LEVELLAND — Taking the hardwood for the first time in nearly 10 months, the second-ranked South Plains College men's basketball team made the most of the opportunity Wednesday night as the Texans pounded RPA College 83-47 at the Texan Dome.
Myron Gardner made his debut for South Plains and did not disappoint as the 6-foot-6 guard from Detroit led all scorers with 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists over 23 minutes. The Georgetown University transfer was 5 of 8 from the floor and knocked down a pair of 3s coming off the bench for the Texans.
"He (Myron) is a double-double machine," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "We knew that coming in, and he's aggressive, and he can score the ball. The number one thing he is is aggressive. When everyone else is thinking about whether or not to go make a play, he's a step ahead of them, and that's just the way he plays."
Texas A&M signee Jevonnie Scott netted 13 points over 18 minutes for the Texans, dropping in 5 of 10 shots from the field and snagged four boards. Sophomore Benjamin Bayela found his stroke early in the contest, bucketing eight points, hauled in 10 rebounds, and picked three steals in 28 minutes of action. Philmon Gebrewhit poured in eight points and snagged four rebounds, finishing 3 of 9 from the floor including a pair of 3s over 31 minutes.
"We're talented, and now we have to get these guys to keep improving," Green said. "We need to get better sharing the ball and helping each other on the defensive end and quit being so impatient. We need a lot of work at the point and we have to have some really strong leadership at that position. If you don't have a strong quarterback it doesn't make a difference how good your wide receivers and running backs are."
Yuot Gai chipped in eight points over 22 minutes as the 6-11 forward from Australia went 3-for-7 from the field and grabbed four boards for the Texans. Chase Landers, a 6-foot-2 guard from Pampa tallied six points and four rebounds for South Plains over 11 minutes, including a 4 of 5 clip from the charity stripe.
The Texans shot 43.8 percent from the hardwood while holding the Wildcats to a 31.7 mark from the floor. South Plains won the battle on the glass 50-35 and forced 26 turnovers, resulting in 28 points on the offensive end. South Plains netted 17 points on second-chance opportunities and tallied 34 points inside the paint in the contest.
South Plains will be back on the floor Jan. 22-23 as they are slated to host the 2021 Texan Basketball Classic at the Dome. The Texans will take on Murray State College at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 1 p.m. matchup with Strength 'N Motion on Saturday.
"We haven't had a chance to look at Murray State, but I know last year they won the conference," Green said. "I know their coach and he has done a really good job there, and they're going to be a team that will be fighting for the region championship in Oklahoma."