Pilots to play for GCAC championship Saturday night at the Dock
February 25, 2005
Shreveport, LA---When you combine the ingredients of the nation’s leading scorer in Fredericko Payne (26.0pg), the nation’s leading shot blocker in Derrick Hill (3.93pg), the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference’s third leading scorer in Derrick Rogers (17.0pg), the senior leadership of point guard Justin Collins, and arguably the most athletic small forward in the nation, Derrick Sowell, along with a supporting cast of Freddy Hughes, Travis Cash, Abraham Saxon, David Walker, and Carlon Simmons, you have the recipe for a 24-7 regular season record, and a chance at an NAIA National Tournament automatic bid with a win Saturday night versus the William Carey College Crusaders (11-20, 7-10).
Despite suffering their toughest loss of the season Saturday, February 19 when the Loyola University Wolfpack defeated LSUS 73-72 (which knocked the Pilots into sole possession of second place, one game behind the University of Mobile Rams), the combination of an 86-82 Pilots victory over the Dillard University Blue Devils Thursday night, and a 79-68 loss by the Rams at the hands of Southern University of New Orleans, have the two teams tied for top spot in the GCAC with conference records of 15-2. The nationally ranked #4 Rams and the #11 Pilots split their regular season series 1-1, with each team defeating the other on their opponent’s home court.
Due to the GCAC regular season rules, LSUS currently holds the upper hand on becoming the conference champion if a tie-breaker is needed. The original tie-breaker would be decided by the two team’s head-to-head record, in which they their regular season series. The next step in the tie-breaker is then decided by who has the best record in head-to-head action against the next highest seed in the conference. Xavier University of New Orleans currently stands in third place with a 12-5 GCAC record, with two losses coming at the hands of the Pilots, and two more at the hands of the Rams.
With both the Pilots and the Rams having 2-0 records versus Xavier, the tie-breaker would then move to head-to-head record versus the fourth place Southern University of New Orleans Knights who are 11-6 in the GCAC. The Pilots trailed by as many as 21 points January 8th, but came back to defeat the Knights 91-82 on the road, and the Pilots picked up their second win of the season versus the Knights February 5th in an 81-78 thriller at the Dock.
The Rams defeated the Knights 78-68 in New Orleans January 27th, but dropped a 79-68 decision at home versus the Knights Thursday night to split the season series 1-1, giving the Pilots the better record versus the next highest seeded conference opponent, and the upper hand in the GCAC regular season tie-breaker.
Saturday night will be the conclusion of the 2004-2005 GCAC regular season play with the Pilots matched up against the William Carey College Crusaders, and the Rams will face the Spring Hill College Badgers. The Pilots hold their own destiny as a win Saturday night will clinch the GCAC regular season championship, and guarantee the Pilots a birth in the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Kansas City, MO, March 16-22.
“We are very excited and very proud of the fact that we have created an opportunity to ply for the GCAC regular season championship,” commented head coach Chad McDowell.
On a night when team anticipation and excitement will be at its peak, the Pilots will pay tribute to the accomplishments and participation of their 5 seniors, David Walker, Justin Collins, Derrick Hill, Derrick Rogers, and Abraham Saxon before tip-off at 7:00pm.
When asked about the senior recognition night and the contributions these five players have made to LSUS, coach McDowell concluded, “Our seniors are a very talented bunch of young men, but more importantly they are guys that know the definition of hard work, discipline, character, and leadership, and they have displayed these qualities from day one. They have led the charge in laying the foundation of our LSUS men's basketball program and have accomplished so many things in just two years. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to be a part of their lives and are grateful for the contribution they have made to our basketball family, our university, and this community. These guys will be missed and will never be forgotten. This group of seniors is the type that you wish you could keep around forever and just tell them their only job is to hang around our team and teach them how to be quality young men and teach them what it means to be a good teammate. They will forever be a part of our LSUS basketball family and I am sure each one of them knows how much I love them and how much I appreciate everything they have done for our basketball family. Seniors, thank you and Coach McDowell loves you and will never forget you.”
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