2022-2023 Basketball

Langston climbs to the top and clinches first SAC championship

Langston University is now the first HBCU to win a SAC basketball tournament

Courtesy of Langston Athletics

OKLAHOMA CITY – The No. 5 Langston University continued their storybook season on Tuesday evening, knocking off Wayland Baptist 80-68 to clinch the first ever Sooner Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament championship in program history at the Gaulke Activity Center.

Wayland Baptist led 41-40 at the 17:30 mark in the second half when the Lions roared to life on a 12-3 scoring run that pushed Langston in front 52-42 with 13:15 left to play.

The Pioneers worked the lead back down to six points with under ten minutes to go but Langston countered with an 8-2 scoring run, putting them up 68-54 at the 5:42.

The Lions never let Wayland Baptist closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Toru Dean led Langston in scoring with 17 points on the night. AJ Rainey added 14, Tristan Harper added 12 and D’Monte Brown picked up his fourth double-double on the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

“This was a really big win for us. Wayland Baptist is a talented and well-coached team. They are very explosive offensively and I was proud of the way we were able to guard tonight,” Langston head coach Chris Wright said. “To win both the regular season and the conference tournament was very validating. We had six of the other eleven SAC coaches pick us to finish fifth or sixth. We took that very personally and it motivated us to run away with the conference the way we did.”

Rainey was named the SAC Tournament Most Valuable Player for his efforts after tallying 22 points versus John Brown University on Feb. 23, 21 points versus Southwestern Assemblies of God on Feb. 27 and 14 points tonight versus the Pioneers.

Harper also picked up postseason accolades as he was also named to the All-SAC Tournament team.

Langston switches focus to NAIA National Tournament

Langston improves to 29-2 overall on the season and have cemented their place in program history by becoming the first HBCU to win the Sooner Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championship in the same season.

The Lions will now turn their attention to the NAIA National Tournament which begins on Tuesday, March 7th on the campus of Langston University at C.F. Gayles Field House. The Lions received an automatic berth to the NAIA National Tournament after claiming the SAC regular season championship and were awarded the opportunity to host the opening rounds.

Each first and second round site will feature four teams and will play single elimination on Tuesday & Wednesday, March 7-8. The winner of the final game will go to the NAIA National Championship Final Site in Kansas City, Mo.

The Lions will find out their opponent in the NAIA National Tournament on Thursday, March 2 when the NAIA Men’s Basketball selection show premieres at 7:00 p.m. CST. on the NAIA YouTube Channel.

Langston climbs to the top and clinches first SAC championship
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