Men’s basketball defeats Div. I UT-Pan American

Kayla Meyer

The St. Edward’s University men’s basketball team upset Div. I University of Texas at Pan American 84-72 in an exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 7. UT-Pan America is the current team of St. Edward’s Former Head Coach Ryan Marks.

Leading the Hilltoppers in the game was sophomore Patrick Barnes with 18 points followed by junior Jeff Miner with 14 points, and seniors Jannik Zimmer and Reggie Shanks with 13 points and 11 points respectively. Senior Bobby Watkins had a game-high eight assists.

“It was a great win overall for our team, in that it was over a Div. I team and gives us a barometer of where we are as a team at this point in the season,” Miner said. “The fact that it was over Coach Marks’ new team is pretty much irrelevant because we all harbor no ill feelings towards him and wish him all the success in the world in his newest endeavor.”

This exhibition was a good win for the team going into the season. The Hilltoppers will be hosting the annual SEU Shootout on Nov. 15-16 to kick off their season.

“We were very fortunate to schedule an exhibition game with UT-Pan American and Coach Marks’ new squad before our Tip-off Tournament,” St. Edward’s Current Men’s Basketball Head Coach Andre Cook said.

Cook said that the game was a great stepping stone for them to assess the team against a quality opponent. Cook also said that the game built a lot of confidence for the team and staff.

“The players, especially, benefited greatly from such a terrific experience with not only winning, but doing so in a difficult atmosphere against a guy they are very familiar with,” Cook said.

Cook was brought to coach at St. Edward’s from Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y., where he compiled an overall record of 119-40 and was named Region III Coach of the Year as well as the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Junior College Coach of the Year.

“As a coach going into our first game this Sunday, I think it’s important that I continue to stress these same principles and remain consistent with the approach of playing as a smart, hard-working basketball team,” Cook said.

Cook said pre-season has been going great and that the guys have made his transition to Austin very enjoyable.

“From the weight room to the film sessions, the individual workouts to the team practices, we have worked extremely hard to produce what I think can be a championship product,” Cook said. “I am very fortunate to be coaching such quality young men that enjoy playing and being around the game as much as I do.”

Both Cook and Miner stress that they are focused on their goal to win the Heartland Conference Championship.

“Our goals for the season boil down to winning the Heartland Conference  Championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament, and hopefully advancing in that tournament as well,” said Miner. “As we have worked this season, regaining the conference championship and making the national tournament has been squarely on our minds.”

In the SEU Shootout, the Hilltoppers will be facing Texas A&M University-Commerce on Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. and Midwestern State University on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

“So far, we’ve been very pleased with the results:  our guys are buying into the system, we are working very hard at doing so, and in the process, getting a few laughs in at the same time,” said Cook.