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FSW men to open NJCAA Tournament play tonight

March 20, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The 6th-seeded Florida South-Western men's basketball team (29-2) will open NJCAA Tournament play with a second-round matchup against No. 11 seed and tournament host Hutchinson (29-6) at 9 p.m. today, March 21, at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Today's game, along with every game of the National Tournament, will be streamed live on NJCAA TV (

The winner of Wednesday night's game will advance to Thursday's, March 22, quarterfinal round against the winner of 3rd-seeded Vincennes and 14th-seeded Motlow State at 9 p.m.

Under the leadership of 2018 Suncoast Conference Coach of the Year Marty Richter, the Buccaneers earned the program's first Suncoast Conference championship (12-0 conference record), secured their second consecutive berth to the NJCAA District VIII Championship and were awarded the highest seed of the at-large bids to the National Tournament (6-seed).

As a team (through games played on March 13), FSW leads the nation in opponents' field goal percentage (36.7 percent) but they also rank in the top 25 nationally in multiple categories, including blocks per game (7.2; 4th), assists per game (20.9, 4th), defensive rebounds per game (32.2, 7th), steals per game (10.5, 11th), field goal percentage (51.2 percent, 13th), opponents' three-point field goal percentage (30.0 percent, 13th), points per game (91.5; 19th) and total points (2,837, 24th).

The Buccaneers have a lot of depth and balance as five different players average in double figures and seven players average 8.0 points per game or more, led by Tremell Murph and Tyler Cheese.

Murphy, the 2018 Suncoast Conference Player of the Year and two-time NJCAA National Player of the Week honoree, leads the Bucs in scoring (17.2 points) and ranks second in rebounds (6.5). In conference play, the Griffith, Ind. native averaged 16.8 points and 7.6 boards, while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from behind the three-point line.

Cheese, a 2018 Suncoast Conference first team selection, ranks second on the team in scoring (15.2 points) and leads the team in assists (6.7 assists). His 6.7 assists per game are second-best in Region VIII and rank him 13th in the nation.

The Blue Dragons were one of the eight at-large teams to qualify for the tournament field of 24. Hutchinson lost 82-80 to Coffeyville in the Region VI Tournament championship game on March 7.

Hutch is making their 21st appearance in the NJCAA Tournament. HCC is also making its fourth-consecutive appearance in the NJCAA Tournament.

The Blue Dragons are 49-24 all-time in NJCAA Tournament games. Hutch has advanced to the national semifinals 10 times and played in six championship games, winning in 1988, 1994 and 2017.


Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria in Fort Myers will be the official watch party location for the Florida SouthWestern men's basketball teams' NJCAA National Tourna-ment tonight.

Buccaneer fans are encouraged to wear their Purple and Aqua and join other Buc fans at Mona Lisa's, 7091 College Parkway, Fort Myers.



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