Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks men's basketball team saw significant improvement last year and hope to maintain that momentum heading into the 2019-2020 season. The Eagles made a big jump from year one to year two under head coach Travis Carruthers. The Eagles went 7-18 last season and had five more conference wins than the previous season. The Eagles finished just one spot away from making the playoffs. The Eagles return three starters for the upcoming season. Junior point guard Bryson Johnson is back after an All-Conference season. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.0 assists per game. Junior guard Ethan Bowman and senior forward Kelvin Knight saw starts last season.
"Our biggest strength is continuity," said Carruthers. "We bring 13 guys back from last year's group. We want to build on the momentum from last season. But it is easier said than done because the conference is so tough. The expectations around the team are high. The guys are pushing each other. We want to make the conference tournament."
The Eagles will need to shoot the ball better from the outside in order to be successful, according to Carruthers.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well from the outside, so we had some heart to heart conversations with our guys and they took it and improved on it," he said. "We also have stressed defensive effort and rebounding the basketball from day one."
Returner Starters: Bryson Johnson (guard), Ethan Bowman (guard), Kelvin Knight (center)
Key Players Off The Bench From 2018-19 (returning): Cory Wilhelm (center), Tim Turpin (forward), Cordy Winston (guard), Jacobe Davis (guard), Zach Bobo (guard), Sean Cohns (forward), Darnel Renelique (forward)
Newcomers: Seth Duke (guard), James Helzer (forward), Coleman Wheeler (forward), Casey Davis (guard)
Top Returning Scorer: Bryson Johnson (12.5)
Top Returning Assist Leader: Bryson Johnson (4.0)
Top Returning Rebound Leader: Darnel Renelique (4.2)
Team Field Goal Percentage: 43.5%
Team Opponent Field Goal Percentage: 46.0%
Team Scoring Per Game: 74.9
All-Conference Players Returning: Bryson Johnson
2018-19 Record (ASC): 7-18 (6-10 ASC)
2018-19 Conference Finish: Fifth (East Division)
Coach Carruthers Quote
"Our biggest strength is continuity. We bring 13 guys back from last year's group."
8 Rhodes College - Home
11 Hendrix College - Home
15 Austin College - Home
23 ^Millsaps College at Jackson, Miss.
24 ^Birmingham Southern at Jackson, Miss.
29 %Nebraska Wesleyan at Lincoln, Neb.
30 %Buena Vista at Lincoln, Neb.
4 *at Texas-Dallas
14 at Austin College
29 at Hendrix College
2 *at Mary Hardin-Baylor
4 *at Concordia University Texas
9 *at LeTourneau University
11 *at East Texas Baptist University
16 *Belhaven University - Home
18 *Louisiana College - Home
23 *at Howard Payne University
25 *at Sul Ross State University
1 *Texas-Dallas - Home
6 *East Texas Baptist University - Home
8 *LeTourneau University - Home
13 *at Louisiana College
15 *at Belhaven University
20 *McMurry University - Home
22 *Hardin-Simmons University (Senior Day) - Home
27-29 American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament
^Millsaps College Tournament
%Nebraska Wesleyan University Snyder Classic
Home Games in BOLD