Cardinals shine in Lone Star debut
Notes: Guilford hands Virginia Wesleyan first loss of season
Brian Lester, NCAA.com
Before the season, Incarnate Word head coach Ken Burmeister heard how his Cardinals were given no shot at success during their first season in the Lone Star Conference.
It’s a good thing no one bothered to buy into it. Otherwise, the Cardinals (14-2, 3-1 LSC) might not be nationally ranked and in the hunt for a conference title.
“We play with an edge because we were told we wouldn’t win a conference game,” Burmeister said.
The Cardinals maintained their edge Saturday night in San Antonio, knocking off Midwestern State 90-83 in double overtime. Eric Stewart scored 22 points as the Cardinals defeated an MSU team that played in the 2010 Elite Eight.
The fact that the Cardinals have competed at a high level isn’t a surprise. UIW proved early on that it had a chance to have a special season, knocking off then No. 8 Central Oklahoma 75-73 on Dec. 2.
The Cardinals have established themselves as a league power behind good shooting and stellar defense. They have made only 60 3-pointers but it shoots nearly 50 percent from the field (47.9 percent).
The Cardinals are averaging 76.9 points and giving up 67.1.
Senior guard Tracy Robinson has been the go-to guy for the Cardinals. He is averaging 18.2 points per outing and grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game. Stewart (11.6 ppg), a senior guard, is one of four other players scoring at least 10 ppg.
“Tracy is a great athlete and he provides good leadership. He has good players around him, too. We have really good balance.”
The Cardinals also have a healthy dose of confidence.
“We have competed against several top 25 teams and we know if we continue to play well and get into the NCAA tournament, that anything can happen,” Burmeister said.
Need To Know
• Tobi Akinsola picked a good day to score a career-high in points. The Guilford junior center lit up the scoreboard for 26 points as the Quakers stunned No. 2 Virginia Wesleyan College 64-61 Saturday afternoon at the Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse in Greensboro, N.C. Akinsola scored 18 of those points in the second half, including a free throw with 26 seconds remaining that snapped the sixth and final tie of the day in a riveting Old Dominion Athletic Conference battle against the Marlins. VWC was 16-0 coming into the tilt and seemed to have control when it shook off a 33-30 halftime deficit and built a 48-43 lead with under 10 minutes to play.
• Indianapolis head coach Stan Gouard was a two-time national player of the year at Southern Indiana. On Saturday night in Evansville, he enjoyed a homecoming he won’t ever forget, guiding his Greyhounds to a thrilling 70-68 win against the fourth-ranked Screaming Eagles at the Physical Activities Center. Indy nearly defeated No. 2 Bellarmine earlier in the week, losing 99-97 on a 3-pointer, but the Greyhounds would not be denied an upset win this time around. The Greyhounds shot 43.5 percent from the field and Darius Adams led the upset bid, dropping in 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
• One of the longest home win streaks in the nation came to an end Saturday as Texas stunned Kansas 74-63 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. The Jayhawks had won 69 consecutive games on their home floor before falling to the No. 12 Longhorns. Second-ranked Kansas had never lost to Texas at home since the inception of the Big 12 and became the latest unbeaten team to lose. J’Covan Brown scored 23 points to pace Texas while Jordan Hamilton poured in 17 and pulled down nine rebounds. Tristan Thompson added 12 points for the Longhorns, who are unbeaten in four league games. Tyrel Reed clicked for 17 points to pace Kansas, which lost at home for the first time since 2007.
Whitworth was lights out from beyond the arc in a 94-48 drubbing of Pacific over the weekend. The third-ranked Pirates were a jaw-dropping 19-of-34 from 3-point range as they cruised to a Northwest Conference win at home. Six different players hit at least one trey in the win as the Pirates won their 17th game. … Jake Kelly scored only six points but made the biggest play of the game for Indiana State in its 70-69 win against league-leader Missouri State. Kelly made a layup and a free throw in the final seconds of a thriller to secure the win for the Sycamores, who have a share of first place midway through the year for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign. … North Georgia star Elijah Smith turned a lot of heads with his performance against Clayton State, scoring 12 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking five shots as the Saints snapped a five-game losing streak and topped the Lakers 71-66 in overtime in Peach Belt Conference action. … Tre’Von Willis came up with a steal with 27 seconds remaining and hit two free throws after being intentionally fouled to push UNLV past New Mexico 63-62 in a Mountain West Conference encounter on Saturday in Las Vegas. The two clutch free throws by Willis gave the Rebels a 62-61 advantage. … Ithaca star Chris Cruz-Rivas became the 21st player in program history, and the second player this season, to score 1,000 points in his career. Cruz-Rivas dropped in 13 points to reach the milestone in a 101-67 win against Elmira last week. Cruz also pulled down 10 rebounds to tally his fourth double-double of the year. … Third-ranked Syracuse only lost to No. 4 Pittsburgh by eight points earlier this week, but the Orange can point to its slow start as the reason behind its 74-66 loss. Syracuse missed its first 10 shots and fell behind 19-0 before finally getting on the scoreboard as its 18-game win streak, the second-longest in school history, came to a halt.