February 21, 2014
By -, -
NAIA Game of the Week – No. 7
No. 17 Mid-America Christian (Okla.) (14-9, 10-7 SAC) at No. 23 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) (19-7, 10-7 SAC)
Saturday, Feb. 22 | 5 p.m. CST | W.P. Wood Field House | Shawnee, Okla.
Live Stats - Provided by St. Gregory's
• Two of the Sooner Athletic Conference’s (SAC) three ranked teams face off Saturday when No. 17 Mid-America Christian (Okla.) travels to Shawnee, Okla., to take on No. 23 St. Gregory’s (Okla.). The teams are currently tied for third in the SAC (10-7) behind No. 4 SAGU (Texas) (15-2) and receiving votes Oklahoma City (11-6).
• Saturday’s contest is the second of two regular season meetings between the Top 25 teams. Mid-America Christian defended its home court on Jan. 25, defeating St. Gregory’s, 89-78. The Evangels shot 50 percent from beyond the arc in the contest (9-of-18), while holding the Cavaliers to just 37.5 percent shooting from the field (24-of-64).
• Both Mid-America Christian, which finished last season 9-7 in the SAC, and St. Gregory’s, which went 0-16 in conference play a year ago, are experiencing unexpected success this season. In the league’s preseason coaches’ poll, Mid-America Christian was picked to finish seventh, while St. Gregory’s was predicted as the league’s ninth-place finisher.
• Mid-America Christian has dominated St. Gregory’s in the all-time series, going 12-1 since joining the NAIA in 2007. The Cavaliers’ lone victory came on Feb. 14, 2008, when they upset the Evangels, 67-57.
• Since Mid-America Christian joined the SAC in 2007, the Evangels and Cavaliers have combined for just one winning season in the conference—Mid-America Christian (12-11) in 2009-10—and neither has finished higher than third.
• Mid-America Christian could match its best season win total in the SAC (12) by winning its last two games. After the Game of the Week, the Evangels face off against Southwestern Christian (Okla.) (6-18) on March 1.
• St. Gregory’s has more SAC wins in 2013-14 (10) than over the past five years combined (9). Its 10 SAC victories are the most in program history. With one more victory, the Cavaliers would tie the program-record with 20 wins, matching the mark set by the 1999-2000 team.
• Mid-America Christian is looking to qualify for its first-ever NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. St. Gregory’s has participated in one National Championship (2000), but the Cavaliers will be searching for their first national championship victory, should they qualify again this season.
• The Evangels are led by junior guard Semar Farris, who paces the team in points per game (19.65), assists (117), steals (71) and 3-point field goals made (55). Farris turned in his best performance in Mid-America Christian’s 101-96 loss to Wayland Baptist on Feb. 6. He scored a season-high 40 points on 14-of-24 shooting, including a 9-of-14 mark from beyond the arc. He also swiped six steals, grabbed six rebounds and dished out two assists in the contest. On the season, Farris ranks among the top 10 nationally in steals per game (4th, 3.09), total steals (6th, 71) and assists per game (8th, 5.09).
• Other key contributors for Mid-America Christian are senior forward Angelo Lewis, who leads the team in rebounds per game (6.00) —while ranking second in points per game (16.22), blocks (10) and assists (50), and junior guard Jarius Wilson, who is third on the team in points per game (13.78), steals (27) and assists (42).
• As a team, Mid-America Christian ranks among the top 15 nationally in turnover margin (8th, +4.39), 3-point field goal percentage (9th, .387), assists per game (9th, 16.52), steals per game (10th, 10.39) and scoring offense per game (12th, 89.96).
• The Cavaliers are led by junior guard Marty Wilkerson, who paces the team in points per game (21.00), assists (124) and 3-point field goals made (57). Wilkerson’s best performances came in back-to-back games on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9. Against Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), he recorded his first double-double of the season with 24 points and 11 assists. Then, against Bethany (Kan.) seven days later, he added a second double-double with 25 points and 11 assists. On the year, Wilkerson ranks among the top 15 nationally in total assists (9th, 124), points per game (11th, 21.00), total scoring (11th, 546) and assists per game (12th, 4.77).
• Josiah Campbell provides a definitive post presence for St. Gregory’s. He is currently averaging a double-double—10.60 points and 10.46 rebounds per game—and has recorded eight double-doubles this season, good for 17th nationally. He also ranks among the top 10 in defensive rebounds per game (2nd, 8.00), total rebounds (4th, 272) and total rebounds per game (6th, 10.46).
• As a team, St. Gregory’s ranks among the top 15 nationally in field goal percentage (11th, .481) and total scoring offense (15th, 2269).
Additional Notes from Around NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball
(Through games played on Feb. 20, 2014)
• For the first-time in the history of the NAIA, there will be an All-Star Game. The NABC-NAIA Men's Basketball All-Star Game, presented by US Bank will occur on March 22 as the 10 best players from Division II will compete against the 10 best players from Division I. Coach Al Waller, formerly of College of the Ozarks (Mo.), and coach Don Meyer, formerly of Lipscomb (Tenn.), are the head coaches for the event. On that day, there will also be a Dunk and 3-Point Contest. For more information, click here.
• No teams remain unbeaten after Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) suffered its first loss of the season to Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer on Jan. 30.
• Cal State San Marcos has the fewest losses with a 27-1 overall record. Five other programs sit with just two losses.
• Fourteen teams have 20-plus wins, led by the 27 of Cal State San Marcos. Columbia (Mo.) is next with 25 victories.
• On Jan. 9, Evangel (Mo.) head coach Steve Jenkins reached the 600-win plateau after an 85-78 victory over MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). He became the seventh active Division I head coach to hit 600 wins.
• Since starting their program in 1902-03, the Tigers of Georgetown (Ky.) are NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball’s all-time wins leader with 1,744 (through games on Feb. 20, 2014). Georgetown is 19-8 on the season.
• For the fourth-straight week, Cal State San Marcos boasts the No. 1 ranking in the Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 Poll. For the complete release, click here.
• Melvin Tillman of Central Methodist (Mo.) was named this week’s NAIA National Division I Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. For the complete release, click here.
• Other Top 25 matchups this week:
o Tuesday – No. 9 Vanguard (Calif.) def. No. 15 Concordia (Calif.), 75-74
o Thursday – No. 3 William Carey (Miss.) def. No. 24 Martin Methodist (Tenn.), 91-69
o Friday – No. 10 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) at No. 18 Montana State-Northern
o Saturday – No. 2 Pikeville (Ky.) at No. 19 Rio Grande (Ohio)
o Saturday – No. 5 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) at No. 7 Columbia (Mo.)