Men’s Basketball: Drovers Topple No. 10 Golden Eagles In Overtime

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The USAO Drovers (11-11, 5-7 SAC) picked up a resume building 90-84 win over the 10th ranked John Brown University Golden Eagles (19-3, 10-2).
USAO was led by Gerard Makuntae, Moses Byekwaso and Cameron Hines. Makuntae dominated in the game finishing with 17 points and very impressive 18 rebounds to capture his second double-double on the season. Makuntae would be very huge on the defensive side of the ball as he would finish with 3 blocks and 1 steal. Byekwaso would finish with 28 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists for the Drovers and was clutch shooting the ball, finishing 5-9 from behind the arc and 9-10 from the free-throw line. Hines would finish the night with 19 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.

Sophomore Guard Tre’veon Ellis said “Today’s game was one for the books. John Brown is a great team and well coached. We had a bit of a slow start, but we got going at the right time. Major praise to my teammates stepping up and making some big time plays. Our coaching staff came up with a great game plan and we executed well. Nonetheless today’s game was Great, and I had a lot of fun.”

The Golden Eagles would be led by Luke Harper, Densier Carnes and Kiree Hutchings. Harper finished the night with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He would be in total command from three, shooting 6-10 from behind the arc. Carnes would put together a 17 point, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block night. Hutchings had 16 points, grabbed 2 rebounds and had 2 assists on 4-8 shooting from three point range for the Golden Eagles.

Up Next:

USAO will host Wayland Baptist University on Thursday, February 6th. Tip-off is set for 7:45 PM CT in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

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Baseball: Drovers Drop Series Finale To Saints

Our Lady of the Lake University Saints (1-2) defended home field as they knocked off the 3rd ranked USAO Drovers (2-1) 9-2 in the series finale.

The Drovers sent Senior starter Jean Muntaner to the mound who would struggle to find the zone. Muntaner went 3.1 innings, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits and 6 walks. With the loss Muntaner drops to 0-1 in the 2020 season. In relief the Drovers called on Ricardo Velez, Edgar Cuevas and Brock Henderson. Velez threw 2.1 innings allowing 3 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits and would finish the night with 4 strikeouts. Cuevas threw 1.1 innings allowing 0 runs on 2 hits and 2 strikeouts. Henderson threw 1 inning and allowed 0 runs on 2 hits.

The Bats for USAO would be held in check as they would be held to 6 hits on the afternoon. The Drovers would be led by Ian Laureano, who went 2-4 with 2 singles. Colton Bensch went 2-4 with singles. Luis Pelayo went 1-3 with a single. Brandon Shumway went 1-2 with a double and an RBI.

The Drovers will get back to action on Saturday, February 1, when they face University of St. Mary (KS) and Wiley College (TX) in Marshall, Texas.

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Player Spotlight: Tennessee Wesleyan Bryce Giles

Bryce Giles, 5-10, Senior Infielder is coming off an impressive 2019 campaign where he led the Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs to the NAIA World Series and would be crowned champions of the 2019 season. Giles was then named the most valuable player & Charles Berry Hustle award winner for the NAIA World Series.

During the 2019 season Giles would hit .387, with 9 home runs and 31 RBI’s. Giles really came alive during conference play, when he would hit 476 and connect on 3 home runs.

Question #1
Q: Explain the feeling of winning the NAIA World Series

A: “Being able to compete at the World Series was beyond words, but being the team to come out on top was such an amazing feeling with a great group of guys.”

Question #2
Q: What did it mean to you to win the most valuable player & Charles Berry Hustle award?

A: “Winning the MVP and the Hustle award meant a lot to me, but taking home the national championship trophy with the team meant more.”

Question #3
Q: What three traits define you?
A: “Hard working, leader, competitive”

Question #4
Q: What part of your game to do look to most improve on going into the 2020 season?

A: “I look to improve on my running game coming into this season. Looking to get into scoring position more to help out my guys produce, as well as produce more wins.”

Question #5

Q: Coming off an impressive season last year, what are you most excited for going into this season?

A: “I’m excited to come back and develop and grow with new teammates, looking forward to carrying on from last season!”

