KOKOMO, Ind. – With an 87-73 win over IU Southeast, the NAIA Division II No. 24-ranked IU Kokomo Cougars clinched the West Division of the River States Conference for the first time in program history. Clinching the top spot in the division ensures home court for the RSC Tourney with the first round being played at the Cougar Gym on Feb. 20.
“Last night was a huge win for our program,” said first-year Cougars coach Eric Echelbarger. “To be able to win the West Division in the conference and have the No. 1 seed is really big for our team.”
It was a big night for junior Antoin Clifton, who scored 18 points to become the third member of the Cougars 1,000 Point Club. Clifton also had six rebounds and one assist.
Trequan Spivey led the Cougars on offense once again, contributing 27 points in the win after going 10 of 13 from the floor. Coming off the bench with a strong 10 minutes, Desean Hampton scored eight points, had seven rebounds and two assists.
“I thought we got great play from a lot of people,” said Echelbarger before turning his attention to defense. “I think our guys have bought in to that fact we have to guard. We have a lot of weapons, but defensively I am very proud.”
Cougars No. 1-seed in men’s tournament
The 2018-19 River States Conference Men’s Basketball Championship bracket and qualifiers are in place after the end of the regular season. Eight teams will be vying for the conference title from Feb. 20-26 with the winner automatically qualifying for the NAIA Division II National Championship.
It is a very strong RSC bracket with four teams from the NAIA Division II Top 25 Poll and four squads with 20 or more wins on the season. The championship begins with the quarterfinals on Feb. 20 followed by the semifinals on Feb. 23 and the finals on Feb. 26.
WVU Tech, the No. 9 team in the country, is the No. 1 overall seed in the championship. It went all the way down to the final game, but the Golden Bears (26-4, 15-2 RSC) secured the RSC regular-season title and are guaranteed an automatic bid to nationals. The RSC East Division champs begin the playoffs by hosting No. 4 seed Brescia (Ky.) University (15-13, 11-7 RSC) from the RSC West.
Asbury (Ky.) University (20-9, 13-5 RSC) reached the 20-win mark on the final game of the regular season to clinch the No. 2 seed out of the RSC West. The Eagles host University of Rio Grande (Ohio) (12-18, 6-11 RSC), the No. 3 seed from the RSC East.
IU Kokomo, ranked No. 24 in the nation, won the RSC West Division title and the No. 1 seed in its half of the bracket. The Cougars (23-6, 13-5 RSC) host No. 4 seed Point Park (Pa.) University (9-17, 5-12 RSC) from the RSC East on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
IU East, the No. 13 team in the country and the RSC champion the last two years, is the No. 2 seed from the RSC East. The Red Wolves (23-7, 15-2 RSC) also won 15 RSC games like WVU Tech but lost the tiebreaker. IU East hosts No. 3 seed IU Southeast (19-10, 12-6 RSC) of the RSC West. The Grenadiers are currently “receiving votes” toward the Top 25 poll.
Cougars No. 2-seed in women’s tournament
The 2018-19 River States Conference Women’s Basketball Championship qualifiers and bracket are set after the completion of the regular season. The eight-team championship will be held Feb. 20-26 at campus sites around the conference.
The higher seed hosts each game of the championship, which begins Feb. 20 with the quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for Feb. 23 with the finals on Feb. 26. The championship winner will earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II National Championship.
WVU Tech (21-9, 16-1 RSC) is the No. 1 overall seed and has already locked up a national bid as the RSC regular-season champion. The Golden Bears won the RSC East Division, and they open up the postseason at home versus Midway (Ky.) University (16-13, 9-9 RSC), the No. 4 seed from the RSC West.
IU Kokomo (17-10, 13-5 RSC) is the No. 2 seed from the RSC West and begins the championship hosting Point Park (Pa.) University (13-15, 9-8 RSC), the No. 3 seed from the RSC East on Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cougar Gym. The IU Kokomo-Point Park winner will face the WVU Tech-Midway winner in the semifinals.
Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College (17-8, 13-5 RSC) won the RSC West Division for the second year in a row and is the No. 1 seed in its half of the bracket. The Eagles host RSC East No. 4 seed University of Rio Grande (Ohio) (16-14, 6-11 RSC).
IU East (13-16, 11-6 RSC) claimed the No. 2 seed from the RSC East and will host No. 3 Cincinnati Christian University (14-15, 10-8 RSC) from the RSC West. The IU East-CCU winner will play the Alice Lloyd-Rio Grande winner.
Courtesy of IU Kokomo and River States Conference