Nationally ranked SEU men’s basketball keeps win streak alive, beats Lubbock Christian 77-71


Courtesy of SEU Athletics Communication

Ashton Spears currently leads the team in points (19.7) and steals (2) per game.

Securing their 12th straight win, the St. Edward’s men’s basketball team rallied behind junior guard’s Ashton Spears’ 28 points and four rebounds to secure the 77-71 win over Lubbock Christian. The the team has been near perfect this season with a record of 18-1 and 7-0 conference record.

With an impressive season underway, they have called national attention which has led to their No. 3 national ranking.

Taking a marginal lead early in the first half, SEU seemed to be looking at another smooth victory. However, Lubbock Christian slowly crept up during the final minutes of the second half by trimming SEU’s lead to five points.

Amidst a close game, freshman Luke Pluymen was called to the free-throw line,  finishing the night 8-8. Hitting those free throw shots was crucial for the team, as it would be the difference been a win and a loss. With four players in double digits, the win was certainly a team effort. Spears’ first year with the Hilltoppers has been a great offensive addition by averaging 19.7 ppg on 49% FG shooting, and he has even earned Heartland Player of the Week in the third week of January. However, he is more focused on the team than his own personal achievements.

“We’re tough. We find a way to win and finish the game. I am very confident in not only my skills but my team’s. If the confidence is high, then the sky’s the limit,” Spears said. “Hitting practice hard, weight room, film, all those little things lead to us having good games. So, if we focus on that, I think we will continue to succeed.”

Described by head coach, Andre Cook, as “courageous and tough,” Pluymen seems to have the poise and fortitude of a long-time veteran. He addresses the nail-biting moment nonchalantly by describing it as any other play of the game.

“I’m happy we won the game, but when you get up early, you got to make sure to keep the same level of energy throughout the whole game, and if it comes down to it, I’ve just got to step up and do my part to help the team win,” Pluymen said.

Leading the team on the strong foundation based on honesty and mentorship, Cook attributes much of his success to both his team and coaching staff.

“We need to stay in the moment, and nobody does it alone; you can’t. They’re all talented in what they do, and that’s a great place to start,” Cook said. “But everyone’s role is very important, and the improvement of each of the guys having their roles, their jobs and doing it the best of their ability has really helped.”

With conference rival St. Mary’s University scheduled as their next opponent, Cook is focused on his team’s continuous attention to detail and the habits that have led them to have such success this season.

“We can’t forget what has gotten us to this point. Can’t forget that we’re defending better, that we run a crisp sharp offense, that we don’t want to turn the basketball over. Those have got to be daily reminders of what we’re going to hang our hats on,” Cook said.

SEU will prepare to add to their winning streak when they host St. Mary’s, Wednesday at 5:30pm.