Pilots land in KC

Published 03/17 2014 12:29AM

Updated 03/17 2014 12:41AM

KANSAS CITY, MO - The LSUS Pilots landed safely in Kansas City, where the men's basketball team will begin preparation for the first round of the NAIA National Tournament.

This year marks the 10th straight season the Pilots have made an appearance in the NAIA's version of the big dance. In 2013, LSUS made it to the final four, before falling in heartbreaking fashion on a last second three-pointer to eventual national champion Georgetown (KY).

The LSU Shreveport Pilots will be the 13th seed in this year's Buffalo Funds NAIA National Tournament, They will face the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers. The first round tip-off will be on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 6:15 p.m. CDT at Kansas City's Historic Municipal Auditorium.

LSUS head Coach Kyle Blankenship is thankful that is team will not have the early morning game, "We were so excited to see that we have a prime time game. I found out in preseason that this team did not function very well in the morning, so the later game will play to our strengths."  The first games of the first round begin at 9 a.m. but the Pilots will more than likely be getting some extra rest.

The Pioneers (23-10) received an automatic bid as the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament champions as they defeated Evangel (Mo.), who is also in this year's national tournament, 77-67 in the AAC championship game giving them their sixth consecutive win to give them some momentum heading into the national tournament.

MidAmerica is led by their 6-8 forward Luke Thomas who leads the NAIA with 13.2 rebounds per game and also led the AAC averaging 20.3 points per game. Thomas also leads the NAIA with 10.2 defensive rebounds per game and 437 total rebounds.

The fast pace squad from Olathe, Missouri will basically be playing a home game as they will travel just 25 northeast to Kansas City for the tournament. The Pioneers rank in the top eight in the NAIA in 10 difference categories.


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