MIAA Mens Report: Emporia State to host Washburn

For immediate release, Jan. 8, 2008

MIAA Men's Basketball Report No. 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Only two schools managed to finish the first week of MIAA men's basketball action without a loss -- Southwest Baptist (9-2, 2-0 MIAA) and Missouri Southern (8-3, 2-0 MIAA). Both face tough tests in the second week of conference action.

The Bearcats, winners of seven straight games, head up State Highway 13 to face the Central Missouri Mules (9-2, 1-1 MIAA) on Wednesday (Jan. 8) at the UCM Multipurpose Building.

It is the Mules' first home conference game -- UCM is 3-3 over its last six games after a 5-0 start, but has won their last 29 at home.

SBU has been doing it with offense. The Bearcats are averaging 87.0 points during their win streak and have only been held to less than 80 points once during their run -- a 67-66 road win at now-No. 16 Northwest Missouri State (9-2, 1-1 MIAA) last Wednesday (Jan. 2) to open league play.

After playing the Mules, SBU hosts Fort Hays State (8-2, 1-1 MIAA) Saturday (Jan. 12).

The Southern Lions host 14th-ranked Pittsburg State (10-1, 1-1 MIAA) this Wednesday.

The Gorillas will be trying to get back on track and struggling to score in their first two league contests -- getting 63 in the home loss to UCM and 62 in an overtime road win at Truman (1-10, 0-2 MIAA).

The Lions have allowed only one opponent this season to surpass 71 points on their home floor this season -- going 4-1 in the friendly confines of the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.
Southern will follow that with a trip to UCM Saturday.

Northwest plays at Missouri Western (6-4, 0-0 MIAA), as the Bearcats are seeking their 13th win in the last 14 meetings against the Griffons.

Two squads which fell out of the NABC Top 25 this week will face off in Emporia as the Emporia State Hornets (5-6, 0-2 MIAA) host Washburn (9-2, 1-1 MIAA).

It is a battle of the conference's top two scoring teams -- the Hornets average 85.6 points per game, while the Ichabods are close behind at 85.1. The difference has been defense -- ESU allows a league-worst 82.7 ppg, while WU holds foes to 66.3 ppg.

Washburn heads to Northwest Saturday night, while Emporia State hosts Pitt State.

Fort Hays State hosts Truman to round out the Wednesday slate. The Tigers had their eight-game win streak snapped at Northwest last weekend, but are 7-0 at Gross Memorial Coliseum this season.

The Bulldogs nearly broke their latest losing skid at four games, but fell short after forcing overtime against Pitt State.

FHSU is at SBU Saturday, while Truman hosts Western.

JAN. 2 WAS A BAD DAY TO BE NATIONALLY RANKED: It has been said that on any given day, any team can win -- last Wednesday (Jan. 2) was one of those days.

The four MIAA schools which entered the holiday break ranked in the NABC Top 25 each lost on the opening night of league play.

Fort Hays State held on to defeat then-No. 23 Emporia State, 79-77, as senior G Wes Book missed a guarded three-pointer as time expired for the Hornets.

Western junior G Lonnel Johnson sank a trey with four seconds left to send the host Griffons past then-No. 25 Washburn, 78-77.

Southwest Baptist dodged a late-charging and then-No. 11 Northwest Missouri State squad for a 67-66 win -- the green Bearcats stole an inbounds pass in the waning seconds, but the potential game-winner couldn't beat the buzzer.

Central Missouri started the second half at then-No. 16 Pitt State with an 11-4 run to break open a close game, and ended up with a 74-63 win.

Team-by-Team Notes

Central Missouri: UCM has a string of 15 straight home wins against MIAA foes entering the SBU game... Junior G De'Andre Byrd and senior F Kevin Wollbrinck each had career-high 19-point efforts in the Mules' loss at Washburn... Byrd has averaged 13.2 points in his last five outings... UCM shot just 26 percent from the field in the second half vs. the Ichabods... The Mules are 17-4 in the last four years in games following a loss.

Emporia State: The Washburn games marks the Hornets' first at White Auditorium in the last seven games... ESU is 1-5 since last playing at home... The span away from home was the longest for an MIAA school since Central Missouri had a six-game road swing in 2002-03... Senior G Wes Book is averaging 21.7 points and 6.3 rebounds over ESU's last three games -- all losses for the Hornets.

