TLU basketball - men's, women's SCAC pre-season picks
Posted on 11/6/2018 6:10:00 AM.
TLU Men's Basketball fourth pick in SCAC preseason poll
(Seguin) - Texas Lutheran University Men's Basketball is the fourth pick in the 2018-19 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Poll after a vote of the league's nine head coaches.

The Bulldogs received one first place vote and finished just six points out of the first-place spot, two points from the second-place spot, and one point out of third.

Trinity is the preseason favorite. Centenary (La.), Schreiner and TLU are in the second, third and fourth positions.

Southwestern, University of Dallas, Austin College, Colorado College and Johnson & Wales (Colo.) round out the poll.

TLU, led by third-year head coach Mike Wacker, comes off a 12-15 overall record and a 7-7 mark in the SCAC.

Wacker is 31-25 overall and 17-11 in SCAC play through two seasons with the Bulldogs. Wacker guided TLU to the 2017 SCAC Championship and to a 2017 NCAA Tournament berth.

The Bulldogs entered the 2018 SCAC Tournament as the sixth seed and as the final team to make the conference tournament. TLU then upset No. 3 seed University of Dallas in the quarterfinal round before falling to Centenary (La.) in the semifinal.

TLU won SCAC Championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and played in three consecutive NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship games (first round).

The Bulldogs return 11 players and their top five scorers from a year ago.

TLU also brings back five players – point guard Nathan Josephs (San Antonio/Clark), shooting guard Jacob Kouremetis (San Antonio/O'Connor), guard Alex Cage (Austin/McNeil), forward Jackson Willoughby (Port Aransas/Port Aransas), and guard Sebastian Andrade (El Paso/Americas) – that started at least eight games in 2017-18.

Leading the Bulldogs in 2018-19 will be senior point guard Josephs, who claimed All-SCAC Second Team honors last season.

In his first year with the Bulldogs, Josephs led TLU in scoring, at 16.4 points per game. He also contributed 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Josephs played and started in all 27 games a year ago.

Josephs shot 36.0 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from the three-point line and 84.5 percent from the free throw line. He went to the line 174 times and made 147 free throws.

Josephs hit three game-winning shots for TLU during the year - a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Hardin-Simmons on the road, a lay-up with 0.2 left on the clock to beat Centenary (La.) at home, and a three-pointer with less than two seconds to play to defeat Southwestern on the road and send TLU to the SCAC Men's Basketball Championship.

The Bulldogs needed that win at Southwestern just to make the conference tournament. Josephs scored 30 points in the road victory. He scored a season-high 32 in a home win over Southwestern on Jan. 30. He led the team in scoring in 14 of the Bulldogs' 27 contests in 2017-18.

Returning guards Kouremetis and Andrade were SCAC Honorable Mention selections. Kouremetis and Andrade were second and third, respectively, on the team in scoring.

TLU opens its 2018-19 season this Saturday with a 3 p.m. home game against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

TLU will serve as the host of the 2019 SCAC Men's & Women's Basketball Championships, set to run Feb. 22-24 at TLU's Memorial Gymnasium (Jim Shuler Court).

TLU Women's Basketball picked fifth in SCAC Preseason Poll
(Seguin) - Texas Lutheran Women's Basketball is the fifth pick in the 2018-19 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Poll after a vote of the league's nine head coaches.

Trinity, the defending conference champion, is the preseason favorite.

The Tigers (60 points) are followed in the preseason poll by 2017-18 co-regular season champion Austin College (59).

Rounding out the poll are: Southwestern (51), Colorado College (43), TLU (32), Schreiner (31), Centenary (La.) (21), Johnson & Wales (Colo.) (16), and the University of Dallas (11).

TLU is led by seventh-year head coach Mel Dixon, who is 91-67 (.576) in his Bulldog coaching career. Dixon has won two SCAC regular-season championships and one SCAC Tournament title with the Bulldogs. He is 60-36 (.646) in SCAC play.

Last season, Dixon and the Bulldogs missed the SCAC Tournament for the first time. The Bulldogs tied for sixth and lost the tiebreaker for the final spot into the tournament. TLU went 8-17 overall and 4-10 in the SCAC.

From that 2017-18 squad, the Bulldogs return 14 letter-winners, including 11 players that started at least one game a year ago.

TLU welcomes back redshirt sophomores Kasey Hairell (Hallettsville/Hallettsville) and Tara Molina (San Antonio/Johnson) – two early-season starters that played a combined 10 games in 2017-18 due to season-ending injuries. Molina is a point guard, and Hairell is a power forward.

Shooting guard Cami Davis (Marion/Marion/University of Texas at Tyler) is back after playing and starting all 25 games a year ago and claiming All-SCAC Second Team honors.

Davis led the Bulldogs in scoring (371 points, 14.8 ppg), three-pointers made (43), free throws made and attempted (90-of-111), assists (69), and steals (51). She also ranked fourth on the team in rebounding, at 3.7 per game.

Davis made 39.7 percent of her field goal attempts and 81.1 percent of her free throw attempts.

In terms of total points scored a year ago, TLU returns its top 10 scorers.

Sophomore post Abby Hroch (Port Lavaca/Calhoun) averaged 7.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in her true freshman season. Molina was averaging 9.5 points and 4.4 assists before her injury in the eighth game, and Hairell averaged 12.5 points and 10.0 rebounds through two games of her second year.

Senior forward Presley Stephens (Crandall/Crandall/Allen Community College (Kansas)) comes off a junior campaign in which she averaged 6.6 points and 6.3 rebounds. Junior guard Dominique Campos (Laredo/Alexander) registered 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals last season.

The Bulldogs start the year with a roster of 21 players. The squad is made up of three seniors, six juniors, seven sophomores, and five first-year players.

TLU starts regular-season play this Thursday with a road game in Austin against Concordia Texas. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. The Bulldogs' first home game is scheduled for Nov. 20 – a 6 p.m. contest in Memorial Gymnasium (Jim Shuler Court) against McMurry University.

TLU opens conference play on Dec. 14 with a home contest against Johnson & Wales (Colo.).

TLU will host the 2019 SCAC Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments in Memorial Gymnasium (Jim Shuler Court) from Feb. 22 to Feb. 24.


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