Cougars Prepare for Another Run
at NCCAA National Title
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The Mount Vernon Nazarene University men's basketball team will make its final preparations for the 2003 National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournament before the teams heads to Frankfort, Kentucky, for the eight-team event that begins with first round action on Thursday at the Farnham Dudgeon Arena.
The Cougars, who are the defending NCCAA national champions, will enter the tournament as the seventh seed with an 18-12 overall record. MVNU is led by senior guard Phil Argento, the NCCAA's leading scorer and a Player of the Year candidate who averages 22.4 points per game and has made 135 three-pointers. Argento became the Cougars' career scoring leader this season with 2,270 points and counting, and he currently ranks eighth in the history of college basketball with 451 career three-pointers made.
Sophomore center Anthony Delimpo averages 12.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for MVNU while shooting 60.5 percent from the field. Junior guard Andy Dunn contributes 11.6 points per game with a team-high 120 assists and 89 treys, while senior forward Brad Moser, a member of last year's NCCAA All-National Tournament Team, adds 10.7 points per game with a team-high 54 steals. Senior forward Konrod Morris also chips in with 9.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
The Cougars will take on second-seeded Christian Heritage (Calif.) College in the first round of the tournament at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. The Hawks (16-16) are led by senior forward Keith Salscheider, who averages 17.8 points per game and shoots 91 percent at the free throw line. Senior guard Patrick Robinson scores 13.8 points per game and leads the team in rebounding (5.3 boards per game) despite being 5-foot-11. Senior guard Rich Griffin (11.9 points per game) and junior guard Brad Rogers (10.7 points per game) also average in double figures.
In other first round action on Thursday, top-seeded Tennessee Temple University will take on eighth-seeded Crichton (Tenn.) College at 2:00 p.m. The Crusaders (27-4), who have won 14 of their last 15 games, are led by senior guard Josh Templeton, who is second in the NCCAA in scoring at 22.3 points per game and leads the NCCAA with 7.1 assists per game. Tennessee Temple is also outscoring its opponents by 16.1 points per contest. Meanwhile, the Cardinals (12-17) of Crichton are making their first-ever national tournament appearance after upsetting Oakland City (Ind.) University to advance.
The 4:00 p.m. game on Thursday will feature fourth-seeded Bethel (Ind.) College taking on fifth-seeded Oklahoma Wesleyan University. The Pilots (22-12) have four players averaging in double figures led by sophomore forward Jake Parker, who averages 13.6 points. Bethel also leads the NCCAA in scoring at 91.9 points per contest. Meanwhile, the Eagles of Oklahoma Wesleyan (24-10) are led by senior guard Anthony Swinton, who averages 19.1 points and 7.1 assists per game.
The final first round game features third-seeded Grace (Ind.) College versus sixth-seeded Warner Pacific (Ore.) College at 6:00 p.m. The Lancers (22-10) are led by senior forward Matt Abernathy, who is tied for second in the NCCAA in scoring at 22.3 points per game and is among the leaders in rebounding at 9.1 boards per game. The Knights of Warner Pacific (22-11) are paced by senior forward Matt Segrin (17.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game).
Friday's games will begin with two consolation games at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. with the winner's bracket contests to follow at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. On Saturday, the fifth-place game will tip off at 3:00 p.m., the third-place game will follow at 5:00 p.m., and the national championship contest will start at 7:30 p.m.