The late-game heroics of junior point guard Nathan Josephs (2) during the seson's home stretch have been instrumental in keeping TLU's SCAC championship hopes alive. Photo by Brendan Maloney.
(Colorado Springs) - If the Texas Lutheran men's basketball program is to win its fourth consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship, the Bulldogs will have to knock off a higher seed in every round of this weekend's SCAC Tournament at Colorado College's Reed Arena.
TLU claimed the sixth and final tournament berth with an 83-80 overtime win at Southwestern in the final game of the regular season last Friday. The Bulldogs went 11-14 overall and 7-7 in the conference in Mike Wacker's second season as head coach.
As imposing as advancing through the bracket as the No. 6 seed might appear at first glance, TLU is attempting to do so in a SCAC season whose predominant theme has been parity. The second through sixth seeds are only separated by a single game in the final standings, with Centenary, Dallas, and Trinity all going 8-6 in the conference, while Colorado College and TLU each went 7-7. Schreiner (10-4) finished in first place by two games over the the three teams who tied for second.
TLU meets No. 3 seed University of Dallas in today's quarterfinals at 3 p.m. central time. The Crusaders went 15-10 overall with an 8-6 SCAC record during the regular season, and split two head-to-head meetings with TLU, with each team winning on the road. The Bulldogs beat Dallas 68-52 in Irving on Jan. 19, and the Crusaders returned the favor with a 69-64 win in Seguin a week later.
Dallas has been the most efficient offensive team in the SCAC this season, leading the conference in scoring (79.5), assists (17.2) and field goal percentage (.478) while ranking second in three-point shooting (.362).
The Crusaders' top individual player is 6'7" freshman post Spencer Levi, who rankes third in the SCAC in scoring (19.1) and leads the league in rebounding (11.5). Darius Colvin is the Crusaders' best perimeter player, netting 16.3 points and 3.6 assists to rank among the conference's top eight in both categories.
The transfer of junior point guard Nathan Josephs from Texas State to TLU has been critical in the Bulldogs' success this season. Josephs averaged 17.4 points (5th SCAC) and 4.1 assists (2nd) during the regular season, and hit game-winning shots just before time expired to lift TLU over Centenary and Southwestern in the final week of conference play. Fellow guards Jacob Kouremetis (.429) and Sebastian Andrade (.414) rank second and third in the SCAC, respectively, in three-point shooting percentage. Kouremetis averages 11.3 points per game, Andrade 10.5.
Today's other quarterfinal pits No. 4 seed Trinity against No. 5 Colorado College. The winner of that game will face No. 1 seed Schreiner in Saturday's 1 p.m. (central) semifinal, and the winner of the TLU - Dallas matchup will play No. 2 seed Centenary on Saturday at 3 p.m. Sunday's championship game is slated for 1 p.m. central time.
The Bulldogs went 0-2 against Schreiner during the regular season, 1-1 against Centenary, 0-2 against Trinity, and 1-1 against both Colorado College and Dallas.
Links to the SCAC's live video stream of TLU's tournament games can be found at tlubulldogs.com and scacsports.com.