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Women’s Basketball: Drovers and Evangels Set To Battle in Chickasha

Coming into this marquee matchup both teams remain unbeaten in the Sooner Athletic Conference as the Mid-America Christian Evangels (7-2, 2-0 SAC) head down to Chickasha, Oklahoma to take on the USAO Drovers (7-3, 2-0 SAC). The standing currently stand with the Evangels in 3rd and the Drovers locked in at the 4th spot.

The Evangels offense averages 82 points per game coming into this contest but the eye catching stat is the rebounding ability. Mid-America comes into this game ranked 2nd in offensive rebounding with 19 rebounds per game. The Evangels also rank 4th in the country in total rebounds per game as they are grabbing 48 per game. The defense for Mid-America allows just 65 points per game as they are holding opponents to 38% shooting from the floor on the season.

The Drovers offense has put up 78 points per game and are ranked 16th in the nation in field goal percentage, shooting 44% from the floor. The Defense for the Drovers has been the major key to the success to this team as they rank 2nd in blocked shots with 6 per game. The USAO defense has been very solid all year long as they have forced opponents to 33% from the floor to put them 9th in the country. Ball security has been another piece to the puzzle for the Drovers as they have been only turning the ball over 12 times compared the 19 they have been forcing per contest.

Friday’s matchup is set for a 6:00 p.m. CT tip at Drover Fieldhouse in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

What To Know About USAO:

The Drovers are led by Reyna Ammons, Milagros Carrera and Khady Sene. Ammons, (5-6 Senior) is currently leading the team in scoring with 19 points per game. She also leads the team in steals. Ammons is ranked 8th in the nation in steals with 4 per game. Carrera, (5-9 Freshman) is putting up 14 and has added 4 rebounds per game for the Drovers. The Freshman is shooting an impressive 50% from the floor that ranks her 26th in the country. Sene, (6-3 Senior) has had an impressive start to her Senior campaign as she is averaging 8 points per game and has been dominating the board with 10 rebounds per game. Sene has been a huge part to the USAO defense, picking up 3 blocks per contest.

Senior Guard Reyna Ammons said “Coming out we need to have the right mindset and come out strong to begin with, lately we been having flat starts. we need to continue to be solid on the defensive end but also on the offensive. We need to execute our plays and secure all rebounds on both ends of the court through all 5 players. Also, if everyone does the little things; communicating, being selfless, and hustling, we will be one hard team to beat tomorrow.

The Drovers are coached by Darrick Matthews, who is in his 5th year with USAO. Assistant coaches are Sirena Matthews and Olivia Chapman.

What To Know About Mid-America:

The Evangels are led by Alexis Shannon, Lexi Hernandez and Loralei Siliga. Shannon, (5-11 Senior) has been dominate so far in the season averaging 19 points and 7 rebounds for Mid-America. Shannon ranks 7th in the nation in points per game. Shannon has been In command down low and she has proven she can shoot it from behind the arc, shooting 14-30 on the year. Hernandez, (5-6 Junior) is currently averaging 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists per game for Mid-America. She also averaging 3 steals per game which ranks her 27th in the nation. Siliga, (5-11 Senior) has averaged 11 points and 7 rebound per game. Siliga ranks 7th with an impressive 62% field goal percentage from the floor so far this season.

Senior Forward Alexis Shannon said “We are excited for tomorrows game. It’s going to be two really good basketball teams going head to head. With similar records, I think both us and USAO are going to bring all we have on the court tomorrow. It should be a fun game to play in and to watch.

Mid-America is coached by Hannah Moeller, who is her 4th season with the Evangels. Assistant coaches are Kelsie Dutton and Logan Martin.

Series Record:

Dating back to 2006, these two teams have faced off 27 times and the Evangels own the series with a 15-12 record.

How To Watch:

Stretch Internet USAO

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Baseball: #8 Drovers Set To Battle #14 Rams

No. 8 USAO Drovers vs. No. 14 Texas Wesleyan Rams
When: April 19&20, 2019
Where: Sycamore Park in Fort Worth, Texas Time: Friday at 2 p.m.; Saturday at 12 & 2 p.m.
Series Record: Texas Wesleyan leads, 10-9 dating back to 2008.

