Quarterfinal to tip-off at 2:00pm
Winner to appear on ESPN3 on Monday
KANSAS CITY, Missouri -- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) version of Game of Thrones, in which 32 teams, all champions in their own right, gather in one location to do battle for the national champion crown.
Today the Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team, ranked no. 6 in the season-ending Top 25 Coaches Poll and one of the eight remaining, play in the quarterfinals.
They will take on an impressive University of Montana Western (Dillon, Mt) team that just upset no. 3 Lee University (Tenn), 83-73.
The first of four games in the Municipal Arena (10,500), the Lions and Bulldogs will square off at 2:00pm (CST). Fans can follow the action on video livestream or in a LiveStats webcast.
Visit www.naia.org for directions or click here to view the menu of games and to purchase your access to the livestream (about $10).
Click here for the NAIA scoreboard on all games: http://www.naiasports.org/scoreboard.php
SAGU is joined in the field of eight by LSU-Shreveport, a fellow member from Red River Athletic Conference.
Along with the University of St. Thomas team, who lost earlier in the tournament, the teams have been pulling for one another.
Today’s line-up includes:
No. 6 SAGU (31-4) vs. no. 14 Montana Western (25-9), 2pm
RV Culver-Stockton (Mo) (26-8) vs. no. 13 Georgetown (Ky) (25-8), 4pm
No. 1 Columbia (Mo) (35-0) vs. no. 25 LSU-Shreveport (26-6), 6pm
RV MidAmerica Nazarene (Ks) (26-9) vs. no. 2 Lindsey Wilson (Ky) (31-4), 8pm
Notes: Among teams receiving votes (RV) in the most recent Coaches Poll, Culver-Stockton College was at #28, while MNU appeared at #27. Seven of the Top 10 have been eliminated.
The winners today will play in the Fab Four on Monday night, March 18, in games televised by ESPN3. Should the Lions prevail, they will tangle with the winner between Lindsey Wilson and MidAmerica Nazarene at 6:00pm (CST).
CBS will broadcast the NAIA championship game on Tuesday at 7:30pm.
SAGU punched their ticket to the quarters by virtue of two strong finishes; a 62-58 over the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and a 72-68 thriller against no. 20 Martin Methodist College on Friday.
While a crowd of fans gathered in the Barnes Student Center in Waxahachie, the team has seen a growing number arrive in Kansas City to support them.
They will need it when Montana Western, a quick, assertive squad with a deep bench, takes the floor against the Purple Pridethis afternoon.
The Bulldogs have a balanced attack with three players averaging a dozen points and five others producing solid figures. In their win over the Flames, they had four in double digits, including two reserves, while four scored between six and nine points.
Western won the boards, 40-34, and were hot from the field, making 28-of-58 shots (.483). Six players combined to sank nine three-pointers.
Jordan Overstreet (6’1, Soph. Guard), Maazin Butler (6’1, Jr. Guard) and Jake Owsley (6’8, Jr. Center) score 12.3, 12.2 and 12.1 points per game respectively.
Owsley is very effective in the paint, grabbing a team-best 8.3 rebounds per contest while also blocking 44 shots this season.
As a team, the Bulldogs score 73.2 ppg and allow 68.0. Like SAGU, they make seven three-point baskets per outing. Six different players have made between 18 and 62 treys. Overstreet leads by netting 62-of-147 (.422).
In regards to overall shooting accuracy, they are 77th in the NAIA with a .421 success rate.
Defensively they permit foes to make .422 of their attempts, ranking 33rd. They are no. 23 in steals, averaging 8.88 per game.
On the foul line UMW sinks .721 percent of their tries, which rates #21 among the NAIA’s 102 Division I teams.
In comparison, the Lions score 77.3 and surrender 69.4ppg. They are 93rd in the NAIA in shooting precision (.406), though their defense yields only .381, which ranks no. 5 in the country.
SAGU rates no. 9 in the nation in steals, swiping 10.89 per game. From the foul line the Purple & Gold are no. 76 at .657.
The Lions also boast of depth, though the minutes have tightened as the competition and match-ups have led to increased playing time for starters. The top three or four players in the second rotation still get the call, though usually for strategic roles.
Western is making their 10th trip to the NAIA national tournament, including the past four under Head Coach Steve Keller. This is the deepest the Bulldogs have advanced, progressing from 32 to the final eight.
(SAGU player stats are posted below)
After the weather in Kansas City warmed up to the high 70’s on Friday, today’s forecast is much cooler, with a high of 47. Rain showers are expected all afternoon.
The team scheduled a morning walk-through practice at Manual Tech, but chose a team meeting (for player match-up assignments)instead. They will follow with a light, early lunch.
For the third consecutive game, the Lions will don their purple, road uniforms.
Good Luck Wishes Sent from Elementary Students
The Lions spent time during a project at Silver City Elementary School on Thursday. They received a thoughtful “thank you” note on Friday.
Just wanted to say congratulations and good luck against Montana Western. Our staff that went yesterday was watching for updates during our inservice today!
Our kids yesterday, when they got back from (watching the games) went out and played pickup ball.
We were very fortunate to have such a great team give us wonderful life lessons.
Great job. Thanks so much for being an inspiration to our kids and good luck the rest of the way. We will be watching! Take care and do amazing!"
PE Teacher/District PE Leader
Silver City Elementary
Kansas City, Kansas School District
Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at email@example.com or at 469-658-2847.
SAGU Player Stats (Top 10 in rotation)
Key: PPG-Points Per Game. RPG-Rebounds Per Game. Threes-Mades. FT% - Free Throw Accuracy. Player jersey number is listed to left of their name.