Lions Eye Nonconference Sweep Of War Hawks

Courtesy University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Athletics Department

With no less than a share of the Heartland Conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament secured, the UAFS men’s basketball team will close the regular season on Saturday with a nonconference game against the McMurry War Hawks.

Tipoff will be 4:30 p.m. at Kimbrell Arena in Abilene, Texas. Live statistics and webcast will be available.

It will be the second meeting ever between McMurry and UAFS, which beat the War Hawks 66-61 on Dec. 1 at the Stubblefield Center. McMurry is a provisional member of NCAA Division II. It is a member of the Heartland Conference but is ineligible to compete for the conference title or qualify for postseason play because of its provisional status.

UAFS (15-10) will host the two-day, four-team conference tournament on March 8-9 at the Stubblefield Center and will open first-round play at 7:30 p.m. on March 8. The championship game will be at 4 p.m. on March 9.

The Lions, who were the preseason favorites to win the conference, will look to enter the tournament with a win.

UAFS saw its chances to earn the outright conference title diminished somewhat on Thursday night when it was upset 80-62 by St. Edward’s at the Recreation and Convocation Center in Austin, Texas. The Lions can still claim the outright conference title if St. Edward’s upsets Newman on Saturday.

The Lions are averaging 76 points per game with four players averaging double-figures in scoring – junior guard Jake Toupal (13.4), senior forward Djordje Stojanovic (12.5), senior guard Dijon Farr (10.8) and junior guard Corey Copeland (10.1).

UAFS is out-rebounding its opponents by almost five rebounds per game (38.4-34). Stojanovic leads the team with six rebounds per game.

The Lions are allowing 71 points per game and forcing 16 turnovers per game. Junior guard Xavier McClish and Farr lead the team with 32 steals apiece, and Farr leads the team with 14 blocked shots.

McMurry (16-9) is coming off a 72-70 home loss to Newman on Thursday night. The War Hawks are averaging 71 points per game with two players averaging double-figures in scoring – junior forward Kenny Williams (20.1) and senior guard Takoby Jackson (14.2).

The War Hawks are out-rebounding their opponents by almost five rebounds per game (35.5-30.6). Williams leads the team with 7.9 rebounds per game. McMurry is allowing 64 points per game and forcing 16 turnovers per game.

Jackson leads the team with 48 steals, and junior center Alfred Perez leads the team with 20 blocked shots.

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