For the most part, it was a great opening day in NAIA basketball. There were plenty of great basketball games, some big-time player performances and even a couple of upsets! The only real blemish, on an otherwise great night, was the unfortunate fact that some of the streams weren’t great quality. It is opening night for broadcasts too, so if you went to watch a game you don’t normally watch, and the quality wasn’t great, don’t give up on NAIA hoops after Day 1! 95% of the feeds you watch during the season won’t just be high quality, but the NAIA also has some of the best game announcers in college basketball!
- National Player of the Year candidate, Riley Minix, put out an early statement with a 41 point, 22 rebound double-double to start his season. He led #17 Southeastern (FL) to a 94-65 win over Fisher.
- We mentioned him in our NAIA Preseason Magazine, but MACU newcomer, DaRaun Clark is really good. The D2 transfer from Colorado – Colorado Springs put up 32pts in his NAIA debut. He also tied Charlie Shorter’s NAIA era single-game free throws record by going 15-17 from the FT line. MACU got the 107-98 win over Kansas Christian, a game that was played in the Paycom Center ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder game!
- The first NAIA Men’s player to get an official basket in the 22-23 season was LSU Alexandria’s Jadarrian Allen, who made a 3-pointer. LSU-Alexandria would also get the first win of any men’s program, with an 88-77 win over North American.
- We got our first buzzer beater of the season last night as York College went on the road to defeat a good Doane team, 82-81 after Doane missed a FT with 9 seconds left and York’s Dwight Glover came down the floor and hit the game winner!
- Two Top 25 Women’s teams were upset on Day 1. Southern Oregon knocked off #4 Carroll, 51-47 and Huntington defeated #24 Indiana Tech, 73-72.
Men’s Game of the Day Recaps
- Talladega 78 – Columbia International 65
- What a great showing here for Talladega. A team with zero returners and a new head coach, this Dega team has some really nice pieces! Keshawn Pegues led the way with a 17pt, 13reb double-double. While they have a new head coach, the Tornadoes looked like the defensive minded team from last year as they held CIU to just 41% from the field and 26.1% from 3. Darrian Oates paced five Rams in double figures, with 17.
- Shawnee State 76 – Rio Grande 70
- Shawnee jumped out to a big lead early, but Rio was able to scrap back into this one and make it a game, but the early deficit was too much to overcome. Shawnee got 17pts/10reb from Latavious Mitchell. Jaiden Guice also pitched in a game high 17pts in the win. Rio got 17pts from Shiloah Blevins in the loss. Looking ahead, to when these two are in the same league next season, this is going to be a fun rivalry to watch two times a year. Rio traveled really well last night, as there was a sea of red in those bleachers. They already have a history of some fun games over the past few seasons and now that rivalry is only going to escalate with these games being conference games!
Women’s Game of the Day Recaps
- (Exhibition) D2 Azusa Pacific 72 – The Master’s 62
- We put two exhibition games down because you don’t see a ton of NAIA teams hosting NCAA D2 or D1 opponents and last night we had two of them. The Master’s (CA) battled tough in this one, but ultimately fell short in a 72-62 loss.
- (Exhibition) D2 MSU Billings 62 – Rocky Mountain 53
- Another hard-fought exhibition game by an NAIA program. Rocky did lead after the 1st quarter of action. However, it was the 2nd quarter that ultimately doomed them as they were outscored 19-11 and MSU Billings never looked back. Rocky was led by 15pts from Kloie Thatcher.
More Game Recaps
- On the Men’s side:
- #14 Marian defeated Saint Xavier, 92-64 behind a 17-36 3pt shooting display! Hayden Langkabel and Josh Bryan paced the Knights with 17pts apiece.
- #21 Florida College defeated former SSAC foe Middle Georgia State, 98-65. All-American, Matt Simpson, led the way with 20pts and 9 rebounds. Anthony Bitter had 10 assists in the win.
- #19 IU South Bend rolled to a 94-66 win over Manchester. NAIA transfer, Dejon Barney (Lincoln) made his presence known with a 23pt,10reb outing in his IUSB debut. Donyell Meredith also added 22pts and 8rebs in the win.
- RV Cumberlands (KY) took care of Milligan, 84-69. They were led by All-American, Jahi Hinson’s 26pts.
- On the Women’s Side
- Oakland City and Roosevelt were the first official NAIA game of the season. Oakland City defeated Roosevelt 109-85. Davinique Campbell and Jalaya Dowell both had 17pts for the Mighty Oaks in the win. Jayla Turchin had 26pts, 8rebs to lead Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s, Amelia McNutt, gets the 1st basket of the NAIA season with a made 3-pointer!