FORT SMITH, Ark. – UAFS finished the 2017 portion of its schedule with an impressive road win against the University of Arkansas-Monticello on Saturday, and the nationally-ranked Lions will look to keep their unbeaten streak alive on Thursday when they begin the 2018 portion of their schedule against Heartland Conference foe Oklahoma Christian.
Tipoff will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Eagles Nest in Oklahoma City. Live statistics and live stream will be available, and the game will be broadcast on KHGG-AM 1580 and KHGG-FM 101.1.
UAFS (13-0, 2-0) is off to the best start of its NCAA Division II era, and the Lions are ranked No. 4 in the latest D2SIDA Top 25 and No. 9 in the latest NABC Division II Top 25. The Lions are coming off a 90-84 nonconference win against UAM, which is tied for fifth in the Great American Conference.
The Lions are one of three conference teams still undefeated in league play. UAFS owns league wins against Rogers State and Lubbock Christian. No. 17 Dallas Baptist (11-1, 2-0) has wins against Lubbock Christian and Texas A&M International, and Newman (5-7, 2-0) has wins against St. Edward’s and Oklahoma Christian.
UAFS averages 86 points per game with four players averaging double-figures in scoring – senior guard Darrion Strong-Moore (16), senior guard DaVaunta Thomas (13), senior guard Ladarius Coleman (12.3) and sophomore guard Kyree Elder (10.4). Junior guard Chris Crawford leads the team in assists per game (three).
The Lions out-rebound their opponents by almost eight rebounds per game (41.2-33.4). Coleman leads the team in rebounds per game (7.9) and is one of five players averaging four or more rebounds per game.
UAFS allows 72 points per game and forces 16 turnovers per game. Coleman leads the team in steals per game (1.3), and Thomas and senior forward Brett Jolly lead the team in blocked shots per game (0.6).
Oklahoma Christian (4-8, 0-1) lost to Newman 83-82 at home in its conference opener on Dec. 2. The Eagles have won two of their past three games and are coming off a 92-89 overtime win against Southeastern Oklahoma State on Saturday at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant, Okla.
The Eagles average 77 points per game with three players averaging double-figures in scoring – senior guard Elijah Strickland (19.3), junior forward Roderick Smith (14.3) and junior guard Jordan Box (12.5). Strickland leads the team in assists per game (two).
Oklahoma Christian out-rebounds its opponents by more than two rebounds per game (37.7-35.6). Smith leads the team in rebounds per game (7.9) and is one of three players averaging three or more rebounds per game.
The Eagles allow 78 points per game and force 15 turnovers per game. Box leads the team in steals per game (1.5), and junior forward Will Lienhard leads the team in blocked shots per game (2.6).