Pilots and Rams square off in Top-15 match-up
November 17, 2005
Since the 2003-2004 season, the LSUS Pilots have established a winning tradition on their home court. The Pilots have collected a 25-3 record at the Dock, with two of the losses coming at the hands of conference foes Xavier University and the University of Mobile, and the third from a 109-100 loss January 3rd, 2005 at the hands of the Texas Wesleyan Rams. “We are thrilled to get back to our regular season play, however, we are very aware of the tough match-up we have versus Texas Wesleyan. The combination of Ben Hunt and Kharyi McKinney is one of the best guard combinations in the NAIA. They play a similar style of game as we do which should provide a very exciting game for our fans tonight,” commented Pilots Head Coach McDowell. The Rams enter tonight’s match-up averaging 77.0 points per game with Hunt and McKinney averaging a combined 36 points per game.
The Pilots return home after a three game road trip versus NCAA Division I opponents McNeese State, University of Arkansas, and LSU. “We learned a lot about ourselves over this past week. We played some tough teams who exposed our weaknesses. Now we need to use those games as learning tools to get us to the top which is where we want to be,” concluded McDowell.
If the Rams have hopes of upsetting the Pilots at home for a second time, they will have to be prepared for a Pilot offense that has averaged 135 point in two games at home this season. Fredericko Payne has averaged 31.5 points at the Dock this year while teammate Anton Palmer has averaged a double-double with 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Josh Porter averaged 20 points in the first two games of the season despite struggling from the field. Porter showed how much of a scoring threat he can be as he averaged 22 points on the Pilots NCAA DI road trip. “Josh really rose to the occasion over the past 3 games and proved he is a great player. Although different guys have shined on different nights thus far this season, it’s been our total TEAM effort that has gotten us to the point we are at and it will take another total team effort tonight playing against Texas Wesleyan” said McDowell.
Jeremy Johnston has been a big addition to the Pilot roster this far. Johnston has averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds along with being a strong defender under the Pilot basket. Shadrach Roome has pitched in with 12.5 points and 6 rebounds while starting point guard Kyle Blankenship has a team high 22 assists and 6.5 points per game. Freddy Hughes has been a huge boost off the bench for the Pilots thus far averaging 10 points (8-8 from the field) and collecting 14 assists to just 4 turnovers. Returning senior forward Derrick Sowell broke out this season with 15 points and 6 rebounds (both team highs) versus LSU and hopes to improve on his 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.