SHAWNEE – Bison basketball tips off the 2016-2017 season at home Friday night at 7p.m. against past NAIA and Sooner Athletic Conference arch rival Saint Gregory's University.
BATTLE ON MACARTHUR STREET:
Against the Cavaliers, OBU holds a 33-6 all-time record. Of the six losses, the Bison have dropped three games to SGU in the last three years.
The Bison and Cavaliers did not meet last year as coach Quinn Wooldridge took the reins and led OBU through its first year in NCAA and Great American Conference play. During Doug Tolin's last year at head coach and last year of NAIA play, the two teams split the regular season.
BUILDING BLOCK CAVALIERS:
Dylan Lemley begins his era at Saint Gregory's in his first year in the head coaches seat. The Cavaliers lost their top scorers and starters from last season but have filled their roster with junior college and NCAA DII transfers.
SGU currently stands at 1-2 after dropping games to LSU-Shreveport and the University of the Southwest (NM). Their lone win came against Saint Thomas-Houston in last second fashion as the Cavaliers drained a jumper with seven seconds left in regulation.
As head coach Quinn Wooldridge and staff begin their second year in the Great American Conference and NCAA DII, the Bison expect many improvements in both skill and health.
OBU returns all five starters in Steven Green, Vladimir Nemcok, Chandler Rickey, Jansen Height and Timotis Kuckailis, as well as spark-plug players Caleb Norris, Tyler Lester and Cagney Roberson. Green led all scorers, draining 17.9 per game, followed by Rickey with 14.9 and 8.7 boards per contest.
Newbies include Travon Moore, Tyler Zivney, John McBroom, Miko Travica and Marko Zelic, as the Bison return Kevin Franceschi from injury last season.
CAVALIERS TO CONSIDER:
NO. 14 TYLER TUCKER – The 6'5 guard has averaged 21 points and 8.7 rebounds through SGU's first three games of the season and shoots 33 percent from beyond the arc and 55 percent from the field.
NO. 5 JORDAN RUTHERFORD – A 6'7 forward, Rutherford follows Tucker with 18 points and seven boards per contest.
NO. 3 RODNEY SMITH – SGU's point guard scores an average of 12.7 per the three contests this season and has made four of his eight threes taken this season.
BEHOLD THE BISON:
NO. 10 STEVEN GREEN – The aforementioned 6'5 guard/forward led the team in scoring and will look to share his title this season.
NO. 15 CHANDLER RICKEY – Rickey led the Bison in rebounds, pulling down 8.7 a game while also contributing in the scoring column with 14.9 points per contest. He also swatted a total of 54 shots over the season.
NO. 11 VLADIMIR NEMCOK – OBU's point guard lent a helping hand with 160 total assists last season, as he dished out 6.2 and scored 12.4 per game.