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Lions: Competitive field set for UAFS Classic

Fresh off an easy win against Central Baptist College in its season opener last weekend, the UAFS men’s basketball team will host the four-team Lions Classic this weekend at the Stubblefield Center.

UAFS coach Josh Newman said it will be a very competitive classic with the Henderson State Reddies, the Ouachita Baptist Tigers and the Rogers State Hillcats also competing in the two-day event that begins on Friday.

Henderson State will play Rogers State at 5 p.m. and UAFS will play Ouachita Baptist at 7 p.m. on Friday, and Henderson State will play UAFS at 2:30 p.m. and Ouachita Baptist will play Rogers State at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

All four teams boast a combined 6-1 record coming into the classic.

Live statistics and webcast of all games will be available at Lions Fan Central on the UAFS athletics website. Saturday’s UAFS-Henderson State game will be broadcast on KHGG-FM 103.1 and via the Internet.

“Henderson State comes in with a 2-0 record after picking up two big road wins over MIAA teams, and Ouachita Baptist is also 2-0 after opening at home,” Newman said.

The Lions, who are the favorites to win the Heartland Conference regular-season title, made their regular-season debut with a convincing 116-61 win against Central Baptist College last Saturday.

And, the Lions posted the big win with a roster of only seven active players. Six of those seven players scored in double-figures led by freshman guard Seth Youngblood, who scored 24 points and made six 3-pointers.

“I thought our guys – the seven who played – played extremely unselfish,” Newman said. “I thought we executed our game plan, and it was great to see the young guys have success.”

With only seven players, Newman was a little more cautious defensively against the Mustangs, toning down the Lions’ normally aggressive style of play. Still, UAFS allowed just 61 points to a team that was averaging 74 points per game going into the game.

“Well, we played a lot more zone than I wanted to, but with only seven guys dressed out, I was very worried about foul trouble,” Newman said. “Even though I didn’t want to play a lot of zone, I felt like our zone was very effective.”

UAFS will have almost its entire 13-player active roster suited up for this weekend’s classic, so the Lions will have even more potential scorers available.

“I’ve always said my goal would be to have 10 guys average 10 points per game,” Newman said. “I think this team has a lot of guys that can score in different ways. Having six to eight guys who can score will make it very difficult for teams to prepare for us.”

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