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Vincennes University raises national champion banner, handles Salukis

VINCENNES, Ind. - The Vincennes University men’s basketball team raised the 2019 NJCAA Division 1 championship banner to the rafters in the Physical Education Complex, then picked up right where it left off in the spring with a convincing 70-50 season-opening win over Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis) in the 58th annual Kiwanis Classic on Friday.

The Trailblazers, ranked first in the NJCAA Division 1 preseason poll, used an 11-0 run spanning the first and second halves to pull away from the Salukis, coached by former University of Memphis and NBA star Cedric Henderson.

The Trailblazers led just 34-31 entering the final three minutes of the opening half, but stretched the margin to 39-31 at the break. Then, VU took control of the game by scoring the first six points of the second half for a 45-31 lead.

VU would eventually lead by as many as 23 points, 68-45, as the game wound down.

VU Statistical Leaders

Sophomore Kevin Osawe (Brampton, Ontario), the MVP of last year’s NJCAA Finals, picked up where he left off by scoring a team-high 22 points. Osawe finished 8 of 18 from the floor and made 5 of 6 from the foul line. He added five rebounds and an assist.

Sophomore Kevin Kone (Osny, France) added a double-double, with 12 rebounds and 11 points. Redshirt freshman Randy Tucker (Rock Island, Ill.) reached double figures with 11 points, while sophomore Craig Porter (Terre Haute, Ind.) added eight points, a team-high four assists, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Sophomore Chinedu Okanu (Gary, Ind.) and freshman Christian Wells (Muncie, Ind.) both scored seven points, while sophomore Chuka Mekkam (Portland, Ore.) contributed two points and three assists and sophomore Colton Sandage (Bloomington, Ill.) finished with two points and two assists.

VU Coach Todd Franklin says. . .

“It was a good win for the first game. There were obviously many things wrong, but that’s what’s going to happen. I thought for the most part we tried hard. We didn’t always try hard to do the things we’ve worked on in practice every day, and when we didn’t, we paid a price for it.”

Notes

• While the fourth championship banner in VU history was being celebrated, Franklin was recognized prior to the game for his 600th coaching victory, earned during the 2019 NJCAA Finals.

• The win left the Trailblazers with a 107-10 all-time record in the Kiwanis Classic, and a 2-1 mark all-time against the Salukis.

• The Trailblazers held a 39-26 advantage on the backboards, and made 16 turnovers, compared to 20 for Southwest Tennessee.

• While VU hit 17 of 24 free throws, the Salukis went to the line just 12 times, making five.

• The VU defense held Southwest Tennessee to 37-percent shooting, as it was 20 of 54 from the floor. The Trailblazers hit 25 of 54 shots for 46 percent.

• In the opening game of the Kiwanis Classic, Harcum College decked Shawnee Community College 83-67.

Next up

The Trailblazers conclude play in the Kiwanis Classic at 7 p.m. EDT on Nov. 2 against Harcum College, the only NJCAA Division 1 team from the state of Pennsylvania.

Follow Trailblazer athletics on Twitter @VUBlazerSports and Facebook

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Vincennes University Newsroom
Vincennes University Trailblazer Athletics

MARCIA MARTINEZ, Sports Information Director & University Life Reporter

   812-888-4162 office, 812-887-4635 cell, VUNews@vinu.edu, mmartinez@vinu.edu
 

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom

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