The University of Findlay men's basketball team will participate in the second annual Small College Basketball (SCB) Hall of Fame Classic on Nov. 3-4 in Evansville, Ind. As a part of the event, which is held at the Ford Center, the SCB will induct 12 new members into its elite Hall of Fame on Nov. 2.
"We are very pleased to announce the details for the 2017 Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and Hall of Fame Classic," said Small College Basketball founder John McCarthy. "Once again, the induction ceremony and classic will take place in Evansville, Ind., and once again, we will have some of the finest NCAA Division II basketball teams in the country participating in the classic. We will announce the inductees into the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 in June."
The Oilers, who finished last season ranked 25th in the nation, are coming off of a 25-7 record during the 2016-17 campaign. They will face Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) on Nov. 3 at 2:30 p.m. and then face St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC) on Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m.
IUP ended last season ranked eighth nationally with a 28-4 record. They reached the round of 32 in the NCAA Division II Tournament and will be led during the 2017-18 campaign by junior Jacobo Diaz, who earned first team all-district honors and honorable mention all-American accolades for the Crimson Hawks last year. Diaz, who was also named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West Division Player of the Year, averaged 14.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
Senior Anthony Glover and junior Dante Lombardi also return for the Crimson Hawks and are coming off stellar seasons. Glover averaged 13.6 points per game and made a team-high 75 three pointers during the 2016-17 campaign. Lombardi meanwhile averaged 13.5 points and 5.5 assists per game. He finished second on the squad with 73 triples.
STAC reached the Elite 8 last season and finished the year with a 28-6 record. They are led by senior Justin Reyes, who accumulated a number of all-American accolades during the 2016-17 campaign. He has been selected as the East Coast Conference (ECC) Player of the Year in each of the past two years and was named the NCAA Division II East Regional Most Outstanding Player during the 2016-17 season.
Reyes averaged 20.6 points per game last year, shooting 62.2 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from three point range. He will also have some help returning as junior Jonathan Lawton (13.7 ppg) and senior Shaquille McFarlan (9.9 ppg) will be back to shoulder some of the load.
Findlay will enter the Hall of Fame Classic with high expectations as they return a solid nucleus of players that contributed to a great season last year. The Oilers reached the NCAA Division II Sweet 16 during the 2016-17 campaign before falling to Bellarmine University, who went on to reach the Final 4. Another one of their losses last season came at the hands of Fairmont State University, who reached the national championship game.
Senior guard Martyce Kimbrough and senior forward Taren Sullivan are back to lead the squad. Kimbrough earned honorable mention all-American accolades for the Oilers last season and was also a first team all-conference and first team all-region pick. Sullivan meanwhile earned first team all-conference and second team all-region honors.
Kimbrough finished last season averaging 19.3 points per game. He set school records for most made three pointers (114) and most attempted triples (282) while shooting 40.4 percent from long range. His 617 points scored were also the eighth-highest total in school history.
Sullivan averaged 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He also shot a team-high 55.2 percent (233-of-422) from the floor and made a team-high 44.8 percent (64-of-143) of his three point tries.
The Oilers also return senior guards Elijah Kahlig and Austin Gardner to a roster that also features a lot of young talent. Kahlig averaged 10.9 points per game and shot 41.3 percent (76-of-184) from behind the three point line. Gardner meanwhile averaged 5.2 points and 6.3 assists per game before an injury cut his season short.
In addition, Ferris State University, Augustana University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, the University of Southern Indiana and Montevallo University will compete in the event.
Ferris State finished last season with a 28-5 record and were ranked 14th in the final national poll. Augustana, who won the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championship, finished last year with a 24-9 record while Kentucky Wesleyan wrapped up their 2016-17 campaign with a 28-3 record and were ranked fifth in the final poll. Southern Indiana meanwhile ended last year ranked 16th nationally with a 25-5 mark while Montevallo finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 17-10 record.
"I sincerely congratulate the eight teams that have been selected for this unique and special event that has quickly become the finest in-season event in NCAA Division II basketball. Additionally, I'd like to sincerely thank the Division II Conference Commissioners Association and the NCAA for granting the exemption for the Hall of Fame Classic. This gesture provides tremendous credibility, and we are truly grateful."
Hall of Fame Classic Schedule
Friday, Nov. 3
Saturday, Nov. 4