POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. — Two teams looking to make statements after losing in their respective conference championships will square off Wednesday afternoon when Ashford and Davenport meet in men's basketball at the NAIA National Tournament.
The Saints (23-9) and Panthers (27-6) earned at-large bids to the 32-team tournament and square off at 1:45 p.m. at the College of the Ozarks' Keeter Gym. Davenport, making its fifth consecutive appearance in the tournament, is ranked ninth in the nation and is seeded ninth in the tournament.
The Panthers are coming off a 73-66 loss to fifth-rated Cornerstone in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament.
Davenport is led by Dominez Burnett, a 6-foot-5 sophomore forward, who averages 19.4 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. He is a 53.2 percent shooter from the floor. JaVontae Ford, a 6-3 senior forward, provides a solid second scorer and rebounder, averaging 16.1 points and 5.0 rebounds.
Kevin Rich, a 6-6 forward, and 6-0 freshman guard Nick Gamble average 9.6 and 8.2 points respectively.
Davenport averages 77.6 points a game while allowing just 62.1. It shoots 48.2 percent from the floor.
Ashford is coming off a 51-48 loss to Northern New Mexico in the finals of the Association of Independent Institutions. The Saints have lost two of their past three games but won seven in a row before that.
The Saints are led by 6-4 junior guard-forward Anthony Woods, who averages 15.7 points a game. His shooting numbers have been solid, too, making 51.5 percent of his field goal attempts, 42.4 percent of his 3-pointers and 76.9 percent of his free throws.
Damon Overton, a 6-0 sophomore guard, ranks right behind Woods at 14.7 points a game, while 5-11 junior guard DeAndre Lowery Jr. and 6-3 senior guard Thaddeus Perry average 13.4 and 9.9 points, respectively.
As a team, the Saints average 74.1 points and allow 62.8.
The winner will advance to play the winner of Concordia (Ore.) and Bellevue (Neb.) at 10:15 a.m. Friday.