THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University men's basketball team (22-9 overall record) continues their postseason run in the 32-team NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament Thursday night. The Trojans takes on the national No. 5 seed Warner Pacific (Ore.) (27-6) in the last game of the first round at 9:15 p.m. The national tournament is played at the Keeter Gymnasium, hosted by the College of the Ozarks, in Point Lookout, Mo.
DSU VS. TEAMS IN NATIONAL TOURNAMENT: Dakota State is 6-6 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 3-4 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 22nd victory on Feb. 24 as they defeated Jamestown (N.D.) in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament's championship game. 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 will be making their second consecutive trip to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament for the first time in DSU school history. The Trojans will be making 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 3-2 overall in the national Tournament.
ABOUT WARNER PACIFIC (ORE.): Warner Pacific is a member of the Cascade Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Knights are 27-6 overall record and 15-3 in the conference. Warner Pacific won the conference tournament, defeating Corban (Ore.), Northwest (Wash.) and Southern Oregon. WP will be making their eighth straight appearances since 2006 and are 4-7 overall in the national tournament. The Knights won in overtime thriller over Indiana Wesleyan in the first round, but dropped a 77-70 contest to Dordt (Iowa) in the 'Sweet Sixteen' last season. Warner Pacific is coached by Jared Valentine, his second year at the school, and had won the last nine games.
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Tyrone Gordon, Jr. averages 13.3 points per game for the Trojans. He shoots 44.4 percent from the field. John Lamb is averaging 12.1 points per game. He ranks 16th in the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (2.7) and 20th in total 3-pointers made (80). He leads the team with 55 steals (1.9 steals per gameâ€”43rd in the nation). John Lamb averages 3.0 assists per game (87 total assists). Yusuf Vinson leads the A.I.I. with 236 rebounds this season (averages 7.9 rebounds per gameâ€”47th in the nation).
LIVE AUDIO COVERAGE: Voice of the Trojan Jim Hockett will be providing a live audio webcast online for DSU's national tournament games in Branson, 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 (www.dsuathletics.com) 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