Probable Starting Pitchers:

Friday: USAO JR. Jean Mutaner (9-1, 1.91) vs TWU SR. Cameron Vige (7-2, 4.32)

Saturday G1: USAO FR. Matt Merrill (8-1, 1.72) vs TWU JR. Josh Brown (4-1, 2.78)

Saturday G2: USAO JR. Colton Williams (11-0, 1.23) vs TWU JR. Houston Glad (9-2 , 3.15)

With the regular season winding down every game becomes more and more critical. The 8th ranked USAO Drovers (34-10, 18-3 SAC) are heading down to Fort Worth to take on the 14th ranked Texas Wesleyan Rams (37-9, 16-4 SAC) in a premier matchup. This matchup is also featured as the NAIA Ball (@NAIABALL on twitter) game of the week.

What To Know About USAO:

The Drovers come into this game on a 12 game win streak which includes a series sweeps over Wayland Baptist and Panhandle State University. The Drovers are coached by head coach Mike Ross. Ross is in his 11th season with the Drovers as he has secured 300 wins and 2 World Series appearance during his time at USAO. Assistant Coach Tyle Hankins is in his 1st season with Drovers and most recently spent time with Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

The pitching staff for the Drovers has been lights out all season long as they led the league in earned run average with a solid 2.20 ERA on the season. USAO also ranks 2nd in opponent batting average as they have held opposing team to a .176 batting average. The Drovers starting pitcher staff is led by the trio of Colton Williams, Matt Merrill and Jean Muntaner. Williams currently sitting at 11-0 on the season with a 1.23 ERA which ranks him second in the NAIA. Merrill is 8-1 on the Season with a 1.72 ERA. Merrill is currently holding opponents to a .136 batting on the season which ranks him first in the NAIA. Muntaner is 9-1 on the season with a 1.91 ERA. Muntaner has picked up 61.1 innings for the Drovers and has racked up 63 strikeouts on the season. Out of the bullpen the Drovers rely on righy Rudy Gonzalez to carry the majority of the load. He is currently 3-2 on the season with a 1.28 ERA. Gonzalez has thrown 49.1 innings for the Drovers and is holding opponents batting average to .153 on the season.

The offense for the Drovers has picked up here lately and during this 12 game win streak they are averaging 10 runs per game. The offense ranks 11th in the NAIA with a .332 batting average for the season. The Drovers also sit 14th in the NAIA in runs score per game averaging 8 runs per game. The offense is led by Luis Pelayo, who is currently batting .388 on the season with 5 home runs and 47 RBI’s. The Drovers are getting solid play from the Catcher Alex Sanchez as he is tearing up the baseball as of late. In his last 10 games Sanchez has collected 9 home runs and has added 24 RBI’s to his total. On the season, Sanchez is hitting .382 and has 48 RBI’s. P.J. Garcia has put together a good Senior campaign hitting .381 with 4 home runs and 29 RBI’s on the season.

Shortstop P.J. Garcia said “This weekend is a big series for us. Lately, we have been playing really well as a team. Pitching has been outstanding all year and our hitting is coming back around. Coach has been telling us lately to play each game as an elimination game, and that’s been our mindset. We, as a team, need to continue that mindset and focus on us and what we are doing. Excited for this weekend and what’s to come.”

Catcher Alex Sanchez said “I’ll tell you this much Texas Wesleyan is always a in the top contenders. They also show up to play every game. This is no doubt the most important series of the year due to the set backs we’ve had on our team. At the end of the day if they bring their A game and we do as well we are coming out on top.”

What To Know About Texas Wesleyan:

The Rams currently are just 1 game out of first place but own the tie breaker over Oklahoma City after beat the Stars in that series back on March 30th. The Rams are coached by Head Coach Bobby Garza, who was the assistant for 4 year at Texas Wesleyan before taking over the head coaching job just last season. The Assistant Coach for the Rams is Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach is in his 3rd season as the assistant coach with the Rams.

The Rams offense currently ranks 28th in the country in batting average with a .316 team average . The offense is led by Caden Williams who is hitting .458 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI’s. Michael Davila is hitting .354 on the season with 3 home runs and 40 runs for the Rams on the season. Sheadion Jamankia is hitting .359 for the Rams with 3 home runs, 33 RBI’s and 19 walks on the season.

