CLARENDON—Being the top-ranked team in the country has its perks. It also means you can expect to take every opponent's best shot — every single night.
For the No. 1 South Plains College Texans, a team centered around elite guard play, showcased a different championship pedigree on Monday night with a 104-90 win over Clarendon at the Bulldog Gymnasium.
South Plains used a dominating interior presence to turn the tide against their counterpart, outrebounding the Bulldogs 35-21 resulting in 22 second chance points to extend their win streak to 19 games, including a 7-0 record in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.
"Coach Green told us before the game this was going to be a tough road win and we were going to have to battle to get a win," said Jahlil Tripp, who finished the contest with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. "We really asserted our dominance in the second half and showed why we're the No. 1 team in the nation. Coach said at halftime, 'get ready for that punch in the face,' and I think we did a nice job of playing our type of basketball."
South Plains placed three scorers in double figures in the front half as Justice Green went 5-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-5 from the 3-point line, totaling 14 points before the break. Jordan Brangers scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in the first 20 minutes, while Tripp chipped in 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting before the intermission.
Clarendon's Marcus Burwell and Reece Brooks combined for 16 points in the first half as the Bulldogs shot an unprecedented 59 percent from the field and 42 percent from the perimeter, yet still trailed 55-45 heading into the locker room.
"Coach Green let us know at halftime we needed to pick it up," Brangers said. "We came out in the second half and things seemed to start clicking. I had that feeling that I just needed to make a shot. I didn't shoot as well as I wanted to I the first half, but they started to go down for me in the second half. I was really pleased with our big men tonight. Shawntrez came up with some huge, really huge rebounds for us. Once he started playing hard, it seemed to make everyone else start to play hard."
Despite entering the second half with a double-digit advantage, the Texans displayed a sense of urgency over the final 20 minutes. Brangers and Tripp combined for 28 points in the second half, as the duo went 12-for-14 from the field and 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the final stint. South Plains shot 66 percent from long range and 64 percent from the field in the back half of the contest, with Tripp, Shawntrez Davis and Grantham Gillard racking up 15 boards in the final minutes.
"Me and Shawntrez kind of talk about how we're the Lebron James and Tristan Thompson of the team," Tripp said. "The tough plays we had to make in order for us to get this win, we did that for us at the end of the game and I think coach Green really appreciated that. Hats off to Shawntrez for getting those rebounds and helping me out down low."
With an unblemished 19-0 record on tap, the Texans will look to stay perfect on Jan. 30 when they travel to Snyder, TX to take on Western Texas College. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. and can be watched live at spctexans.com using the 'Watch Games' tab at the top of the page.