The Pioneers of Campbellsville University Harrodsburg ring in the new year with a two game road trip in Michigan starting with top ranked Great Lakes Christian College Tuesday.
The Pioneers, fresh from completing their toughest stretch of the season, enter conference play ready to start the new year with a fresh start.
Here are three key factors for the Pioneers to come home with the victory in Lansing.
Shaking The Rust
Despite the benefits of being well-rested, a long break can also be troublesome. The Pioneers last competed against Lee University on Dec. 11, a 94-72 loss. At the time, CU Harrodsburg competed against Nicholls State, McNeese State, Kentucky State and Lee University in a matter of nine days, all on the road. Now with fresh legs, Coach Austin Sparrow's greatest challenge may be finding his team's rhythm. If the Pioneers are able to overcome their rust quickly, they will be primed to overcome any obstacle facing them. Great Lakes will welcome Holy Family (WI) to Lansing on Monday, before taking on the Pioneers Tuesday. Prior to their contest Monday, Great Lakes' last game was an 87-68 loss at Grace on January 2nd.
Doing What We Do Best
In the first portion of the season, the Pioneers found their way offensively early in each contest. CU Harrodsburg has had two players in the top 25 within the NCCAA in scoring this season, with Jamal Weaver and Antoine Darby leading the Pioneers on offense. Tyrese Duncan has found his mark from deep consistently from the start of the season. Weaver (24.2 PPG) will look to catch fire early, after scoring 18 points against Lee. Darby, who suffered a lip injury requiring stitches against UC-Clermont on November 23rd, appears to be ready for one of his signature performances offensively. He has been amongst the nation's best three point shooters thus far this season, scoring a CU Harrodsburg record eight three-point field goals against Simmons on November 21st.
In the first weeks of the season, Campbellsville University Harrodsburg was ranked in the top 25 in the nation in defensive efficiency. From forced turnovers, steals, ball control and attacking the boards, the Pioneers have garnered a reputation of being a strong defensive team. Thus far, Kentucky State University is the only team to reach the century mark in non-exhibition competition against the Pioneers this season. Great Lakes is a strong offensive team that will test the Pioneers on the defensive end, but if the Pioneers are able to perform with their signature defensive presence, it will be hard for the Crusaders to find their way.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Lansing, MI on Tuesday.