BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University men’s basketball team won their second Conference Carolinas regular season championship, earning the top seed in the Conference Carolinas Tournament. With a win in their quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday, King will be the host for Saturday’s semifinals and Sunday’s championship game. The three teams that will make the journey to Bristol will be No. 2 Barton College, No. 4 University of Mount Olive and No. 6 Limestone College.
The first semifinal pits the top seed King (23-6) and the fourth seed Mount Olive (17-12). Mount Olive earned a spot in the semifinals with an 87-78 win in overtime over fifth seed Pfeiffer University while King defeated eighth seed North Greenville 71-56. The teams split both contests during the regular season with each team winning on their home floor. Mount Olive took a 92-76 win on January 19, and the Tornado defeated the Trojans 85-50 on February 6 in the Student Center Complex. Since King joined NCAA Division II, the Tornado have defeated the Trojans seven times in 10 tries.
King and Mount Olive mirror each other in many ways, both average near 80.0 points per game and they are first and second in the league in assists. The Tornado average 80.7 points while the Trojans aren’t far behind at 79.6 points per game. Mount Olive leads the league with an average of 16.0 assists per game, and King is next, averaging 15.7 helpers per game.
King is led by the duo of C.J. Good and Hunter LeVeau who are first and second in Conference Carolinas in three-point baskets. Good is first with 120 and LeVeau follows with 88 triples. Good leads all off NCAA Division II with an average of 4.14 triples per game. In terms of scoring, Good ranks fourth in the league with an average of 17.1 points per game, and LeVeau is 12th at 15.0 points per game. Mikquell Jackson and Derick Pope follow with averages of 8.4 and 8.2 points per game, respectively. Mack Owens has been a force on the boards, grabbing 6.1 rebounds per game, and LeVeau follows with 5.6 boards per game.
For Mount Olive it has been a much more balanced attack, led by Dontrell Brite who averages 17.1 points per game. Dominque Reed (13.0) and Mike Moore (11.9) also average in double figures while Jaquan Blount is next at 9.5. Reed leads Conference Carolinas with a 62.1 field goal percentage and Tayon Gleaves is fourth in the league, shooting 43.0 percent from long range. Moore, Reed and Blount lead the Trojans on the glass, all averaging better than 5.0 rebounds per game.
The second semifinal lands second seed Barton (19-10) against sixth seed Limestone (11-17). Barton defeated seventh seed Erskine College 83-68 in the quarterfinals while the Saints took a 75-74 road win at third seed Lees-McRae College to reach the semifinals. This tilt is going to be a matchup of strength on strength as the Barton offense ranks near the top of the league and so does the Limestone defense. Barton won both contests in the regular season, taking a 77-74 win at home on January 9, and a 77-70 win at Limestone on January 29.
The Bulldogs have the second most potent offense in the league, scoring 80.9 points per game and are shooting 44.5 percent from the field, a mark that ranks fourth in Conference Carolinas. On the defensive end, Barton ranks third in the league, holding their opponent’s to a 33.2 three-point field goal percentage. They have also hit the glass hard, averaging 39.8 rebounds per game, a mark that is second in the league.
On the other side, Limestone ranks third in the league in points allowed as their opponent’s average 72.8 points per game. Part of that comes from their interior defense that ranks fourth in the league with an average of 3.5 blocks per game. On the offensive end, the Saints have taken care of the basketball, only committing 12.4 turnovers per game, a mark that is second in Conference Carolinas.
Individually, Barton has four scorers that average at least 10.0 points per game. This group is led by Danny Shand who averages 13.6 points per game while Jake Veasley (12.8), Dominique Byrd (12.1) and Daniel Westbrook (10.5) follows. Byrd leads the team and ranks fourth in the league with an average of 6.8 rebounds per game.
For Limestone it has been Shaq Dance and Brolin Floyd leading the way with averages of 16.7 and 15.5 points per game, respectively. Kenshay Kirksey also averages in double figures, scoring 10.7 points per game. Floyd also snares 6.2 rebounds per game, ranking him fifth in the league.
The tournament tips off at 2:00 p.m. in the Student Center Complex on Saturday with King taking on Mount Olive before the second semifinal pits Barton against Limestone at 4:00 p.m. The Conference Carolinas Men’s Basketball Championship game is slated for 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The winner of the Conference Carolinas Men’s Basketball championship will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship. The selection show will air on NCAA.com on Sunday night at 10:30 p.m.