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No. 4 SEU men’s basketball victorious in homecoming game, defeats UAFS 86-65

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No. 4 SEU men’s basketball victorious in homecoming game, defeats UAFS 86-65

August Haas finished the homecoming game with 11 points and seven assists.

August Haas finished the homecoming game with 11 points and seven assists.

Odett Ochoa

August Haas finished the homecoming game with 11 points and seven assists.

Odett Ochoa

Odett Ochoa

August Haas finished the homecoming game with 11 points and seven assists.

Odett Ochoa, Sports Writer

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The St. Edward’s University men’s basketball team has continuously displayed their dominance throughout the season both on the road and at home. In their final home game of the season, the Hilltoppers hosted conference rival University of Arkansas Fort Smith.

Having already beat UAFS on the road and it being the last time seniors Corey McKendree and James Taylor would play on their home court, SEU was in for a victorious Homecoming game.

UAFS came out strong with a 13-4 lead with 16:21 left in the first half, until SEU rallied behind its foundation of teamwork and a sharp defense to take a modest lead going into halftime 35-31.

The Hilltoppers’ marginal lead can be credited to their bench that contributed 20 points. Igniting the bench and leading three players to double digits can be charged to floor general, August Haas.

Characterized by head coach Andre Cook as an “extremely unselfish point guard,” Haas has been a crucial piece for this team’s success. Averaging 6.8 assists and 9.1 points per game this season, Haas has effectively facilitated this team’s offense —an offense that currently leads the Heartland Conference in scoring at 87.6 points per game. Understanding the significance of their last home game, Haas was determined to guide the seniors to one last win at home.

“It was the last home game for the season. We had two seniors and having this be their last game was motivation itself, so when UAFS came out hot, we knew that it was about staying together and focused. We started playing really good defense and when we get stops and start running no-one can really beat us, ” Haas said.

McKendree came off the bench to end the game with eight points and six rebounds. With one last win at home, McKendree sums up his collegiate basketball career at SEU as “amazing” and attributes the win to their resiliency.  

“We had to get tough and show what we are made of to get the comeback. Teamwork has been our thing all season so we have to keep doing the little things, focusing on what got us to be top-10 in the nation,” McKendree said.

Cook says that their willingness needs to constantly be sharp on both ends of the floor. Their ability to collectively endure teams defensively and come back from adversity has created a confidence that Cook says will go beyond basketball.

“Having guys that have bought into the system and believe in what we’re doing has given us great confidence. We’re all trying to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time,” Cook said. “We have great leadership, good players and trust among the coaches and players..”

The team has three regular season games left and are expected to be in championship contention this postseason. The Hilltoppers (23-2, 12-1 conference) will travel to take on Dallas Baptist Saturday Feb. 23.

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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University
No. 4 SEU men’s basketball victorious in homecoming game, defeats UAFS 86-65