ST. PAUL -- The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Game of the Week is a feature that takes place each week throughout the conference portion of the season with one contest being selected and highlighted as the UMAC Game of the Week.
The week's UMAC Game of the Week will take place on Friday, January 18 as the North Central and Crown men's basketball teams tipoff at 7:30 p.m. The game features the two teams battling for a spot in the top of the UMAC men's basketball standings.
The matchup between Crown and North Central will be a showcase of two of the most dynamic players in the UMAC. Crown's Anthony Di Loreto currently leads the UMAC in rebounding and blocks while North Central's Nate Roeder leads the conference in scoring and is second in assists.
About the Rams
North Central is off to a solid start this season, earning a 7-6 overall mark and a 2-1 league record. The Rams opened conference play with a narrow 87-83 loss to Northwestern on January 8. But the team rebounded with a pair of wins in their first weekend conference double-header. NCU outlasted Bethany Lutheran 103-94 last Friday before edging Martin Luther College, 74-73, on Saturday evening. The Rams victory over Martin Luther came on a pair of free throws with less than 2 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Rams are led in scoring, assists and steals by senior Nathan Roeder. Roeder leads the UMAC in scoring (24.5 overall/24.0 UMAC) and steals (3.1/2.3). He is second in the UMAC in assists with 4.7 APG (3.0 UMAC). Junior Bryce Burkman leads NCU in rebounding and is third in the league with 7.3 RPG (8.7 UMAC) while scoring 14.4 points a contest (11.7 UMAC). Junior Jordan Harrell and sophomore Luke Chafin also average double figure scoring with 14.2 and 12.5 points per game respectively.
About the Storm
The Storm are 6-8 overall and 1-2 in UMAC play and are led by junior Anthony Di Loreto who currently leads Crown in scoring(17.8), rebounding (11.9), assists (3.4), and blocks (3.4), posting the top marks in the UMAC for rebounding and blocks. Junior Truman Shetler follows Di Loreto in scoring, currenlty averaging 12.8 points per game.
For Crown, the second semester, including the start to conference play, has not been as kind as the early part of their schedule. The team has struggled on the offensive end, shooting just 38.8% from the field through three UMAC games. Those struggles have been amplified from beyond the arc where Crown has shot a woeful 23.9%.
- Crown's Di Loreto and North Central's Roeder combine to be have eight top five rankings in the UMAC statistical leaders.
- The pace of play will be huge as North Central comes in averaging 86.7 points per game while giving up 84.7 per night. Crown is exactly 24 points off that pace at 62.7 points per game while allowing the third lowest total in the league at 68.7.
- Through three games, North Central has shot 29 more free throws than any other team in the UMAC, Crown is tied for the least amount of free throw attempts.
- A key matchup to watch will be the offensive efficiency of North Central's Bryce Burkman (71.4% FG) and Jordan Harrell (50% FG) against the formidable defense of Crown's Anthony Di Loreto (4.7 bpg)
- The Rams swept Crown last season in both meetings between the then non-conference opponents. NCU took an 85-82 win in St. Bonifacius on December 1 before earning an 85-77 win over the Storm on January 17 in Minneapolis.
- It took an NCU single game record, 44 points from Nathan Roeder for the Rams to get past Crown in the second match up between the two teams last season.
For information on other contests around the league this week, visit the UMAC live scoreboard.