NAIA Hoops Report Game of the Week: No. 2 Grace (IN) @ No. 3 Arizona Christian
Who: No. 2 Grace @ No. 3 Arizona Christian
When: December 13th @ 6pm CT
Where: ACU Events Center – Glendale, AZ
Watch: Arizona Christian University on the GSAC Sports Network
Tale of the Tape
Our NAIA Game of the Week features a Top 5 non-conference matchup being played in Arizona between two teams who made it to Municiple Auditorium last season. Arizona Christian has played a tough schedule already and the Lancers may be one of the toughest matchups for them to-date. We will see if ACU is at full strength yet, but you can expect our two game changers to have a lot of say on the outcome of today’s game. The other matchup to key in on, is Bryce Davis vs Elijah Malone. Bryce is one of the best mid-post players in the NAIA. He is really skilled in the 10-15 ft areas of the floor and has a reputation for getting opposing big men in foul trouble. The other key item to watch today is the 3pt shooting. The Lancers don’t average a ton of makes per game, and ACU is coming off of a 1-14 outing against OUAZ. Grace, with their height at all positions, likes to post up their guards a ton. Expect them today, to try and use that to their advantage in this matchup as well. All in all, these are two pretty evenly matched teams, that play at good pace, and aren’t afraid to get physical in the paint. Both are also really well coached, so it will be fun to watch some of the in-game adjustments that are made to try and counter the other teams’ schemes.
Frankie Davidson 6’7 Jr.
The All-American, Aka…the silent assassin has been a mismatch for teams the past two seasons. He has been in double digits every game this season with four games of 20+. He is as an efficient of a player as there is in the NAIA with a slash line of 54%/46%/83%. He is so good from all three levels and is a super smart player off the ball. Frankie is the true definition of a game changer as he can hurt you in so many ways and has shown that he has that “take over a game” talent.
Trent Hudgens 6’4 Soph.
Trent Hudgens has been a real game changer for ACU this season. Especially as the Firestorm has needed to fill the void of Dennis Flowers this semester. Hudgens has scored in double figures every game thus far and his three best games this season were against ranked/RV opponents. There is no doubt that Grace will have a game plan for him, and most likely will guard him with the size and length of the Gibbs twins, but Hudgens is really playing some good basketball over his past four games.
22 Brycen Graber 6’3 So. 4.3ppg/1.3rpg/4.8apg
10 Jakob Gibbs 6’5 So. 11.7ppg/4.7rpg/2.5apg
05 Cade Gibbs 6’6 So. 13.6ppg/4.8rpg/1.4apg
32 Frankie Davidson 6’7 Jr. 17.8ppg/5.8rpg/2.2apg
50 Elijah Malone 6’10 Jr. 13.4ppg/7.3rpg/2.3bpg
01 Angelo Johnson 5’8 Sr. 8.9ppg/4.1rpg/3apg
03 Trent Hudgens 6’1 So. 15.3ppg/3.2rpg/2.2apg
14 Paul Hayden 6’5 Jr. 12.9ppg/3.8rpg.
11 Minkah Blackwell 6’6 Jr. 9ppg/6.5rpg
24 Bryce Davis 6’7 Sr. 12ppg/6.4rpg
The Lancers are coming off of their first loss of the season. A game, that was a bit of a trap game on the road against Taylor, knowing you were leaving for Arizona for a Top 5 showdown the next day. The Lancers haven’t played great on the road this season, but they have, until this past Saturday, found ways to win. Expect this team to be locked in today though, as this is a game that we could see replayed in Kansas City in March. Frankie Davidson, as mentioned above, is the leader of this talented Lancers squad that can hurt you in so many ways. Elijah Malone, at times, is one of the best big men in the country. Jakob and Cade Gibbs are talented play makers who help keep defenses honest and make it harder to scheme against Davidson and Malone. The Lancers have good depth off the bench as well. All of these will be on display tonight, as the Lancers try to bounce back from their first loss of the season!
The Firestorm come into this game a little banged up. Dennis Flowers has yet to play a game and All-American, Angelo Johnson, has been out for most of the past 3 games as well. However, Sophomore D1 Transfer, Trent Hudgens has really started to emerge as an elite scoring threat for ACU and Bryce Davis, well continues to be Bryce Davis. ACU is also getting a lot out of Paul Hayden this season as well. We will see if Angelo makes a return for this game. His veteran leadership and defensive prowess will be needed. ACU though has already proven how tough they are to beat inside the ACU Events Center. They currently sit at 8-0 at home with two Top 15 wins over No. 4 College of Idaho and No. 12 Montana Tech. They will look to add another Top 5 win to the resume today!