- Inside Athletics
GAME 22: MARYGROVE (2-19; 1-12 WHAC) at #RV MADONNA (15-6; 11-2 WHAC)
Saturday, January 25 | 3 p.m.
MU Activities Center | Livonia, Mich.
Marygrove Men's Basketball – Game 22
In a series that dates back to Marygrove's inaugural varsity season of men's basketball (2002-03), the Mustangs and Crusaders have met a grand total of 14 times on the hardwood from Highland Park to Holland and places in between. The Crusaders won the first seven meetings before the Mustangs halted their skid with a 72-69 overtime victory on Dec. 30, 2010 in the consolation game of the Russ Devette Holiday Tournament hosted by Hope College. The Mustangs would pick up another victory over the Crusaders later in the 2010-11 campaign to complete the season sweep. From there, Madonna won three straight including the first WHAC meeting between the teams on Nov. 20, 2012 by a convincing 92-42 final. Months later, Marygrove shocked then-No. 17 Madonna to win 64-57 in Highland Park on Jan. 29, 2013 for one of best victories in program history. The upset win would be the last for the Green & Gold as Madonna pushed their all-time series edge over the Mustangs to 11-3 overall.
THE LAST TIME THEY PLAYED
The Crusaders pushed past a young Mustang squad earlier this season (Nov. 20) by an 88-39 final. Madonna's Fred Williams dropped in a game-high 19 points, while reigning WHAC Player of the Year Bobby Naubert dished out seven assists to drop the Mustangs to 0-2 in WHAC play. The Mustangs were led by Diante Taylor with 14 points and four rebounds.
SCOUTING THE CRUSADERS
The Crusaders – last year's WHAC Tournament Champions – are led by a pair of All-WHAC seniors in Naubert and Travis Schuba. Naubert leads the team in points (18) and assists (6.7) per game with many of his assists going toward Schuba's team-high 74 three pointers made (3PM) this season. Naubert is second in the nation in assists, while Schuba is third in 3PM. As a team, the Crusaders are in the NAIA Div. II Top-50 in 20 statistical categories. Currently, Madonna sits one-game behind No. 6 Cornerstone for first place in the WHAC.
The Mustangs picked up their first WHAC win of the 2013-14 season Wednesday (Jan. 22) with an improbable comeback over Lawrence Tech. Down seven (65-58) with 40 seconds to play, senior DeVonte Pryor and freshman Elijah Ingram spearheaded a thrilling 9-0 run to shock the Blue Devils as the Mustangs went on to win, 67-65. Darryll Dixon led the Mustangs with a game-high tying 17 points, while Pryor and Ingram added 14 and 10 respectively.
"It felt good to finally be able to celebrate after a WHAC game," said first year head coach Craig Covington on his team's thrilling come-from-behind win over Lawrence Tech Wednesday. "Our normal guys stepped up, but the play of DeVonte [Pryor] in his first game back and Elijah [Ingram] down the stretch as a freshman was huge for us. With the win behind us, our guys are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead at Madonna."
NAIA TOP 50 RANKINGS
The Mustangs are ranked among the NAIA's Top-50 as a team in four categories according to the association's statistics site. As a team, the Mustangs rank highly in total blocks (10th), blocks per game (12th), offensive rebounds per game (25th), and total steals (50th). Individually, Kenny Enoex is second in the nation in total blocks (56) and blocks per game (2.6). Diante Taylor is 38th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (2.9).
A CALENDAR YEAR OF SCORING
Diante Taylor has reached double figures scoring in all 21 games this season after dropping in 11 points against LTU. Dating back to Jan. 10, 2013, Taylor has eclipsed double digits in an impressive 34 straight games. Currently, Taylor is two games away from tying the consecutive double-digit scoring games record of 36 set by former Mustang Dennis Foster. Foster holds the single-season record with 33 straight games in double digits. The former Mustang also owns the single-game scoring record with 54 points.
A LOOK BACK: GLOBETROTTIN'
Former Mustang William Bullard – better known now as the Harlem Globetrotters' William "Bull" Bullard – is one of the more popular alums of the Marygrove men's basketball program. Transferring from Marygrove to NCAA D2 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Bullard placed second in the college slam dunk contest before taking his leaping ability to the Globetrotters.
Follow men's basketball on twitter: @MGroveMBBALL