The pitching staff for the Rams has been dominate as they rank 2nd in total batter struck out with 402 on the season and are ranked 16th in opponent batting average, holding opponents to a .233 average on the season. Houston Glad has been impressive this season as he is currently 9-2 with a 3.15 ERA for the Rams. Glad has tallied 68.2 innings for the Rams and has collected 79 strikeouts on the season. Cameron Vige is another key arm for the Rams as he is 7-2 with a 4.32 ERA on the season. Vige has thrown 66.2 innings on the season and has held opponents to a .237 batting average. The Rams go-to guy out of the bullpen has been Parker Robinson who has tallied 47 innings with a 1.72 ERA and 64 strikeouts.

Texas Wesleyan Pitcher Houston Glad said “This weekend is a huge for both teams, it could decide the 1 and 2 seed for the conference tournament. The games are going to be a battle. Both pitching staffs have been great so far this year. I’m looking forward to some highly competitive games this weekend at Sycamore Park.”

Rams Pitcher Parker Robinson said “This is a big series for us, I’m confident in our guys and what we bring to the table to be able to compete with anyone in the nation. This season has gone well so far for us because we all have one common goal in mind and play for each other. It’s going to be a huge weekend for us in the conference, and I’m excited to go out and compete.”

Special Guest Pickers:

Cody From @NAIABall on twitter

Pick: USAO (3-0) sweeps the series

“Another NAIA Ball Series of the Week appearance for USAO, I’m rolling with the Drovers in Fort Worth. Bottom line: USAO has the best staff in the nation and it’ll carry over out in Texas. I expect all three games to be competitive but USAO will rise up to their competition this weekend with the SAC on the line.”

Robby Gutierrez from @NAIABall on twitter

Pick: 2-1 USAO

“A huge Sooner Athletic Conference matchup between two top 25 teams in Ft. Worth! USAO has arguably the best staff in the nation posting a 2.16 era through 43 games. Texas Wesleyan swings the bat well hitting .316 avg as a team. If USAO can have its staff go deep into games and silence the Rams bats then the Drovers will win the series”

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Basketball: Drovers Drop Season Opener To Ravens

In the 2018-2019 season opener the Benedictine College Ravens topped the USAO Drovers by the score of 82-54. The Ravens coming off a 14-17 season where they finished 4th in the Heart of American Athletic Conference south division. The USAO Drovers are coming off a 21-11 season as they would finish as the 5th ranked team in the Sooner Athletic Conference.

Early in the first half the Ravens gained the lead and never looked back. The Ravens started the game in a 9-0 run before the Drovers Forward Marquise Williams scored the first two points of this season. The Drovers offense was held to just 27% from the field as they allowed 48% shooting percentage to the Ravens. Benedictine College offense was clicking as they would connect on 11 three-pointers and would shoot 37% from behind the 3 point line. The Drovers would hit 6 three-pointers and would shoot 22%. Points in the paint was a big factor in this contest as the Ravens would put together 36 in comparison to 16 from the Drovers.

The Drovers got a proficient first game from Greyden Steinmetz as he would tally 14 points off the bench on 5-8 shooting and would finish with 2 rebounds. Steinmetz is a SO. transfer from Redlands Junior College where he averaged 13.7 points a game. Geno Artison finished the game with 9 points on 3-12 shooting and 6 rebounds. Artison is a SR. transfer from the University of Tulsa. In his JR. year he averaged 11.1 minutes per game and played in 30 games for the Golden Hurricanes. Marquise Williams made his present known down low collecting 11 boards and 5 points. Williams is SR. transfer from Lincoln University where he averaged 9.1 points per game and 7.9 rebounds.

Benedictine College leading scorer was Thomas O’Connor as he finished with 19 points on 7-15 shooting and 3-7 from behind the arc. Adam Kutney finished the night with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Jaiden Bristol scored 12 point on 5-8 shooting with 10 rebound to complete the double-double.

The Drovers will battle the University of Southwest Mustangs on Monday November 5th, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. CT. Benedictine College next contest is against the Park University Pirates on Monday November 5th, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. CT.

Sophomore Guard Greyden Steinmetz Said “Tough game, we’ll have to watch film and grow from it.

Senior Foward Marquise Williams Said “We didn’t perform no where near what we’re capable of I think a lot guys were just getting their first game jitters out the way even myself. It’s a quick turnaround on Monday we got a another game we have to regroup and come together and don’t let this first game define us. We have a good coaching staff & I enjoy playing for them they believe in my abilities & encourage me to stay confident & play my game something most players don’t get a chance to experience.