THIS WEEK: Dakota State (23-9 overall record) looks to continue their postseason run Friday night as they face Saint Thomas (Fla.) (21-11) in the 22nd annual NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament 'Sweet Sixteen' round at the Keeter Gymnasium in Point Lookout, Mo. The national tournament is hosted by the College of the Ozarks (Mo.) and runs through Tuesday, March 12 with the championship game set for 8 p.m.
TROJANS UPSET #5 WARNER PACIFIC (ORE.): Dakota State opened the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament with an 89-80 upset victory over No. 5 seed Warner Pacific (Ore.) Thursday night. It was DSU's first national tournament victory for the first time since 1992, the year DSU advanced to the 'Final Four' (coached by current Southern Oregon head coach Brian McDermott). The Trojans shot a season-high 60.4 percent from the field in the victory, including draining 10 3-pointers. DSU won their fourth straight game and their ninth win in the last 11 games.
DSU VS. TEAMS IN NATIONAL TOURNAMENT: Dakota State is 7-6 record against the teams that qualified for the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament. The Trojans defeated Jamestown (N.D.) three times, Valley City State (N.D.), Bellevue (Neb.), Dordt (Iowa) and Midland (Neb.). DSU lost to the Vikings two times, Northwestern (Iowa) two times, Jamestown and Midland. The Trojans are 4-4 this season against teams ranked in the NAIA's Top 25.
TWO IN A ROW CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: Dakota State captured the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Division II Men's Basketball Conference Tournament for the second straight year. The Trojans, third-seed in the tournament, defeated sixth-seed Northern New Mexico, second-seed Valley City State and fifth-seed Jamestown to claim the title. DSU's head coach Gary Garner was named to the A.I.I. Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
WINS RECORD: The Trojans continues their historic season as they set a new DSU school record for the most victories in a single season. DSU recorded their 23rd victory on Thursday night as they defeated No. 5 Warner Pacific (Ore.) in the first round of the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament. The previous old mark was 20 wins, which happened twice in DSU men's basketball team historyâ€”1990-91 and 1966-67 seasons. In addition, Dakota State had produced their best start this season with a 7-1 record for the first time since 1966-67 season with a 9-1 record.
POSTSEASON HONORS: Four Dakota State University men's basketball players were selected to the A.I.I. All-Conference teams, announced after the conclusion of the conference tournament. John Lamb and Luke Lamb were named to the A.I.I. All-Conference first team. Tyrone Gordon, Jr. and Yusuf Vinson were selected to the second team All-Conference. Luke Lamb, Gordon, Jr. and Vinson were selected to the A.I.I. All-Tournament team after the conclusion of the A.I.I. conference postseason tournament in Jamestown, N.D.
STRONG FINISH: Dakota State finished their regular-season schedule by winning four games of the last six regular-season games before heading in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament. The Trojans currently are on a three-game winning streak and had won eight of the last 10 games before heading in the NAIA National Tournament.
DSU GAINS VOTES TO NATIONAL POLL: The Trojans tallied 17 votes in the final NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' 'Top 25' national poll, released on Feb. 27. Warner Pacific (Ore.) jumped seven spots from No. 12 to No. 5 with 300 points after winning the Cascade Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.
TROJANS' NAIA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES: Dakota State made their second consecutive trip to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament for the first time in DSU school history. The Trojans recorded their third overall trip to the national tournament. The first appearance was in 1992 as they made a 'Cinderella' magical run to the Final Four (lost to Northwestern, Iowa). DSU returned back to the national tournament in 2012, losing to national tournament's No. 5 seed McPherson (Kan.) 69-63 in overtime. The Trojans are 4-2 overall in the national Tournament.
ABOUT SAINT THOMAS (FLA.): Saint Thomas (Fla.) is a member of The Sun Conference and received at-large bid to the NAIA Division II National Tournament. The Bobcats are 21-11 overall record and 9-7 in the conference. Saint Thomas upset No. 12 seed Mount Mercy (Iowa) in the national tournament's first round by the score of 85-72 on Thursday evening. The Bobcats are ranked No. 21 in the final NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' 'Top 25' national poll. ST made their second straight national tournament appearance where they lost to No. 5 seed McPherson (Kan.) 86-74 in the 'Sweet Sixteen' round last year (defeated Indiana Tech 58-55 in the first round). The Bobcats made to the national tournament five times in their program history and currently are 2-4 overall record at the national tournament. Saint Thomas opened the season with an 11-2 record, but is 10-9 in the last 19 games.
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Tyrone Gordon, Jr. averages 12.8 points per game for the Trojans. He shoots 44 percent from the field. John Lamb is averaging 12.5 points per game. He ranks 13th in the nation in total 3-pointers (86) and 14th in 3-point field goal made per game (2.9). He leads the team with 57 steals (1.9 steals per gameâ€”41st in the nation). John Lamb averages 3.0 assists per game (91 total assists). Yusuf Vinson leads the A.I.I. with 241 rebounds this season (averages 7.8 rebounds per gameâ€”50th in the nation). He is 23rd in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (3.0).
FREE LIVE AUDIO COVERAGE/LIVE STATS: Voice of the Trojan Jim Hockett will be providing a live audio webcast online for DSU's national tournament games in Point Lookout, Mo. Fans can listen to the game on http://streaming.dsu.edu/Athletics-Live. College of the Ozarks will be providing live stats during the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament on http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Tournament/TournamentPage.aspx?association=10&sg=MBB&tour=1051. The links will also be available on the DSU Athletics home page website during game day (under 'Live Games' above the 'Upcoming Events.'
LIVE VIDEO: The NAIA will be providing a live paid video coverage of the national tournament in Point Lookout, Mo. Go to http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=205423235 for more information.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State Trojan men's basketball and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director