The opening of Lone Star Conference basketball play means a big night for the UT Tyler Patriots and also for a hometown son.
The Patriots meet St. Edward’s in their first LSC game on Thursday and the Hilltoppers sport Tylerite and former All Saints star Sean Phillips on the roster.
Opening the doubleheader will be the women’s game as the Patriots (1-2) take on the St. Edward’s (4-0) at 5:30 p.m.
The men play at 7:30 p.m. with the Patriots (2-2) meeting the No. 12 and unbeaten Hilltoppers (5-0).
Both games are scheduled for the Louise Herrington Patriot Center on the UT Tyler campus.
Phillips is a 6-5 junior forward who was a former All-East Texas player for the Trojans. He is averaging 6.0 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds for the Hilltoppers.
St. Edward’s, located in Austin, scored an 89-83 win over Rice in an exhibition game in Houston and have regular season wins over Colorado Mesa (79-76) and Colorado Christian (94-68) in Lakewood, Colorado; and victories in Austin over Southwestern (99-69), Trinity (103-65) and Schreiner (106-56).
Guard Ashton Spears (6-2, Sr., Independence, Louisiana) leads the Hilltoppers in scoring (20.8 points per game). Forward Dorian Lopez (6-5, Sr., San Antonio) is the top rebounder at 7.8.
The Patriots have won their last two games — 114-61 over Dallas Christian and 87-60 over Ecclesia.
Guard Ty Glover (6-7, Sr., San Bernardino, California) leads the Patriots in scoring at 20.3 ppg, followed by forward Jerekius Davis (6-7, Sr., Jackson, Mississippi) at 11.3 ppg and guard Micah Fuller (6-1, Jr., Bessemer, Alabama) at 11.0. Davis also tops the team in rebounding at 6.0 per game with forward JT Riddick (6-9, Jr., Waterbury, Connecticut) next at 5.0.
After dropping a couple games in Wichita Falls to open the season, the Patriots (1-2) defeated Texas College 74-56 in Tyler.
Guard Beezy Birchette (5-8, Sr., Killeen) leads UT Tyler in both scoring (10.3) and rebounding (10.3). Guard Tyreesha Blaylock (5-3, Soph., Flint/Tyler Lee HS) is second in scoring (8.3) with forward Lauren Riles (6-2, Jr., Alvin) second in rebounding (6.3).
The Hilltoppers are led in scoring by forward Deijah Blanks (5-10, graduate student, San Diego, California) at 19.0 and in rebounding by center Sammie Dufek (6-0, Soph., Flower Mound) at 7.5.
UT Tyler is also home on Saturday, hosting St. Mary’s of San Antonio. The women are set to start at 2 p.m., followed by the men at 4 p.m.
St. Edward’s plays at Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday, with the women playing at 6 p.m., followed by the men at 8 p.m.