Simmons' trey lifts Abilene Christian men past Texas-Rio Grande Valley in dramatic rally

·3 min read
Texas-Rio Grande Valley's Justin Johnson (1) snags a rebound from Abilene Christian's Mahki Morris (12) and Immanuel Allen (25) during the Western Athletic Conference game Wednesday in Edinburg.
Texas-Rio Grande Valley's Justin Johnson (1) snags a rebound from Abilene Christian's Mahki Morris (12) and Immanuel Allen (25) during the Western Athletic Conference game Wednesday in Edinburg.

EDINBURG - Airion Simmons’ 3-point goal with 9 seconds left in the game lifted Abilene Christian to an 87-85 victory over Texas-Rio Grande Valley in a Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball game Wednesday.

The Wildcats, who trailed 81-69 with 1:59 to play, scored the final eight points – the last three on Simmons’ trey after a Vaqueros’ turnover – to avoid the upset and win their second straight game.

Texas-Rio Grande Valley's RayQuan Taylor (30) and Xavier Johnson (13) battle for the ball against Abilene Christian's Cameron Steele (5) and Airion Simmons (23) during the Western Athletic Conference game Wednesday in Edinburg.
Texas-Rio Grande Valley's RayQuan Taylor (30) and Xavier Johnson (13) battle for the ball against Abilene Christian's Cameron Steele (5) and Airion Simmons (23) during the Western Athletic Conference game Wednesday in Edinburg.

The Vaqueros had trailed the entire game – down as much as 13 (39-34) in the first half and 39-34 at halftime – until Justin Johnson’s two free throws put them up 57-56 with 9:20 remaining.

They didn't relinquish the lead until the very end.

UTRGV opened the door to the comeback when Jeff Otchere missed two free throws with his team leading 85-82 with 20 seconds left. Damien Daniels hit two free throws at the other end for ACU, making it a one-point game (85-84) with 15 seconds remaining.

The Vaqueros turned the ball over to set up Simmons’ game-winning trey.

Coryon Mason and Mahki Morris led the Wildcats (13-7 overall, 4-5 WAC) with 16 points each, while Daniels followed with 15. Cameron Steele added 12 off the bench, while Simmons had 11 and a team-high eight rebounds.

Johnson led the Vaqueros (6-14, 1-7) with a game-high 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Quinton Johnson added 19 points, while Marek Nelson and RayQuan Taylor had 15 and 14, respectively. It’s UTRGV’s third straight loss.

The Wildcats forced 27 turnovers, while committing 13, and outscored the Vaqueros 33-12 off the miscues.

ACU plays Lamar at 3 p.m. Saturday in a conference game in Beaumont. The Cardinals (2-18, 0-9) lost their 11th straight game Wednesday, falling 62-57 to Tarleton in Beaumont.

Texas-Rio Grande Valley's Xavier Johnson (13) gets stripped of the ball by Abilene Christian's Damien Daniels (4) during the Western Athletic Conference game Wednesday in Edinburg.
Texas-Rio Grande Valley's Xavier Johnson (13) gets stripped of the ball by Abilene Christian's Damien Daniels (4) during the Western Athletic Conference game Wednesday in Edinburg.

WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

ACU 87, Texas-Rio Grande Valley 85

ACU ... 39 ... 38 — 87

UTRGV ... 34 ... 51 — 85

ABILENE CHRISTIAN (13-7, 4-5) — A. Simmons 4-7 1-2 11, Cameron 2-5 2-2 7, Mason 6-12 4-5 16, Miller 0-4 2-2 2, Morris 5-12 4-6 16, Steele 4-10 4-4 12, Daniels 4-6 6-8 15, Jackson 3-5 1-1 8, Allen 0-4 0-0 0, Gai 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-66 24-30 87.

TEXAS-RIO GRANDE VALLEY (6-14, 1-7) — Taylor 5-6 4-4 14, Adewunmi 2-6 2-2 7, Q. Johnson 7-9 2-2 19, X. Johnson 2-8 1-2 6, J. Johnson 6-10 10-13 22, M. Nelson 4-6 6-7 15, Butters 0-0 0-0 0, Otchere 1-1 0-2 2, Garcia 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-46 25-32 85.

3-Point Goals – Abilene Christian 7-30 (Simmons 2-4, Morris 2-7, Cameron 1-1, Daniels 1-2, Jackson 1-3, Mason 0-3, Miller 0-3, Steele 0-3, Allen 0-4), Texas-Rio Grande Valley 6-16 (Q. Johnson 3-4, M. Nelson 1-2, Adewunmi 1-3, X. Johnson 1-5, J. Johnson 0-2). Fouled Out – Adewunmi, X. Johnson, J. Johnson, M. Nelson. Rebounds – Abilene Christian 24 (A. Simmons 8), Texas-Rio Grande Valley 31 (J. Johnson 9). Assists – Abilene Christian 20 (A.Simmons, Daniels 4), Texas-Rio Grande Valley 14 (J.Johnson 6). Total Fouls – Abilene Christian 28, Texas Rio Grande Valley 27. Technical Fouls – None. A – 713 (2,500).

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Abilene Christian rally stuns Texas-Rio Grande Valley in basketball

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