OKLAHOMA CITY – Langston boasted of its first Sooner Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament title after an 80-68 win over Wayland Baptist on Tuesday at the Gaulke Activity Center in the Oklahoma Ford Dealers SAC Tournament championship game.
Toru Dean delivered 17 points and five rebounds to fuel Langston, ranked fifth in the NAIA. The Lions (29-2) swept the SAC regular-season and tournament championships for the first time.
Both Langston and Wayland Baptist have assured spots in the NAIA Championship Tournament. Langston reached the national tournament for the first time since 2018. The Lions will host an NAIA Championship Opening Round on March 7-8 at C. Felton Gayles Field House.
Wayland Baptist (23-8) snatched up the league’s other bid. The NAIA will release the opening-round bracket 7 p.m. CST Thursday.
Langston’s A.J. Rainey put up 14 points, four rebounds and two steals while scooping up SAC Tournament most valuable player. Rainey, a senior from Gray, La., averaged 19.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.67 steals throughout the tournament.
Tristan Harper collected Langston’s other all-tournament nod after turning in 12 points and four rebounds. Wayland Baptist’s D’Michael Bellfield led all scorers with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and R.J. Mason produced 15 points and four rebounds. Bellfield and Mason made the all-tournament team.
The Lions padded their lead to 68-54 after scoring eight unanswered points. A.J. Rainey punctuated the Langston run with a dunk off Cortez Mosley’s steal with 5:42 showing. White propelled the Lions by burying a 3-pointer.
Langston unleashed a 10-0 surge early in the second period to move ahead 50-41 with 14:11 left. White dropped in a 3-pointer to spark the run. D’Monte Brown capped the onslaught with five points, including a 3-point play.
The Lions overcame an eight-point deficit to lead 36-33 at halftime. Dean sank a trey at the 1:02 mark to put Langston in front 34-31, and Harper added a putback with 17 seconds to go.
Langston had a 45-40 rebounding edge and held Wayland Baptist to 37.3 percent shooting from the field.
Courtesy: Sooner Athletic Conference