After just missing the basketball playoffs for the first time under Patriot coach Kenny Bizot last season, UT Tyler is determined to get back to the postseason.
The Patriots open their season tonight against Paul Quinn College. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at the Herrington Patriot Center on The University of Texas at Tyler campus.
The Patriots are picked to finish fourth in the American Southwest Conference East Division. UT Dallas, East Texas Baptist and Mississippi College are picked in front of UT Tyler.
Following the Patriots are Louisiana College, Ozarks and LeTourneau.
UT Tyler played an exhibition game at Texas State on Tuesday and fell 88-66, but the Division III Patriots impressed their Division I counterparts from San Marcos.
“I’m going to give UT Tyler a lot of credit,” Bobcats coach Doug Davalos said. “They came out and played hard.”
Texas State senior forward Matt Staff said, “UT Tyler is not a bad team at all. They’re scrappy, they get in to you and they are going to be physical. They were only down by 10 most of the game. In the last five minutes we started to pull away with free throws, but they’re not bad at all, even with the height disadvantage.”
Jordan Cannon, a 5-11 guard from Las Vegas, led the Patriots with 13 points and four assists. He is a transfer from Feather River College in Quincy, Calif. He sat out last year after playing at the California school in 2010-11.
Travis Dykman, a 6-3 forward from Crandall, added 12 points. He is a transfer from Emporia State in Emporia, Kan.
Joining Cannon and Dykman as starters against the Bobcats were Darren Houliston, Nathan Harbour and Joe Stephens.
Houliston, a 6-4 senior forward from Euless, returns for his second season with the Patriots. Last year, the Texas Wesleyan transfer started 24 of 25 games for UT Tyler, averaging 12.9 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Harbour, a 6-4 junior forward from Graham, is in his first season with the Patriots. He is a transfer from Wayland Baptist.
Stephens is another newcomer. He was all-conference at the University of Dallas. The 6-3 junior guard is from Flower Mound.
After tonight’s game, the Patriots return to play Nov. 24, opening ASC play against Howard Payne in Brownwood.
Men’s Basketball Schedule
Nov. 17 Paul Quinn 7 p.m.
Nov. 24 at Howard Payne 3 p.m.
Nov. 29 at Schreiner 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1 at Texas Lutheran 3 p.m.
Dec. 3 at McNeese State 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 Jarvis Christian 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 8 Hardin-Simmons 3 p.m.
Dec. 15Northwood 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 19 at Sul Ross 3 p.m.
Dec. 28 at Rhodes 5 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Millsaps 1 p.m.
Jan. 3 Concordia 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 Mary Hardin-Baylor 3 p.m.
Jan. 10 at Ozarks 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 at UT Dallas 3 p.m.
Jan. 15 at ET Baptist 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 19LeTourneau 3 p.m.
Jan. 24 Louisiana College 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 Mississippi College 3 p.m.
Jan. 31 UT Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2 Ozarks 3 p.m.
Feb. 5 East Texas Baptist 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 at LeTourneau 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 14 at Mississippi Col. 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Louisiana Col. 3 p.m.