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Eagles Qualify For Tournament

February 18, 2002
By cnp
Posted in Athletics

Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles (14-11), (7-5) qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive season and will travel to Abilene, Texas to play McMurry University on February 22 at 5:30 p.m.

The championship game is set for February 23 at 3:00 p.m. Only the top two teams from the each division qualify for the playoffs. The Eagles, a 78-67 winner over LeTourneau on Saturday, qualified for the tournament under first year head coach Matt O’Connor. "I think qualifying for the tournament is a nice mark for our program, especially considering all of the new faces this season," said O’Connor. "It’s been a pretty good year for us. It took a team effort for all of our guys to buy into the system and to go with what we were trying to emphasis. Brian Henderson and Ricky Johnson have set good examples for the rest of the team to follow." The Eagles continue to be one of the top scoring teams in the American Southwest Conference. The Eagles averaged 80.5 points per game to the end the regular season, fourth best in the league. The Eagles have also used a trio of guards and the steady play of Brent Gibbs to propel the squad into the playoffs. Guards Ricky Johnson, Mandrell Howell and Brent Johnson are each averaging more than ten points per game and Gibbs is shooting 54 percent from the field, fifth best in the league. Senior Brian Henderson finished an impressive week of play by averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in last three games. The Eagles will perhaps face their stiffest challenge of the year when they face an Indian team that went to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 the previous two seasons. "It’s going to be another tough match up," said O’Connor. "We haven’t had an easy conference game all year and this will be no different. McMurry is real athletic and likes to push the ball up the court. I want this to be an enjoyable experience for the kids and hope we can learn from it."