ROCK HILL, S.C. --- The Tusculum University men's basketball team will be the No. 4 seed in the 2019 Pilot / Flying J South Atlantic Conference Championship and will host fifth-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne University in a quarterfinal contest this Wednesday night at Pioneer Arena. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m.
The Pioneers (16-12) finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference race with 12-8 league records along with Lenoir-Rhyne and Wingate University. Tusculum won the tiebreaker to earn the No. 4 seed, posting a 3-1 combined record against Lenoir-Rhyne and Wingate. Lenoir-Rhyne and Wingate split their two meetings and the Bears will get the No. 5 seed by virtue of its win over top-seeded Queens University of Charlotte last month.
The winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal match-up between Tusculum and Lenoir-Rhyne will advance to the SAC semifinal on Saturday at 5 p.m. against the winner of the Queens/Carson-Newman game. The semifinal and championship game will be played this weekend at Timmons Arena in Greenville, South Carolina on the campus of Furman University.
Tusculum enters the SAC Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the league with first-year head coach J.T. Burton at the helm. TU is riding a six-game winning streak and have won seven of their last eight contests including a 56-54 home win over Lenoir-Rhyne on Feb. 16, 2019. The Bears won the season's first encounter, 77-74 on Jan. 5, 2019 in Hickory, North Carolina.
The Pioneers are fresh off Saturday's 77-65 win over Wingate on TU's Senior Day to complete the season-sweep over the Bulldogs.
Queens is the top-seed by winning the SAC regular-season championship and will host No. 8 seed Carson-Newman on Wednesday. No. 2 seed Catawba will host seventh-seeded Anderson University, while No. 3 seed Lincoln Memorial University entertains sixth-seeded Wingate.
Tusculum hosts its fifth SAC Quarterfinal game in school history and first since Mar. 3, 2010 against Carson-Newman. The Pioneers are 3-1 when hosting a quarterfinal game including a 46-44 win over Lenoir-Rhyne in the 2002 tournament. Tusculum and Lenoir-Rhyne have met in the SAC Tournament two times with TU winning both including a 79-73 victory in the 2005 SAC Championship game.
Tusculum won the SAC Tournament in 2005, while Lenoir-Rhyne has been a three-time winner of the league's postseason championship (1993, 1995, 2003).
The SAC Championship game is slated for Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Timmons Arena with the winner claiming the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
2019 Pilot Flying J South Atlantic Conference Men's Basketball Championship
Quarterfinal - Wednesday, March 6, 2019 (campus sites)
No. 8 Carson-Newman at No. 1 Queens, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Anderson at No. 2 Catawba, 7 pm
No. 6 Wingate at No. 3 Lincoln Memorial, 7 pm
No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne at No. 4 Tusculum, 7 pm
Semifinal - Saturday, March 9, 2019 (Timmons Arena, Greenville, S.C.)
Queens/Carson-Newman winner vs. Tusculum/Lenoir-Rhyne winner, 5 pm
Catawba/Anderson winner vs. Lincoln Memorial/Wingate winner, 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 10, 2019 (Timmons Arena, Greenville, S.C.)
Championship Game, 4 pm