Fort Hays State: The Tigers' only losses this season have come when committing at least 20 turnovers in a game... Senior G Jake Sims had his string of double-figure scoring games halted at five, when Northwest limited him to three points... The 53 points scored against the Bearcats Saturday (Jan. 5) is a season low for FHSU... Sophomore F Tim Peintner just missed a double-double (10 points, nine rebounds) vs. Northwest.

Missouri Southern: Senior G T.J. Britton scored a season-high 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the win at Truman Wednesday (Jan. 2)... Junior F Vincent Ateba logged his second double-double in the last three games with a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds in the home win over Western Saturday (Jan. 5)... Ateba averaged 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in his last three games.

Missouri Western: Senior F Jay McFarland, who sat out last semester's action, averaged 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in his first two games back for the Griffons -- including a team-high 19 points in the loss to Southern Saturday (Jan. 5)... Western committed a season-worst 28 turnovers vs. the Lions... Junior G Lonnel Johnson tied a season-high with 27 points in the last-second win over Washburn.

Northwest Missouri State: The Bearcats have won their last 27 games when holding a halftime lead... Northwest hit a season-best 10 three-point goals in the win over Fort Hays State Saturday (Jan. 5)... Senior G Andy Peterson matched his career high with 20 points against the Tigers... Senior G Mose Howard is averaging 13.0 points over his last four games, with a season-high 17 points in the loss to SBU Wednesday (Jan. 2).

Pittsburg State: PSU has won the last two meetings with Southern in Joplin... Senior C Cory Abercrombie has been the Gorillas' leading scorer in each of the last nine games... Senior G/F Michael Hutchingson is averaging 6.3 assists per game in his last three outings... The Gorillas are shooting just 37.7 percent from the field in their first two MIAA games... PSU has made just eight treys once in its last nine games.

Southwest Baptist: The Bearcats made a season-high 17 three-point goals in 34 tries during their win over ESU Saturday (Jan. 5)... Senior F Jim Grabowski and junior G D'Ante Harris combined to go 12-of-18 from long range vs. ESU... SBU never trailed in its win over Northwest Wednesday (Jan. 2)... Grabowski has averaged 21.8 points in his last seven games... G Tristan Steele leads MIAA freshmen in scoring (10.8 ppg).

Truman: Senior F Nick Certa has led the Bulldogs in scoring each of the last three games (16.7 ppg)... Certa has 62 career blocked shots -- seven from cracking the school's top five... Six of Truman's 10 losses have been by 10 points or less... Junior G Banks Estridge is averaging 16.0 points over his last five games... The Bulldogs have not scored 60 points in a game since logging 86 in their only win -- a span of five games.

Washburn: Junior G Angel Santiago has logged back-to-back games of more than 20 points to open MIAA play, and has reached double figures in each of his last seven (14.7 ppg)... With three blocks in the win over UCM, junior F Paul Byers tied for seventh on WU's career list with 58 -- he also had 12 points and a career-best 12 boards vs. the Mules... Sophomore G Mario Scott logged 10 assists in the loss at Western.

MIAA Men's Basketball Player of the Week

For the week of play ending Jan. 6

D'Ante Harris, G
Southwest Baptist University

Harris, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound junior from Bossier City, La., averaged 21.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.0 steals as the Bearcats won their first two conference games and extended their win streak to seven last week.

In a 67-66 win at No. 11 Northwest Missouri State Wednesday (Jan. 2), Harris scored 15 points with eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. His back-to-back treys in the second half gave SBU an eight-point lead with 1:07 left.

Harris scored 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field in a 93-70 home win over No. 23 Emporia State Saturday (Jan. 5). He was 7-of-11 from the three-point arc, and added seven rebounds (four offensive), six assists and four steals

He was 6-of-9 from long range in the first half and had 19 points as SBU claimed a 15-point halftime lead, 45-30.

Harris, who was 11-of-18 from the three-point line (61.1 percent) for the week, is a graduate of Airline High School and transferred to SBU from Vincennes (Ind.) University.

Others nominated: Cory Abercrombie, C, PSU; T.J. Britton, G, MSSU; De'Andre Byrd, G, UCM; Jay McFarland, F, MWSU; Andy Peterson, G, NWMSU; Angel Santiago, G, WU.

Previous winners: 11/19 -- Reggie Bunch, F, MWSU; 11/26 -- Hunter Henry, F, NWMSU; 12/3 -- Jim Grabowski, F, SBU; 12/10 -- DeAndre Townsend, G, ESU; 12/17 -- Banks Estridge, G, TSU; 12/31 -- Cory Abercrombie, C, PSU.

-- MIAA --

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