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Wiley men take Red River Conference Title

March 4, 2007

WAXAHACHIE, TX — First-year head coach celebrated milestones on two occasions last week. Andre Payne reached career win 100 and coached the Wiley College Wildcats men’s basketball team to its first Red River Athletics Conference (RRAC) Title. Payne, a 1998 Alabama A&M graduated, achieved his 100th win at the end of the regular season. He improves to 103-83 all-time in just six seasons as a head coach. The Wildcats defeated conference rival, Langston University 92-87 Saturday March 3rd during the conference championship game played at the Shaffer Life Center at Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie.

After leading 38-35 at halftime, the #3 Wildcats pushed their lead to 15 points at one point in the second half; but #5 Langston (14-12) continued to push, cutting the deficit all the way to six points before Wiley (21-9) closed the game.

Wiley placed five players in double-figures in scoring with Michael Essien who led the Wildcats with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting while Lael Johnson contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds to the winning effort. Junior guard, Terrell Jacob also added 13 points and seven assists. Octavious Bailey (16 points) and Hector Garza (12 points) rounding them out.

The Wildcats defeated #2 seed Jarvis Christian College 92-85 Friday March 2nd night in the semi-final and also #5 seed Huston-Tillotson 80-76 in the tournament opener on Thursday, March 1st to reach the championship game.

The mens' basketball team clinched an automatic bid to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I tournament. This is Wiley’s first tournament appearance in 37 years. In their last appearance, The Wildcats made it to the sweet sixteen.

Octavious Bailey was named tournament player of the week .Hector Garza and Terrell Jacobs were selected to the RRAC All Conference Team and Jacobs received newcomer of the year.

The NAIA's Division I Men's National Tournament will take place March 14-20 at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri.

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