Weevils Ready for NCAA Tournament Opener Against OBU
MONTICELLO, Ark. – The University of Arkansas at Monticello men’s basketball team is making its third appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament and its first since the 2016-17 season. The Weevils enter as the No. 3 seed and will face No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist in the South Central Region Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament Saturday at 6 p.m.
This is first meeting between the conference foes this season and the 11th all-time. UAM leads the series 6-4, but has not beaten OBU since 2018.
The Weevils won their first Great American Conference Tournament Championship in a thrilling 75-74 win over Southern Arkansas Sunday. Dajuan Jones earned tournament MVP while Miles Daniels and Denzel McDuffey were also voted to the All-Tournament team.
The trio of Weevils also garnered All-GACrecognition following the end of the 2021 regular season. Jones earned first team honors while Daniels and McDuffey were each named second team All-GAC.
UAM is averaging 75.1 points per game while holding opponents to 66.3 points per game for the top ranked scoring margin in the GAC (+8.8). The Weevils’ scoring defense rates 17th in the country and second in the conference.
UAM leads the conference shooting 39.9 percent from beyond the arc which also ranks 17th in the nation. The Weevils also lead the league in free throw percentage (74.7%) and rate third in overall field-goal percentage on 45.5 percent shooting from the field.
On defense, the Weevils are the best in the GAC and 13th nationally in forcing turnovers at 16.5 per contest. UAM holds the 10th best turnover margin in the nation at 4.1. The Weevils are also second in the GAC and 18th in the country holding opponents to 30.5 percent from downtown.
UAM has four players that average at least 10.0 points per game in Daniels (15.4), Jones (13.8), McDuffey (13.6) and Lemmie Howard (10.2).
Daniels leads the conference in total three-pointers made (68), threes per game (3.4) and three-point percentage (45.9). His 68 total three-pointers rate third in the country while his 3.4 three-pointers per game land him at eighth in the nation.
Jones leads the league in free throws made (105) and is fourth in free-throw percentage (82.0). His 105 made free throws is the eighth most in the nation. He also ranks second total assists (118) and assist to turnover ratio (2.31) in the conference. His 5.9 assists per game is good for seventh in country and second in the GAC.
Defensively, McDuffey and Howard lead the charge for the Weevils. McDuffey ranks fourth in the conference in total steals (33). Howard leads the team with 20 blocks while McDuffeyfollows right behind with 18.
On the glass, McDuffey paces UAM pulling down 162 total rebounds which lands him at fourth in the GAC and 27th nationally. His 6.25 defensive rebounds per game rate third in the conference and 47th in the country.
Oklahoma Baptist was the Western Division champion in the GAC and is currently 15-5 overall.
Jarius Hicklen leads way for the Bison with 16.4 points per game including shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc while Brantly Thompson pours in 14.2 points per game. Harrison Stoddart also averages 14.2 points a game to go along with 7.6 rebounds. Jaquan Simms rounds out the top scorers for OBU with 10.9 points per game.
Tipoff for Saturday’s matchup is set for 6 p.m.inside the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas. You can watch the game at https://lonestarconferencenetwork.com/lcu/?bfplayvid=247181 or listen live on KHBM 93.7.
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