CENTRAL – Southern Wesleyan men’s basketball opened play in the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday after receiving into the quarterfinals. The Warriors entered as the three seed out of the East and will play Belhaven, the two seed from the West.
The 2014 SSAC Tournament is being hosted at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. The Warriors and Blazers will be the second men’s game and fourth game overall on Thursday with a scheduled tip time of 2 p.m. central, 3 p.m. eastern.
The Warriors wrapped up their regular season on Saturday with a 71-65 win over Southern Poly State. SWU finished with a 16-13 overall record in the regular season and a 10-8 mark in league play. They finished in a tie for second in the East with Faulkner but the Eagles hold the tiebreaker after winning both meetings with the Warriors.
On Thursday SWU will get a rematch with the Blazers, a team they lost to at home back on January 10 by a score of 90-78. In that game Belhaven was lights out from the floor, knocking down 58 percent of their shots from the floor. Jonathan Ratliff led all scorers with 21 points. Cameron Solomon led the Warriors with 20 points but had 10 turnovers in the game.
SWU shot 47 percent from the floor but just 4 for 19 from beyond the arc. The Warriors dominated on the glass, pulling in 39 rebounds to just 26 for Belhaven. In fact the Warriors had 21 offensive rebounds and managed 28 second-chance points. The Blazers were opportunistic, turning 17 SWU turnovers into 20 points.
Belhaven closed out the regular season with a 16-13 overall record but posted an impressive 14-6 mark in league play, two of those losses to top seed William Carey who is ranked third in the NAIA. The Blazers are receiving votes in the final NAIA poll of the regular season.
Thursday’s quarterfinal winner will advance to Friday’s first semifinal where they will face the winner of Emmanuel/Coastal Georgia-Bethel at 4 p.m. central, 5 p.m. eastern.
Fans can follow the action for all games at the tournament with live stats and live video. Live stats can be found through Dakstats.