LEVELLAND – Chris Orlina scored 18 points and Trey Wade totaled 16 points, three boards and a pair of assists as the second-ranked South Plains College men's basketball team won their conference opener 78-58 over Midland College Wednesday night at the Texan Dome.
With the win, South Plains improves to 9-0 on the season and will return to the hardwood on Saturday in Borger when they tip-off against Frank Phillips College at 3:45 p.m. Saturday's contest will be streaming live at spctexans.com and Michael Wiiest of KLVT Radio Levelland will call the courtside action.
"It was a tale of two halves, and we spent the entire first half trying to learn their offense," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "In the second half we started to try and focus more on what we were trying to do. Chris Orlina was involved in the three plays in the first half that basically separated us."
Orlina finished 7 of 8 from the field and 3 of 5 from the 3-point line to go along with six boards, four assists and three steals in 29 minutes. Wade knocked down 7 of 14 shots from the floor and was 2-for-3 from the perimeter in 32 minutes of action.
"It's always good when you can start conference with a win," Orlina said. "I think we laid our hat on defense and it was a big component in the second half. We were looking to get out and run and get easy buckets in transition. We always want to rely on our defense to bring energy and tonight that happened for us."
Sophomore Gaige Prim netted 12 points for South Plains, sinking 5 of 10 attempts and also hauled in nine rebounds and dished out three assists. Jonah Antonio drained a pair of 3s as the 6-foot-5 sharpshooter from Australia tallied nine points for South Plains.
Leading 29-24 at the intermission South Plains opened its lead to double digits when Deon Barett hit home on a jumper from 12 feet to give the Texans a 41-31 lead with 14:31 to play in the contest. South Plains would continue to have success with the rock down the stretch as Antonio put his team up 56-40 with a 3-ball from the corner with 10:13 to go.
South Plains would go on to lead by as much as 26 with under five minutes remaining as they shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the second half and were 4-for-7 from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes. Orlina and Wade combined for 19 points in the back half while sophomore Christian Wilson added six points off the bench.
"We're not a plotting team, and Midland wants to shorten the game with their offense, and we tried to focus on trying to guard them down to the last five or six seconds," Green said. "We tried to do it without fouling, and it wears on you. When you go back to the other end you shoot it quick sometimes, and I'm really not opposed to that, but we weren't running because we were chasing them around down there and didn't have anything left with the prize possession in our hands."
South Plains shot 47.5 percent from the floor in the contest and scored 20 points off 18 forced turnovers. The Texans received 16 points off the bench and netted 18 second-chance points as they outrebounded Midland 32-26 on the glass.