Red-hot RedHawks up next for SAGU
No. 6 ranked Lions meet no. 20 Martin-Methodist
Second Round game slated for Friday at 9:00am
KANSAS CITY, Missouri -- Advancing like Grant through Richmond, the men’s basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University has lived longer than half the 32-team field at the NAIA National Championship tournament.
After overcoming the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (USAO), 62-58, in the opening game of the tourney, the Lions proceed to Round Two.
Playing at Kansas City’s Municipal Arena, the Purple Pride start a second straight early-bird chance to move forward. Just sixteen teams are still "hooping and hoping."
Friday morning, March 15, they take on Martin-Methodist College at 9:00am (CST). The school is located in Pulaski, Tennessee, seventy-five miles south of Nashville.
Their basketball team, the RedHawks (21-10), are as hot as grits on a griddle. They have won 13 of their last 14 games after an 8-9 start.
MMC, like SAGU, is in the top five teams in the nation in field goal defense. They hold opponents to .379 shooting accuracy. It is reflected in the team allowing 61.5 points per game, which rates #6 in the NAIA.
Owning the 10th best rebounding margin in the nation, foes find second-chances on offense a rarity.
What and How to Follow the Game
Since the Lions are fourth in the country in grabbing offensive rebounds, at 15.5 per contest, this strength-against-strength battle figures to be the focal point of the game. A low-scoring dual is likely, especially considering the morning start.
Fans can view the game on-line through video livestreaming. The entire day of eight Second Round games costs $10 at: http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=205423235
Students and faculty can view the game at the campus “Watch Party” inside the Barnes Student Center.
Another option is to follow the game via a LiveStats webcast, which is a free, digital play-by-play account of the game. It includes the current score and game clock as well as up-to-the-minute team and player statistics.
Access the NAIA tournament’s livestats at: http://www.dakstats.com/websync/Pages/Tournament/TournamentPage.aspx?association=10&sg=MBB&tour=1060
Meet the RedHawks
The RedHawks, under first year Head Coach Scott Combs, were ranked no. 20 in the most recent Top 25 Coaches Poll. They boast of a balanced attack that has six players scoring between eight and twelve points.
Junior Josh Watson, at 6’5, and senior Jeremy Rodgers share the team lead in points, averaging 12.2 and 12.1ppg.
6-foot-3 senior guard Justin Blake’s 10.5 norm gives the Red Birds three in double-digits.
Watson (.445 accuracy) and Blake (.359) are three-point sharpshooters, making 57 and 69 baskets from beyond the arc.
Rodgers is a force inside at 6’5, 253 pounds. Thirteen times he has scored in double-digits, four with 20 or more.
His 8.7 rebounds per game average include a whopping 109 offensive boards.
In their 71-65 upset of no. 11 Westmont College (Calif), the RedHawks won the boards, 37-24, including 14-9 on offense.
In fact, the Warriors (25-8) didn’t get their first offensive board until the last minute of the first half.
Six-foot-6 inch Antonio Coleman, 6’8 Davie Champagnie, 6’2 Brandon Hunter and 6’3 Demario Williams are key figures in the RedHawk line-up. They score 8.9, 8.3, 8.0 and 4.4 respectively.
The first two, Coleman and Champagnie, are tough on the glass, claiming 5.2 and 6.4 caroms per outing.
Hunter and Williams are the team leaders in assists and knock down an occasional triple.
Both teams make seven three-pointers per game.
Like every team, Martin-Meth has an area that needs improvement; free throw shooting. The Hawks rank 94 among the NAIA’s 102 teams by making just .608 from the foul line.
SAGU Head Coach Donnie Bostwick said of Martin-Methodist, "They are balanced, have good size, are athletic and are well coached."
"They have two very good outside shooters," he continued. "They played a very tough schedule and are an experienced, senior-led squad. The team has a tremendous 'go to' inside player."
"Overall," he concluded, "They are playing well and execute well."
The SAGU Sports Medicine team reports a healthy line-up heading into the game. Thomas Rhodes, who traveled with the team, had little action on the bench in the team opener on Wednesday.
A detailed review of the game will be posted following the game, including the box score and action photos.