The Oklahoma Christian University men’s basketball team picked up the sixth seed as they head into the Heartland Conference tournament March 8.
Eight teams in the Heartland Conference advance to the conference tournament, which is hosted at the Union Multipurpose Activity Center in Tulsa, OK.
In their first game of the conference tournament, the Eagles will face Lubbock Christian University, who finished the season in third. Last time the two teams met on Feb. 23, the Eagles traveled to Lubbock, TX, and lost 60-79. However, when the Eagles battled the Chaparrals at the Nest Jan. 26, Oklahoma Christian won 72-57.
Oklahoma Christian clinched the sixth seed with their win Feb. 28 over the University of Arkansas- Fort Smith (UAFS) 88-73.
In the game against UAFS, senior Will Leinhard – a finance major who transferred last year from Oklahoma State University and who currently leads the NCAA Division II in rebounding – broke the Heartland Conference single-season record for most rebounds at 338.
After being a part of the first Oklahoma men’s basketball team to make it to the Heartland Conference championship game in the 2018 season, Leinhard shared his thoughts on the end of the regular season and his outlook going into the tournament.
Q: How did you feel the team closed out the regular season?
“I feel like we missed some opportunities as a whole, but I feel like we are starting to click and understand it all at the right time.”
Q: As a senior, what are your thoughts going into the tournament?
“We [the team] are excited that we made it and like where we are sitting on the bracket. I am excited to finish the season strong and shock some people.”
Q: What is the game plan going into the first tournament game?
“Just to take it one game at a time, and there is no reason to hold out but give it our all and see what happens.”
Q: Do you feel motivated after the team’s performance last season?
“I feel like we can do the same thing this year. We are capable of winning it all and can prove we are having a great time and can get over the hump from last year.”
Q: How is Coach Cole preparing the team?
“He is making sure we are relaxed both mentally and physically and to play for each other and be loose and free.”
Q: Realistically, what are your expectations going into tournament?
“To win the whole thing.”
The Eagles open tournament play Friday, March 8, against Lubbock Christian in Tulsa, OK, at 7:30 p.m. The tournament is single-elimination. To purchase tickets, visit this link.