GAME 20: MARYGROVE (1-18; 0-11 WHAC) vs. #6 CORNERSTONE (16-3; 10-1 WHAC)
Saturday, January 18 | 3 p.m.
Northwest Activities Center | Detroit, Mich.
Live Stats: Mustang Sports Network – marygrovemustangs.com/live
Live Audio: Mustang Sports Network – marygrovemustangs.com/live (Jeremy Otto, play-by-play)
Marygrove Men's Basketball – Game 20
GAME PREVIEW & NOTES
The Mustangs have never defeated the Golden Eagles in a series that dates back to the 2004-05 campaign. Cornerstone has won all eight meetings between the teams -- including a 3-0 mark since the Mustangs joined the WHAC in July 2012. The Mustangs came close to knocking off Cornerstone on Dec. 11, 2010 in a thrilling 75-70 Golden Eagle win at Detroit Jesuit High School. The Mustangs were led by former USCAA All-American Justin McKinney with 10 rebounds, seven points, and five assists. Cornerstone went on to win the NAIA D2 National Championship that season.
THE LAST TIME THEY PLAYED
Cornerstone hosted Marygrove for each team's fourth conference contest of the season on Nov. 23. Receiving votes nationally at the time, CU picked up the 99-52 win over the Mustangs behind 18 points from Cory Cox and seven rebounds from Ben Lanning. The Mustangs were led by Diante Taylor with 15 points.
The Golden Eagles enter Saturday's matchup perched atop the WHAC standings at 10-1 (16-3 overall). CU is led by one of the WHAC's top scoring threats in Wes Hudson (19 ppg). Hudson is joined in double figures scoring by Ben Lanning (14.4) and Jake Plite (11.3). Lanning and Plite pull down seven rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles. As a team, Cornerstone ranks in the NAIA's Top 50 in 23 categories, and chime in at eighth nationally in field goal percentage defense and total steals.
MUSTANGS CAN COUNTER
The Mustangs pack more of a punch offensively with the recent returns of JuJuan Armstrong and Darryll Dixon. Since their return, the Mustangs have moved the ball better offensively en route to picking up their lone win of the campaign on Dec. 31 (BC-Okanagan, 76-62). Dixon averages 15.8 ppg, while Armstrong chimes in at 8.8 per game. Diante Taylor paces the team at 17.1 ppg.
"Answering the other team's run will be key for us Saturday," said first year head coach Covington. "We know Cornerstone will make their run, we simply have to keep playing the game and not let those runs hurt us. We haven't picked up a home win this season and that is important to our guys," continued Covington. "I know they are looking forward to the challenge of playing the number six team in the country in our house."
NAIA TOP 50 RANKINGS
The Mustangs are ranked among the NAIA's Top 50 as a team in three categories according to the association's statistics site. As a team, the Mustangs rank highly in total blocks (6th), blocks per game (10th), and offensive rebounds per game (43rd). Individually, Kenny Enoex remains the NAIA's leader in total blocks with 55 and is second in blocks per game (2.9). Diante Taylor comes in 47th in offensive rebounds per game (2.7).
GOING FOR 20
Sophomore guard Diante Taylor kept up his strong play Wednesday (Jan. 15) at Davenport by pouring in 18 points. Taylor has eclipsed double-digits scoring in all 19 games this season and will shoot for 20 games of 10 or more points against the No. 6 Golden Eagles. Recently, Taylor has benefited from the return of teammates JuJuan Armstrong and Darryll Dixon. In six games with Armstrong and Dixon, Taylor is averaging 21.2 points per contest.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
While the current Mustangs have their prolific three-point shooter in freshman forward Jimmy Stewart, a former Mustang still holds the single-season record for total 3PM. Former Mustang great Dennis Foster holds the record with an impressive 155 3PM in a single season (2003-04). Foster also holds the single season scoring record at 933 points on his way to averaging 26.3 points per game over his two-year Marygrove career.
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