BATON ROUGE (March 9, 2017) – The Dillard University Bleu Devils men’s basketball team will make its second national tournament appearance March 15 after earning the title of 2017 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference champions for the second straight year.
The Bleu Devils are ranked No. 7 in the nation and will travel to Kansas City, Mo., to participate in the 2017 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Championship. The tournament is set for March 15-21 in the Municipal Auditorium.
Dillard is the No. 2 seed in the Duer bracket and will go head-to-head against the No. 7 seed Oklahoma City University at 4:45 p.m. next Wednesday.
Making history again, the Bleu Devils were crowned the GCAC champions March 5 after avenging their only conference loss against Philander Smith College, defeating them 86-65 in the championship round.
The men ended their season with a record of 24-7, improving from last season’s 17-16 record. This was the most wins for the team since the 2003-2004 season, when they earned 22 wins. They also were ranked No. 1 with the record of 11-1 in conference games.
In a congratulatory email to the campus Monday, university President Walter Kimbrough applauded coach Mike Newell, whom he called “the real GCAC coach of the year.”
Kimbrough promised to cancel classes “once they win” so students can have a day of “celebration, good food and music.”
Dr. Kiki Baker-Barnes, athletics director, said, “I am very proud of what Coach Newell and this team has accomplished. The leadership of Demetric Austin has been inspiring, also
“We are on our way to win a national championship, and I have no doubt that with coach Newell’s vision, Demetric’s [Austin] on the court leadership and our very talented team, we have the ability to do just that! Hail, Dillard,” said Baker-Barnes.
The team was able to clinch their first GCAC regular season title since 2001 during the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ men’s basketball game of the week against the Talladega College Tornadoes, dismantling them 108-76 on Feb. 11.
All-American forward Demetric Austin of Washington, D.C., was named the GCAC most valuable player in men’s basketball for a second consecutive year.
Newcomers Jalen McGaughy, a center from Ann Arbor, Mich; guard Quinton Jackson of Cambridge, Md.; and guard James Morris Jr. of Peoria, Ill., made their mark on the season.
McGaughy was named GCAC newcomer of the year, leading NAIA Division 1 with three blocked shots per game and as the nation’s top three-point shooter. McGaughy also was selected as a first team All-GCAC honoree, along with teammate Austin. Jackson was selected as a second team-All GCAC honoree, along with point guard Dennis Hightower of Danville, Ill.