SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 7, 2019) – The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) men's basketball team has released its 2019-2020 schedule. The Saints will bid for their fourth Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) title in 10 years and its fifth trip to the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
Head Coach Chris Dial commented on the upcoming season, saying, "Having completed the survival year in our first season, my staff and I are excited about the 2019-2020 group that we've assembled. We were able to retain some of our key players from last year and add some important pieces as we look ahead to this season. Right now, the guys are working hard and doing everything they can to meet our expectations and the high standards of precedent that come with being a student-athlete at OLLU. We understand that rebuilding years are challenging, but our players and staff are really looking forward to meeting those challenges head on and representing our university well."
The Saints have 12 home games and 18 away games on the schedule. They will play each of their nine RRAC opponents twice – once at home and away. Competing in the RRAC and their standings from last season are: LSU-Alexandria (30-4/17-1), LSU-Shreveport (23-11/14-4), Wiley College (24-7/14-4), University of St. Thomas (23-11/11-7), Huston-Tillotson University (13-13/11-7), Texas College (10-22/8-10), OLLU, Paul Quinn College (6-22/4-14), Jarvis Christian College (4-21/4-14) and the University of the Southwest (5-20/3-15).
In 2018-2019, LSU-Alexandria captured the regular-season title, and as the No. 2-ranked team in the NAIA, the Generals finished their season in the quarterfinals at nationals. As the No. 12-ranked team in the NAIA, Wiley, finished its season in the second round; the No. 17-ranked team in the NAIA; LSU-Shreveport ended its season in the second round; and the No. 22-ranked team in the NAIA, University of St. Thomas finished its season in the opening round of nationals. St. Thomas, who captured the conference tournament title, has since transferred to the NCAA as a D3 school.
This year's conference lineup has added Texas A&M University-Texarkana, who is playing its inaugural season.
Dial will begin his second season as the head coach. Last season the Saints finished with a 7-19 record overall and a 5-13 mark in RRAC play. Dustin Karrer, Aaron Tavitas and BJ Alzaid each return for their second year as assistant coaches. Returning players include senior Michael Saladin (SR/Beaumont, Texas) and Lennox Jones, juniors Cameron Fields (JR/Kerrville, Texas), Christian Fields (JR/Kerrville, Texas), Darin Minniefield (JR/Houston, Texas) and Carlson Goode (JR/Blythewood, S.C.) and sophomores Ruben Monzon (SO/San Diego, Calif.), Xavier Woodington (SO/Honolulu, Hawaii) and Finn Wilczek (SO/Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany).
After the Saints welcome alumni for a scrimmage on Oct. 12, the team will travel to Langston, Okla., on Oct. 31, for a nonconference game against NAIA Langston University. The Saints are 14-5 all-time against Langston but have lost four of the last five matchups.
(All-time records are listed below in parenthesis.)
Following the first game of the season, the Saints will continue their road trip for three more nonconference games from Nov. 1 to Nov. 9. They will play Southwestern Assemblies of God University (6-3), Oklahoma City University (1-3) and Texas Wesleyan University (6-6). All are NAIA schools.
The Saints will then be home for their first game of the year at Mabee Gymnasium on Nov. 14. OLLU will host a nonconference game against NAIA Southern University at New Orleans and are 0-1 against the Knights with an eight-point loss last season. During the game, the university will commemorate Veterans Day with a special ceremony during halftime.
Conference schedule begins
OLLU will head out for their longest road trip of the season following the home opener. The Saints will square off with six different teams, beginning with nonconference games against NAIA Dillard University (2-0) in New Orleans, La., NCAA D1 Alcorn State University (first game/exhibition) in Lorman, Miss., NCAA D2 Eckerd College (first game) in St. Petersburg, Fla., and NAIA Southeastern University (first game) in Lakeland, Fla. The team will open their conference schedule against Paul Quinn College (19-1) in Dallas, Texas, on Dec. 5, and the University of the Southwest (17-5) in Hobbs, N.M., on Dec. 7.
Following the road trip, the Saints return home to compete in a long homestand. They will face Texas College (16-5) and Jarvis (16-5) in conference games on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14. The Saints will then play another game against Texas Wesleyan on Dec. 17 and Southwestern Assemblies of God on Dec. 19, this time at home.
The Saints will stay in San Antonio but will be visitors in a scrimmage against the NCAA D1 University of Texas at San Antonio (first game/exhibition) on Dec. 28.
OLLU will concentrate on conference through the rest of the season, splitting the schedule even with seven at home and seven away. They will host Shreveport (9-12) on Jan. 9 and Alexandria (2-10) on Jan. 11.
The team will head out for Texarkana to play conference newcomer Texas A&M University – Texarkana on Jan. 16, followed by Wiley (15-8) on Jan. 18 and Huston-Tillotson (17-3) on Jan 25.
The Saints return to Mabee Gymnasium on Jan. 30 for a matchup against Paul Quinn, and on Feb. 1, against Southwest. They will hit the road against on Feb. 6 for a game against Texas College on Feb. 6, on Feb. 8 against Jarvis, Shreveport on Feb. 13 and Alexandria on Feb. 15.
They will return home to host Texarkana on Feb. 20, Wiley on Feb. 22 and Huston-Tillotson on Feb. 29. During this game, the Saints will honor seniors Jared Embry (SR/Paris, Texas), Jordan Embry (SR/Paris, Texas), Fields, Fields, Jones and Saladin.
The RRAC tournament will take place at LSU-Alexandria in Alexandria, La., March 5-7. Six teams will qualify for the tournament, with first rounds played between the third and sixth seeds and the fourth and fifth seeds. The semifinals match will be next with the winners of the first round against the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. On the last day of the tournament, the championship match will be held.
NAIA National tournament
The RRAC champion receives an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. The tournament will begin March 18 and conclude March 24 in Kansas City, Mo.
John Paul will be the in-game announcer for his first season. The live-streaming "Voice of the Saints," Michael Thompson, will return to call all home games.
Admission charge for all home games is $5 for adults, $3 for children, 7-17, and free for those younger than seven.
Stay up-to-date with the Saints on social media by utilizing #OLLUHoops.