Thirteenth Nationally-Ranked Saluqis Vie for Region Title, National Tournament Berth
The Southwest men's and women's basketball team will travel to Harriman, Tennessee, this week for the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII tournament hosted by Roane State. The tournament championship games are scheduled for March 8 at 2 p.m. (men) and 4 p.m. (women).
The Southwest men, 22-3 on the season and ranked 13th in the latest NJCAA Division 1 poll, enter the tournament as the number-two seed and will play at 6 p.m. EST on March 5 against the winner of the Roane State/Dyersburg State game (on March 4). The Saluqis, under the direction of first-year coach Jerry Nichols, are one of the top scoring teams in the NJCAA at 92.5 points per game. Four players average at least 10 points per game – sophomore forward Chris Hawkins (17.1), and sophomore guards Perrin Buford (13.6), Rasheed Brooks (13.3), and DeVante Jones (13.3). Hawkins, a University of Memphis signee, returned to action for the final three regular-season games after missing much of the season due to an injury. He is one of five Division 1 signees on the team. The others are Jones (Middle Tennessee State), Andre Brown (Arkansas-Little Rock), Jerron Washington (Arkansas-Little Rock) and Charles Waters (Arkansas State).
The Southwest women enter the tournament with an 8-16 record and are the number-six seed. They will take on number-three seed Cleveland State at 8 p.m. EST on March 6. The Lady Saluqis, coached by Andrea Martre, are led by sophomore forward Tatiana Allen who is the team's top scorer (14.2) and rebounder (7.7). Sophomore guard Ajee Smith averages 12.1 points per game and is the only other player scoring in double figures.
The tournament champions will advance to the NJCAA National Tournament March 17-22 in Hutchinson, Kansas, (men) and Salina, Kansas, (women).