Sports
Rooks' historic triple-double leads second-seed Lions to 88-77 win over Angelo State in LSC Tournament semifinals
By Texas A&M University-Commerce
Mar 9, 2019
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Frisco, Texas -- Texas A&M University-Commerce senior guard Willie Rooks made Lone Star Conference Tournament history, recording the event's first-ever triple-double to lead the second-seeded Lions to an 88-77 win over third-seeded Angelo State University in the tournament semifinal game.
 
The Lions move to 23-7 on the season and advance to the LSC Tournament championship game for the 10th time in program history with the victory. The Lions will face off top-seeded West Texas A&M at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Comerica Center.
 
A&M-Commerce and West Texas A&M will meet for the third time this season and seventh time in the last two seasons.
 
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Rooks (Houston North Forest) scored 13 points, passed out 10 assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds. His triple-double effort is the second known triple-double in program history, following in the footsteps of Reggie Reid (Harlem, Ga.) earlier this season.

- A&M-Commerce shot 47.8 percent (33-of-69) for the game, including a 54.5 percent (18-of-33) clip in the second half.

- Deonta Terrell (Chicago, Ill.) led the Lions in the scoring column with 21 points off the bench. He also had two assists and two steals.

- Austin Grandstaff (Rockwall) scored 17 points, passed out five assists, and grabbed four rebounds.

- Trey Conrod (Kilgore) scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.

- Rodney Brown (Beaumont West Brook) scored 11 points with six rebounds and three blocked shots.

POSTGAME THOUGHTS FROM...

Head Coach Jaret von Rosenberg:
 On the team's execution: "I thought we played really good basketball for about 32 minutes. We went on a stretch there at the end of the first half where we didn't execute, we didn't control the tempo like we wanted to. But very quickly, our guys stayed with it and continued to do the right things on every possession. They know what the right thing are offensively. We try not to live by makes and misses. We continued to get the shots that we wanted and tried to get them to shoot the shots that we wanted them to. We were able to do it long enough to win."

On the aggressive play from his team: "We wanted to do things aggressively. We were switching ball screens aggressively. We came over to help aggressively. Everything we were trying to do, we wanted to do it 100 miles an hour, even if we were going to make a mistake. Nothing is guaranteed in March. We are excited to be playing on Sunday."

On the play of Deonta Terrell and Willie Rooks: "Deonta might have played his best game in a Lion uniform on both sides of the ball. Obviously he had 21 points but he also defensively he was locked in and executed the game plan on a high level. Then Willie Rooks with the triple double. Willie understands that it is not about making or missing shots. It is about how we play."
 
Willie Rooks:
On the triple-double: "I want to thank my coaching staff and my teammates. I had a bad game on Thursday. But after the game, we got back to the hotel and everyone was uplifting me. Before the game, they were encouraging me. I don't get a triple double if my teammates don't make shots. I don't get rebounds if our big men don't box out. Credit to all of my teammates, if it weren't for them, it wouldn't have happened."
 
Deonta Terrell:
On his mindset going into the game: "I came into the game with the mindset of doing anything to win. That's just what's on my mind every time I step on the floor. It's always about doing whatever it takes to win. Tonight, I wasn't thinking about scoring but every opportunity I got, I made sure I tried to execute the right way. I wouldn't have been able to do that without my teammates making good plays and driving and kicking it to me. I just went out there and played hard. Defense trickled into offense and that created some nice plays for me."

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions stormed out of the gates to start the game, opening the contest on a 13-4 run in the opening five minutes, capped with Terrell's three-point play. Persistent pressure from Angelo State, combined with outside shooting, allowed the Rams to narrow the gap by the under-8 media timeout, and a pair of consecutive triples put ASU up 28-27 with 6:37 left in the first half.
 
A&M-Commerce responded with an eight-point rally on a Grandstaff triple, a Conrod layup, and a Reid three-point play. The surge put the Lions up 35-28 with 4:34 left in the half, but Angelo State closed out the frame on a 10-2 run. A&M-Commerce was unable to score in the final 3:15 of the half, and ASU took a 38-37 lead into the halftime break.
 
That margin extended to six points in the first 30 seconds of the second half before a Brown jumper in the paint stemmed the tied. The Lions still trailed by four points with 13:23 to go, then went on a 9-0 run to take the lead and force an Angelo timeout. Terrell had four points in the surge, Grandstaff drilled a corner three on the fastbreak, and Rooks layed one in on the break to put the Lions up 55-50.
 
The Lion lead stayed within two possessions for the next three minutes, then the A&M-Commerce squad went on a seven-point run to seal the win. Brown started the run with a thunderous dunk, Grandstaff hit a three-pointer, and Conrod hit both ends of a 1-and-1 free throw opportunity. The Lions held ASU without a field goal for over three minutes, and three late desperation three-pointers from the Rams in the final minute were not nearly enough for the ASU side, as the Lions threw down a pair of dunks and made clutch free throws to advance to the finals for the 10th time in program history.