UAFS Lions Open New Year With Conference Encounter

Courtesy UAFS Athletics Department

After a two-week layoff, the UAFS men’s basketball team will return to action on Thursday with a tough Heartland Conference road game.

The Lions, who haven’t played since Dec. 19, will play the Dallas Baptist Patriots at 7 p.m. at The Burg Center in Dallas. Live stats and webcast will be available by visiting the UAFS athletic website (www.uafortsmithlions.com).

It will be the seventh meeting in the all-time series, which is tied at three games apiece. UAFS won the last encounter against Dallas Baptist, a 76-67 victory at The Burg Center on Feb. 23 of last season.

It will be the second conference game of the season for UAFS (5-5, 1-0), which beat St. Edward’s 67-54 in the league opener on Nov. 29 at the Stubblefield Center. The Lions were the preseason favorites to win the conference title.

UAFS is coming off a pair of consecutive losses in the Las Vegas Challenge at The Orleans Arena on Dec. 18-19. The Lions lost to Pittsburg State 84-76 and lost to the University of Central Missouri 77-74.

UAFS is averaging 77 points per game with three players averaging double-figures in scoring – senior forward Djordje Stojanovic (12.4), junior guard Corey Copeland (12.2) and junior guard Jake Toupal (11.5).

The Lions are out-rebounding their opponents by almost 7 rebounds per game (42.9-36.1). Junior forward Bo Franklin leads the team with 5.6 rebounds per game.

UAFS is allowing 71 points per game and forcing 16 turnovers per game. Toupal leads the team with 14 steal and is one of three players with double-digit steals. Franklin leads the team with 10 blocks.

After opening the season 1-4, Dallas Baptist has won four of its past five games and is coming off a 73-66 nonconference road win against Southwestern College on Saturday. The Patriots (5-5, 2-0) are one of four unbeaten conference teams. The Patriots have league wins against Oklahoma Panhandle State (94-91) and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (69-64).

The Patriots are averaging 79 points per game with three players averaging double-figures in scoring – senior forward Nick Fox (21.3), senior guard Jordan Kirschke (10.8) and freshman guard Jonathan Perry (10.7). Dallas Baptist is out-rebounding their opponents by more than 3 rebounds per game (32.9-29.8). Fox leads the team with 9 rebounds per game.

Dallas Baptist is allowing 80 points per game and forcing more than 12 turnovers per game. Junior guard Cory Carden leads the team with 9 steals, and Perry and freshman guard Charles Allen lead the team with 4 blocks.

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