(Georgetown) - The Texas Lutheran men's and women's basketball teams head to Southwestern University in Georgetown this weekend for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
The TLU men seek their third consecutive SCAC title after finishing third in the conference's regular season standings in Mike Wacker's first year as head coach. The two-time defending champion Bulldogs (16-9) went 10-4 in conference play, tied with Colorado College for second place, but ended up with the No. 3 tournament seed because the Tigers owned the head-to-head tiebreak. As a result, TLU opens the tournament with a tough quarterfinal matchup against No. 6 seed Centenary (12-13, 6-8), who beat the Bulldogs 89-74 the last time they played on Jan. 28.
The quarterfinal matchup features the last two SCAC Player of the Year honorees and the current SCAC Co-Players of the Week in TLU point guard Sterling Holmes (16.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists) and Centenary forward James Sapp (21.4 points, 10.0 rebounds). Add TLU forward Zach Behr (16.7), shooting guard Jordan Kouremetis (13.1), and Centenary guard Travion Kirkendoll (18.0) to the mix, and five of the conference's top 11 scorers will be on the court this evening (and four of the top six).
The Gents (81.8) and Bulldogs (79.7) are the top two scoring teams in the SCAC, and the Bulldogs lead the conference in three-point shooting percentage (.386). Holmes hit the game-winning three and scored a career-high 33 points in TLU's road win over Centenary on Jan. 22, while Sapp led the Gents with 43 points and 14 rebounds that day.
TLU has eliminated Centenary in each of the past two SCAC tournaments - the 2015 championship game and in last year's semifinals. Kouremetis was the Tournament MVP two years ago, and Holmes claimed that distinction in 2016.
The winner of tonight's 7 p.m. TLU - Centenary quarterfinal will face No. 2 seed Colorado College in Saturday's 7 p.m. semifinal. If the Bulldogs advance, that contest will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com, as will Sunday's 2 p.m. championship game of TLU wins in the semifinals.
The TLU women have a bye through the first round of the tournament as the No. 2 seed after going 20-5 overall with a 12-2 conference mark during Mel Dixon's fifth regular season as head coach. The Bulldogs will play in Saturday's 2 p.m. semifinal against winner of tonight's quarterfinal matchup between No. 3 seed Austin College (18-7, 10-4 SCAC) and No. 6 seed Dallas (11-14, 3-11).
Trinity, ranked No. 8 nationally in the D3hoops.com Top 25, is the tournament's top seed after going 13-1 in conference play and 24-1 overall during the regular season. The Tigers' only loss was to TLU, 85-78 on Jan. 14 in Seguin. The Bulldogs took Trinity down to the wire in the Feb. 4 rematch, but came up short 74-71 in San Antonio. TLU and Trinity could play the rubber match with a SCAC title on the line if they both advance to Sunday's noon championship game. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers in the 2014 SCAC championship game, but have fallen to Trinity in the semifinals in each of the past two seasons.
The 2017 TLU women have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 71.0 to 62.0. Senior forwards Kristen Lye (14.1) and Savannah Hight (13.4) rank sixth and seventh in the SCAC in scoring, and Lye is the league's third leading rebounder (9.7). Hight also ranks among the conference's top 10 in rebounding (5.6 - 10th), field goal percentage (.464 - 7th), assists (2.8 - 4th), free throw percentage (.789 - 4th), steals (2.4 - 3rd), and blocked shots (1.1 - 6th). Senior guard Cierra Jordan leads the SCAC in steals (2.8), ranks fourth in three-point shooting (.376), and averages 10.2 points per game.
The TLU women's 2 p.m. semifinal on Saturday will only air on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com if the Marion High School girls do not advance to the 1 p.m. 3A Region IV championship game. If TLU plays in Sunday's SCAC championship game at noon, KWED will air the broadcast.