Photo Courtesy of Sammy Croft
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team has a pair of games on tap this week. LMC will begin the week facing off against Johnson University Thursday night at Williams Gymnasium before taking on Limestone Saturday on the road in a Conference Carolinas clash. Thursday's game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start time, while Saturday's is set to begin at 4 p.m.
Last Time Out: The Bobcats opened their Conference Carolinas schedule with a 93-80 win over Southern Wesleyan on Nov. 28. The victory pushes LMC's record to 5-3 on the season.
Improved Bobcats: Despite having 20 games left on its 2017-18 schedule, the Bobcats have nearly matched their win total from last season (8 wins). Additionally, two of LMC's three losses so far have come against opponents currently ranked in the NABC Coaches Poll in No. 4 Lincoln Memorial and No. 21 Virginia State.
Saintizaire Stat: Junior Jason Saintizaire has been one of the most accurate shooters through the early stages of this season. Saintizaire currently leads all Conference Carolinas players with a 68.3 shooting percentage from the field. On a national level, Saintizaire ranks 11th among all Division II men's basketball players in that category.
Free points for the Bobcats: A major reason for the improved play for the Bobcats this season has been their improved shooting from the free throw line. Last season, LMC shot just 66.4 percent from the line. Comparatively, the Bobcats have boosted their free throw shooting percentage up to 75.2 so far in 2017-18, which is the second-highest percentage among Conference Carolinas institutions.
About the Opponents: Johnson University enters Thursday's game in Banner Elk with a 5-8 record on the season. The Royals have had no issues offensively this season as they are averaging 93.5 points per contest. Pacing these scoring efforts has been the duo of Deion Clark and Kenny White who are averaging 22.9 and 18.8 points per game, respectively.
Limestone currently boasts a record of 5-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play. The Saints have fared much better at home than on the road as they have a record of 4-1 in games played in Gaffney. The Saints have a balanced offensive squad with four players averaging double figures. Kenny Hairston leads all Saint scorers averaging 19.4 points per contest.
Series Histories vs. Opponents: Thursday's game will be the first ever meeting between Lees-McRae and Johnson University. As for Limestone, LMC has a record of 7-19 against the Saints since 2006. Limestone has won the last four meetings between the two programs with LMC's last win in the series coming on Jan. 13, 2016 in Banner Elk, 85-79.