After two weeks off for the holidays the East Central University men’s basketball team will return to Wayne Cobb Court at the Kerr Activities Center to battle with Arkansas-Monticello, Thursday, Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
ECU’s radio home for Tigers basketball in 2012-13 is Ada’s KXFC, 105.5, FM ‘The X-Factor’. Kenny Morrison returns to broadcast the games for his 15th consecutive season. Morrison, a 1987 ECU graduate, spent two seasons doing color prior to taking over the play-by-play duties during the 1997-98 season.
The Boll Weevils are 6-4 overall and 1-3 in Great American Conference action after earning wins in their last two outings. UAM’s last action was a, 79-71, win over Southwest Baptist, Dec. 17.
The Boll Weevils have one key player to watch out for, who accounts for 31 percent of the team’s scoring, shots taken and 42 percent of the triples taken. Kori Forge has garnered 22.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game so far in 2012-13 and is shooting .426 (75-of-176) from the field and .366 (34-of-93) from beyond the arc. He also adds 37 assists and 18 steals.
UAM has three more players with eight points per game, who combined with Forge account for 67 percent of the team’s points.
The Boll Weevils have out-scored their opponents by 9.2 points per game this season, while also adding a +4.4 rebounding advantage. As a team they are hitting .457 of their overall shots to a .424 mark by the opposition. However, they are not fairing as well from three-point range with a .308 to .337 mark.
Against the Boll Weevils
Last season UAM earned wins in both conference meetings by an average of +10 points. The key difference in the games came beyond the arc. The Boll Weevils hit 50 percent (19-of-38) of their triples, while ECU made just 37.1 percent (13-of-35).
Matthew Harding saw action for ECU as they only returner, averaging 1.5 points per game.
The key returner for UAM is Kori Forge, who tallied 22.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while shooting .588 from the field.
Last season’s meetings are the only two in the all-time series.
The Tigers have seen very consistent play from junior Colby Carr. Through the last eight games, the New Orleans, La., native has tallied double-digits in the scoring column and has shot over 40 percent from the field.
In the last game against Newman, Carr also recorded his second double-double of the season, with 15 points and a career-best 13 rebounds.
After having a career night against Harding and performing well in the next few games, freshman Marquis Walters earned his first career start against Newman and made an immediate impact in the game. The Ardmore, Okla., native set career highs of points (19), rebounds (6), assists (5), steals (2), field goals (5) and free-throws (7).
ECU is making strong progress this season after finishing 5-21 in 2011-12. So far in 2012-13 the Tigers are 4-6 overall and one win away from last year’s total. ECU also finished the non-conference season 3-3 overall, compared to 3-7 in 2011-12. The win over Newman also tied the road wins from last season (1).
Carr’s Career Numbers
Junior Colby Carr had a career day for the Tigers against Langston, recording his first career double-double. The New Orleans, La., native tallied career highs of 15 points and 11 rebounds for the second double-double of the season for an ECU player.
Williams All-Tourney Honors
Junior Jason Williams led the Tigers in both games at the Taco Bell Texans Tip-Off Classic and was rewarded with All-Tournament honors. Williams tallied 22 points and 12 boards, while shooting .700 (7-of-10) from the field and .615 (8-of-13) from the charity stripe in the two-game tournament.
Junior Gregory Ardister made an immediate impact in his first game for the Tigers, earning a double-double on 10 points and 10 rebounds in the, 73-54, win over St. Gregory’s (Nov. 10). The double-double was the first for an ECU player since Jan. 21, 2012 when Darnell Davis tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds at Arkansas-Monticello. In 2011-12 the Tigers recorded just six double-doubles as a team.
GAC Preseason Poll
The Tigers were picked to finish ninth in the Great American Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
The Tigers earned 13 points in the poll. Arkansas Tech earned the top spot in the poll with 63 points and seven first-place votes. Southwestern Oklahoma State was second (51/1) and Henderson State was third (46/1), rounding out the teams receiving first-place votes. Ouachita Baptist finished fourth (42), Harding fifth (41), Southeastern Oklahoma State sixth (31), Arkansas-Monticello seventh (23) and Southern Arkansas eighth (14). Northwestern Oklahoma State and Southern Nazarene were not included on the preseason ballot due to their provisional membership in the conference. However, games played against the two schools will count as GAC games this season.
New Season/New Beginning
After a 2011-12 season where ECU finished 5-21 overall and 2-14 in GAC play, the 2012-13 season will be a season of new beginnings. The head coach will be familiar, but the student-athletes on the court will have a new look, as the Tigers return one player from 2011-12 and will have 15 new players on the court.
Second-year head coach Mac McConnell is looking to turn the program around and get it back to winning. Only this season he had the opportunity to pick his own players and will be able to mold the group into his style of play.
The Tigers will wrap up a two-game home stand against Southern Arkansas, Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4 p.m. at the Kerr Activities Center before starting a three-game road swing.