Friday, December 2, 2016

Lincoln Men Ready for the Show Me State Classic

Game #8: 
Harris Stowe (2-5*)  vs. Lincoln (5-2)
Date: Saturday, December 3, 2016
3:00 p.m. CST
Hyland Arena (3,000) in St. Charles, Mo.
General Admission - $10
Live Stats:
* - Harris Stowe Plays on Dec. 1

THE TIP OFF:  The Blue Tigers will be back at a neutral site this Saturday (Dec. 3) as the Lincoln men's basketball team plays Harris Stowe at 3:00 p.m. CST. The game will be played at Hyland Arena on Lindenwood University's campus in St. Charles, Mo., and will be LU's final non-conference test before the Blue Tigers open MIAA play at home next week. The game will be part of the Show Me State Classic, with Lincoln's women's team playing the Hornets beforehand at 1:00 p.m. CST. For both games of the double-header, Lincoln will be the home team.

- This will be the 21st meeting between Harris Stowe and Lincoln, the only two HBCUs in Missouri, in a series that dates back to 1980. The Blue Tigers have a 19-1 lead in the series, with Harris Stowe's lone win coming in the inaugural Show Me State Classic last season.

- Lincoln is 3-0 in neutral site contests this season and has a 5-1 record in such games over the past two years. The lone loss came in the quarterfinals of the MIAA tourney in Kansas City last year. 

- Lincoln is 5-2 on the season, marking its third-best start to a campaign through seven games. LU started the 1984-85 season 7-0 and went 6-1 to open the 2000-01 campaign.

- This marks the first 5-2 start to a season for Lincoln since 1981-82.

PREVIEWING THE BLUE TIGERS:  Jaylon Smith is one of the best all-around players in the MIAA, averaging 25.0 points and 8.9 rebounds with three double-doubles on the year. Anthony Virdure is averaging 19.9 points and 3.9 assists while Richie Lewisand Maurice Mason are each averaging 8.6 points.

HEAD COACH JOHN MOSELEY:  In his third year as the head coach of Lincoln, Moseley is the first coach to take LU to the postseason since 1986-87. Last season, Moseley led Lincoln to its first winning campaign since 2001-02 and its most league wins since 1980-81. Moseley has coached three All-MIAA honorees, including a second team selection in Anthony Virdure.

Every player who dressed for Lincoln scored at least two points and grabbed at least two rebounds as the Blue Tigers rolled to a 105-55 win over Robert Morris-Springfield this past Tuesday (Nov. 29). Anthony Virdure led LU with 18 points and seven assists while Jaylon Smith scored 17. Maurice Mason dropped six dimes and scored 12 points. Darrius Spencerand Tacourrus Mattox each added 11 points while Chase Morfeld provided 10 points.

SCOUTING THE HORNETS:  Jalen Fletcher has a team-best 20.8 scoring average and leads the Hornets in rebounding with 7.3 per contest. Also atop the scoring chart for HSSU are Michael Gregg (10.5 ppg.) and Tyrone Alston (10.3), with Malik Wineglass next at nine points per night. Julian Clarkson leads Harris Stowe in both steals (14) and assists (29).

HSSU HEAD COACH BRION DUNLAP:  An 18-year coaching veteran, Dunlap is in his first year as the head coach of the Hornets. Before coming to Harris Stowe, Dunlap spent five seasons as an assistant at Holy Cross, helping the Crusaders win their first postseason game since 2005. He also has coached at Mount St. Mary's and at the high school level.

Jaylon Smith has been dominant through the non-conference schedule, as he leads LU with 25.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Smith currently ranks among the top-10 in the MIAA in seven categories, including first in scoring and third in rebounding. Smith additionally ranks fourth in steals (2.0) and third in defensive rebounds (6.7).

LU has another dominant scorer in Anthony Virdure, an all-conference second team honoree last season who is averaging 19.6 points per night. Virdure has reached double figures in six of Lincoln's seven games and has reached the 20-point plateau four times.

SCORE!:  Scoring has not been a problem for LU, which is third in the MIAA with 84.4 points per contest this year. Lincoln's +13 scoring margin is the third-best in the league, and has been aided by some hot shooting; the Blue Tigers are second in field goal percentage (.497). 

Rod Ollison got the season off to a very hot start, making all four of his shots against Mary before going 8-for-9 from the floor against Minnesota-Crookston. Ollison leads the team with a .677 field goal percentage and is fifth among the Blue Tigers with 6.3 points per game.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME:  Lincoln created a dominant home court advantage last season, as the Blue Tigers went 12-2 in Jason Gym. That total included beating Emporia State in the first round of the MIAA tournament as well as a win over No. 25 Northwest Missouri.

BALL CONTROL:  Lincoln excelled in taking care of the ball last year, as LU entered the post season ranked 17th in Division II in turnover margin (+3.5). Lincoln also was 30th nationally in fewest turnovers per game (11.2) and 74th in DII in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2). The Blue Tigers have been just as good this year, winning the turnover margin in six of their first seven games.

Jaylon Smith, who averaged just 4.2 rebounds last year, leads the Blue Tigers with 8.9 rebounds per night this season. Smith grabbed at least nine boards in each of the first six games and has posted a double-double in three of LU's seven contests. Smith currently ranks 48th in NCAA Division II in total rebounds (62) and 53rd in the country in defensive rebounds (6.7).

NATIONAL LEADER:  In addition to his rebound totals, Jaylon Smith is currently seventh in Division II in points per game (25.0), second in total field goals made (67) and eighth in total three-pointers made (26). Smith additionally ranks seventh in total points (175), 21st in double-doubles (three) and 20th in treys made per game (3.7).

BAND OF THIEVES:  Lincoln once again is one of the best teams in creating turnovers in the country, as LU ranks first in the MIAA and 34th nationally with 9.3 steals per game. Lincoln's 65 total steals are the 23rd-most in NCAA Division II. Richie Lewis, who led the MIAA in steals last year, is 14th nationally with 17 total takeaways.

D-D-D-DEFENSE:  A big factor in Lincoln's 5-2 start has been its play defensively. The Blue Tigers have held all seven opponents to under .500 shooting, and have had a better field goal percentage in all but one contest. Lincoln, which is fourth in the MIAA in field goal defense (.413), has also out-rebounded its opponent five times.

Lincoln is heading into the 12th month of the year hoping for a repeat of 2015. Last year, LU went 5-1 during December, including beating Northwest Missouri, which was nationally ranked. As a result of Lincoln's stellar play, the 2015-16 Blue Tigers were named the HERO Sports Division II Team of the Month.

You can reserve your seats for all of Lincoln's home games today! Reserved seats cost $100 and include admission to all of LU's regular season home games. To purchase your seats, visit

Lincoln fans can get everything they need for the game at, the official online store for LU athletics. Everything from jerseys to office supplies can be found on the site, with a portion of all sales going to benefit Lincoln athletics.

NEXT UP:  Lincoln opens MIAA play at home on Thursday (Dec. 8) as LU hosts Missouri Southern for a 7:30 p.m. CST contest.

Dan Carr, Assistant AD for Media Relations

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