GAME DAY: (8) Stillman vs (9) Saint Francis

Men’s Basketball – Thu, Mar. 18, 2021

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – For only the second time in program history, and first time as an NAIA member, Stillman College men’s basketball is playing in a national tournament round of 16. No. 8 seed Stillman College will meet No. 9 Saint Francis University (Ind.) in the first game of the NAIA Final Site in the 83rd annual NAIA Men’s Basketball Championships Round of 16. Tip off is Thursday, March 18 at 2 p.m. in Municipal Auditorium. 

 

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Stillman College does not face teams from Indiana often, but met Indiana University Southeast in the first round of the 2018 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship. This will be the first-ever meeting between Stillman (17-3) and Saint Francis (25-8). This is not only the first meeting between the two teams, but Stillman has never played a team from the Crossroads League and Saint Francis has never played a Southern States Athletic Conference foe. The winner will meet either No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan University or No. 16 Bethel (Ind.) in the NAIA quarterfinals Saturday. 

“Saint Francis does a good job sharing the ball. Those guys do a good job of getting in the lane and getting their shooters the basketball. They’re a tough team and sound defensively, so we’re going to have to be sound on offense to match them. They have some great players that play hard, and they shoot the lights out. I look forward to seeing how our guys respond to that,” said Stillman head coach John Teasley

Saint Francis leads the nation in total made 3-pointers (352), averaging 10.667 per game on 38.9% shooting, but Stillman carries the second-best 3-point shooting defense among NAIA Final Site teams, holding opponents to 30.8% beyond the arc. Both teams are used to scoring more than 80 points per game and winning games by more than nine points each. However, Stillman is holding opponents to 71.60 points per game, seventh best among the final 16 teams, while Saint Francis is allowing 74.7 points per game. 

SSAC Co-Player of the Year Trey Petty leads Stillman with 18.65 points per game on 50.6% shooting, 6.90 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game. He is the sixth-highest scorer among players in the tournament. Devin Merriweather‘s 5.24 assists per game leads all players at the NAIA Final Site. Ladarius Carter enters the tournament averaging 13 points per game, including 15.25 points and 4.25 3-pointers in the postseason. Roger Davis leads the Tigers with 1.47 blocks per game, fourth among NAIA Final Site players.

With 33 games played, Saint Francis players lead or rank in the Top 10 for several total stats categories in the NAIA. Four Cougars average more than 11 points per game, led by Antwaan Cushingberry’s 17.6 points and 5.15 assists per game. David Ejah followed with 15.8 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. Jalan Mull averages 13.4 points on 50.4% shooting, while the Cougars’ leading 3-point shooter Dan McKeeman averages 2.8 3-pointers a game for 94 total, which ranks second in the NAIA. 

Stillman is in its seventh national tournament and fourth-straight in the NAIA. The Tigers are appearing in their first NAIA Round of 16 and the second in program history, having reached the NCAA DII South Region finals in 2011. Stillman recorded its first win in the NAIA Tournament on March 13, a 72-64 win over Keiser University, and is 1-2 all-time in NAIA national postseason. The Tigers’ only previous trip to Kansas City was the 2019 NAIA DI Tournament and were scheduled to meet Westmont (Calif.) in the 2020 tournament before it was canceled.    

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STILLMAN COLLEGE TIGERS (17-3)
Last 10 Games: 8-2
Streak: W1

Team Stats NAIA Rankings
#7 Offensive Rebounds per Game: 14.1
#13 3-point FG%: .391
#19 3-point FG% Defense: .308
#21 Rebounds per Game: 41.250
#25 Rebound Margin: 6.650
#29 FG% Defense: .418

Individual Stats NAIA Rankings
 #17 Assists per game – Devin Merriweather (5.235)  
#22 3-point FG Made per game – Ladarius Carter (3.2)
#34 Blocks per Game – Roger Davis (1.444)
#32 Offensive Rebounds per Game – Trey Petty (2.85)
#40 3-point FG Made per game – Trey Petty (2.95)
#45 3-point FG% – Trey Petty (.457)

2021 Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Results
2/25/21: W, Brewton-Parker, 85-52
2/26/21: W, No. 16 Loyola, 63-62
2/27/21: L, No. 7 Faulkner, 67-64 (Championship)

NAIA History (1-2)
2021 – W, Keiser, 72-64 (Round of 32)
2020 – Westmont (Calif.), No Contest, COVID
2019 – L, No. 25 Oklahoma City, 101-84
2018 – L, No. 15 Indiana Southeast, 84-66 (NAIA DII)

NCAA DII Tournament History (3-3)
2016 (1-1)

W, West Georgia, 85-79
L, Alabama-Huntsville, 81-71 (Round of 32)

2011 (2-1)
W, Harding, 87-86 OT
W, Florida Southern, 92-86
L, Alabama-Huntsville, 86-81 (Regional Final, Round of 16)

2006 (0-1)
L, Delta State, 76-70

SAINT FRANCIS COUGARS (25-8)

Last 10 Games: 8-2
Streak:  W1

Team Stats NAIA Rankings
#1 Total 3-Pt FG Made: 352
#2 Total Assists: 550
#3 Total Points: 2,786
#4 Assist/Turnover Ratio: 1.580
#6 Total Steals: 248

Individual Stats NAIA Rankings
#1 Total Assists – Antwaan Cushingberry (170)
#2 Total 3-Pt FG Made – Dan McKeeman (94)
#3 Total Rebounds – David Ejah (303)
#4 Total Steals – Jalan Mull (63)
#7 Total Points – Antwaan Cushingberry (580)
#7 Total Assists – Jalan Mull (148)
#10 Total Steals – Antwaan Cushingberry (56)

2021 Crossroads League Tournament Results
2/24/21: W, Grace (Ind.), 90-74
2/27/21: W, Indiana Wesleyan, 106-79
3/02/21: L, Marian (Ind.), 86-71 (Championship)

SFU NAIA History (25-10)
– Saint Franics is making its 12th NAIA Tournament Appearance.
– Won the 2010 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament and was runner-up in 2011, 2016, and 2018.
– Has advanced to the NAIA Quarterfinals seven times.

 

Men’s Basketball, Stillman College