Photo Courtesy of Sammy Croft
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College men's basketball team will have a challenging start to 2018 this week as it embarks on a three-game road swing against Conference Carolinas foes. LMC will start the week with a matchup at North Greenville Tuesday before heading east to take on Barton and Mount Olive Friday and Saturday. All three games are slated for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Last Time Out: The Bobcats closed out 2017 with a 105-99 victory over Anderson University last Saturday at Williams Gymnasium. The victory boosted LMC's record to 7-4 on the season.
No Shortage in Scoring: Lees-McRae has had no issues in putting points on the scoreboard this season. LMC is one of just 15 Division II programs in the nation to average over 90 points per game in 2017-18. The Bobcats are averaging 90.2 points per game and only nationally-ranked Lincoln Memorial has a higher scoring average in the southeast region than LMC (96.0 points per game).
Finishing Free Throws: One major reason for LMC's heightened offensive numbers this season can be traced to its improvement in shooting free throws. Lees-McRae has improved its shooting percentage by over 10 full percentage points from 66.4 to 76.6 from the line.
Sharing the Ball Stat: A number to keep in mind for Lees-McRae this week is 10. When the Bobcats accumulate more than 10 assists in a game this season, they are a perfect 5-0 compared 2-4 when they finish below that mark.
About the Opponents: NGU is in the middle of a six-game losing skid coming into Tuesday's game against LMC. Overall, the Crusaders are 3-7 and 0-3 in conference games. Roderick Howell has been one of the top players so far as he ranks in the top 10 in field goal percentage (5th – 55.2) and rebounding average (10th – 7.3) among Conference Carolinas players.
Barton sits atop the league standings entering the new year with a 3-0 mark in league games. The Bulldogs boast one of the conference's most balanced offenses with four players averaging over 10 points per game. Leading this group is Michael Boykin with an average of 14.5 points per contest.
Like Barton, Mount Olive is 3-0 in conference play this season and is 7-5 overall. UMO has been a very efficient team from three-point range shooting at 41.1 percent clip. The Trojans have four players shooting 40 percent or better from three.
Series History vs. Opponents: Lees-McRae is 9-7 since 2005 against NGU, while posting 4-19 and 6-19 marks against Barton and Mount Olive, respectively. Against these three programs, LMC went 4-2 last season.