the first.

BHSU evened the game once more 12-12 before a Scott 3-point play and a pair of Cisarik dunks put the Yellow Jackets ahead 21-18 with 8:58 to go before half.

A 6-0 WT spurt put the Buffs back on top 24-21 before Hayes’ third trey of the game evened things back up at 24-all as time ticked under five.

Back-and-forth play continued in the final minutes of the first, tied at 31-31 with 1:38 seconds to go before the buzzer sent teams to the locker rooms locked at 32-32.

Teams continued to trade blows out of the break until the Yellow Jackets scored eight straight with the help of a Scott dunk and Cisse layup to take a 42-37 lead with 16 to play.

A Hayes triple and layups from Cisarik and Scott kept BHSU out front 52-47, but the Buffs continued to hang around, drawing back to within one, 54-53 midway through the second.

Both teams went scoreless over the next few possessions, but WT would pull back even for the 10th tie of the game, 56-56 with 7:23 remaining.

The Buffs moved ahead 58-56 at 6:53, their first lead since 19:06, and would add on to take a 60-57 lead with a pair of free throws seconds later. BHSU answered with a Cisse layup and a pair of Ragsdale freebies for the 12th lead change of the game, moving up 61-60.

From there, five straight WT gave them their largest lead of the second half, 65-61 with 3:15 to play. The Yellow Jackets would come back and  even things up once more 65-65 with under two remaining.

The 14th tie of the game came on a Scott layup with 57 seconds left, 67-67. The Yellow Jackets would get one more possession in regulation, which saw Scott get fouled and put BHSU up 68-67 with 3.9 seconds on the clock.

The Buffs would get one more chance, putting up a shot at the buzzer that found net, but was just after time expired and was called off to send the Yellow Jackets to the Elite Eight.