Thursday, December 16, 2010

Men’s Basketball Heads South for Grand Canyon Holiday Tournament

BILLINGS, Mont. – Looking to put a stop to their current five game skid, the Montana State Billings men’s basketball team heads south to play a pair of non-conference games at the Grand Canyon Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., playing defending national champion Cal Poly Pomona on Friday, and tournament host Grand Canyon Saturday night.

The Yellowjackets enter the weekend with a 1-6 record overall, coming off a disappointing 73-69 overtime loss to Dixie State College at home on Dec. 11.

The Jackets trailed by as many as 14 in that game, but found a way to take the lead late and force overtime. A 0-for-6 overtime period and just one point from a free throw doomed the Jackets in the extra frame.

Raason Young led the Jackets with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Tyler Barnes grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, scoring 10 points. Senior DeAndre Chambers and junior Robert Mayes each had 12 points and combined for nine boards.

Chambers, Young and Mayes are all scoring in double figures for the Jackets this season. Chambers leads the team with 16.1 points per game, while Young and Mayes are scoring 15.7 and 12.4 per contest, respectively. Mayes is also the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 8.3 boards per game.

The Yellowjackets are shooting 46.4 percent from the field and just 33.8 percent from beyond the arc. Free throw shooting has been a handicap this season, knocking down just 65.8 percent of their shots from the charity stripe. The Jackets are outrebounding teams 2.6 per game and are scoring 75.1 points per game, while opponents are scoring 79.0 per game.

Cal Poly Pomona and the Yellowjackets tip-off on Friday afternoon in the tournaments opening game at 4 p.m.  The Broncos enter the tournament ranked No.15 in the latest National Basketball Coaches Association national poll. Pomona is just 2-2 to start the season and have already dropped a pair of CCAA conference games after winning the national title a year ago.

The Broncos are coming off a 102-45 victory over American Sports College Dec. 11. Kevin Menner had a team-high 26 points and seven boards in the win.

Menner is the team’s leading scorer this season, averaging 14.3 points per game, while Tobias Jahn leads the team in rebounding, averaging 7.8 per contest. Jahn and Mitchel Anderson are averaging double digit points, 10.8 and 12.3 per contest, respectively.

Pomona is shooting 51.9 percent in their four games, holding opponents to just 32.5 percent shooting from the field. The Broncos are shooting 30.0 percent from deep and are only 58.2 percent from the free throw line.

The Yellowjackets lead the all-time series against the Broncos, going 2-1 in their three previous meetings. Pomona won the last meeting 82-66 at home on Dec. 30, 2002.

Saturday night the Yellowjackets will then take on Grand Canyon University in the final game of the tournament, tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Antelopes enter the tournament with a 2-5 record overall and have dropped their last four, three of those have been against GNAC opponents (Seattle Pacific twice and Central Washington). GCU hasn’t won since defeating St. Cloud State 71-65 on Nov. 20.

Grand Canyon is led by Kyle Speed who is the only player scoring in double figures on the season. Speed is averaging 10.0 points per game and has 2.7 rebounds per contest. The team’s leading rebounder is Justin Wesolowski, averaging 5.4 rebounds per game.

The Antelopes are shooting 42.3 percent on the season and are shooting just 38.1 percent behind the arc. Opponents are out re-bounding the Lopes by near six rebounds per game and are outscoring GCU by 5.6 per game.

Grand Canyon leads the overall series with a 6-3 record against the Yellowjackets. The last meeting between the two teams came in a 108-84 victory for the Jackets at home Nov. 25, 1994.

Live stats will be available for both games at: http://www.sidearmstats.com/gcu/mbball/index.htm, while a webstream will be available for Saturday’s game via the Grand Canyon website at: http://www.b2livetv.com/partner_members.asp?id=78.

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