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|Feb. 11, 2017|
|New Orleans, LA|
|Talladega (Ala.)||Indv. Leaders||Dillard University|
|#25 Tauron Bailey - 19||Points||#12 James Morris Jr. - 27|
|#12 Amadius Der-weer - 8||Rebounds||#12 James Morris Jr. - 5|
|#2 Jordan Washington - 9||Assists||#2 Dennis Hightower - 10|
|Talladega (Ala.)||Team Statistics||Dillard University|
|41.8% (28 - 67)||Field Goals %||55.6% (35 - 63)|
|33.3% (9 - 27)||3 Point Field Goals %||64.3% (18 - 28)|
|73.3% (11 - 15)||Free Throws||87% (20 - 23)|
|11||2nd Chance Pts||10|
(New Orleans, La.) In the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' (NAIA) Men's Basketball Game of the Week, the #11 Dillard Bleu Devils absolutely dismantled the #16 Talladega Tornadoes and completed the season sweep with a 108-76 blowout win at the Battlefield in Dent Hall. With the victory, the Dillard men's basketball team clinches the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular season title for the first time since 2001 as it wins its 11th straight game.
"When I first took the job, and after we put our team together in 2015, in our first meeting we starting planning to compete on a national level, so when you talk about that every day, people start to buy in and believe," said Bleu Devils head coach Mike Newell. "I coach because I love to compete, and I love to win. What's better than winning?"
The Bleu Devils (19-5, 9-0 GCAC) were led by junior transfer James Morris Jr. (JR/Peoria, Ill.) who scored a game-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field, including 7-of-10 from downtown. In conference play, Morris has hit 31 three-pointers, good for number one in the GCAC.
"Our ultimate goal is always to win a national championship," said Morris. "The fact that Dillard was not known for its shooting last year makes me hitting shots that much more important. Repetition is key. Scoring comes natural to me. It's kind of easy."
NAIA All-American Demetric Austin (SR/Washington, D.C.) had a solid output, scoring 24 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. Austin only missed one shot in the first half and nailed all six of his free throw attempts for the game while teammate Jalen McGaughy (JR/Ann Arbor, Mich.) finished with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 5-of-8 from three-point land. McGaughy ranks first in the NAIA in 3-point field goal shooting percentage and third in the nation in blocks per game. In this game he added two blocks to his season total while point guard Dennis Hightower (SR/Daniville, Ill.), who ranks second in the nation in assists per game, finished with a game-high 10 assists in the win.
The Bleu Devils have not just been beating teams; instead, they have been crushing teams in nearly each and every game during its long win streak, but Coach Newell vows to not let his team get overconfident.
"That's the one thing we will discuss once we get to Little Rock tomorrow," said Newell. "We will not exhale. When you exhale, you get soft. And we will continue to press on and we will execute. We want to get at least a top eight seed in the national tournament, and hopefully even a top four seed. The new NAIA rankings come out on Tuesday and we expect to be in the top 10."
Talladega's Tauron Baily finished with a team-high 19 points and also grabbed seven rebounds while teammate and NAIA All-American Jordan Washington, the nation's second leading scorer, was held to just 13 points and shot a dismal 1-for-7 from behind the arc.
As a team Dillard finished with 30 assists on 35 made baskets and hit a total of 18 3-pointers in the game.
The men return to action on Monday, February 13 as they travel to Little Rock to face the conference's second place team in Philander Smith College in GCAC action. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.