Kentucky Wesleyan’s men’s basketball team will know where it stands in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference pecking order following Thursday’s home game against national power Findlay.
Tipoff is set for 7:45 p.m. at the Sportscenter.
Findlay — ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division II — comes in 7-1 overall, 6-1 in the G-MAC, and KWC head coach Drew Cooper understands the challenge in front of the Panthers.
“Findlay is a very well-rounded program in every facet,” Cooper said. “They have talented players, they’re very disciplined, and they are very well-coached — they are a complete program from A to Z.
“They are a very physical, athletic team, and the keys for us will be to rebound well and pass the ball well, to earn some unchallenged shots.”
Findlay is paced by senior forward Anthony Masterlasco, who averages 14.5 points per game. Other double-digit scorers include sophomore forward Nathan Bruns (11.9 ppg) and senior guard Tommy Schmock (11.1 ppg).
Findlay averages 80 points per game, shoots 49% from the field, including 35% from 3-point range, and makes 80% of its free throws.
“Masterlasco leads them in scoring, Bruns is a great inside-out player, and Schmock is probably the best passer in the league, the key to their transition offense,” Cooper said. “They run good stuff and they play very hard.”
Wesleyan, meanwhile, is also playing well — coming in 5-2 in all games and 4-2 within the league following Saturday’s lopsided 85-50 conquest of Ohio Valley in Vienna, West Virginia.
In that game, the Panthers blistered the nets at a 58% clip, and made 7-of-16 shots from distance. KWC’s balanced attack included 15 points from both Zach Hopewell and Wyatt Battaile, 14 from Tre Cobbs, and 11 off the bench from Ben Sisson.
The Panthers dominated the Fighting Scots on the glass, holding a 41-29 rebounding edge.
“We’re playing well right now and we’re trending in the right direction with our shooting,” Cooper said. “I like what I’m seeing from our basketball team. We’ve established some momentum and we want to take advantage of this on our home court.
“We want to believe we belong against Findlay. I want us to believe with every ounce in our bones that if we win on Thursday night it would not be an upset.
“We have a great opportunity in front of us.”
Following Thursday’s clash with Findlay, the Panthers remain at home with a 2:15 p.m. game on Saturday against Hillsdale.