MSU: Blackburn Named All-America

MSU Sports
MSU Sports

The Sporting News tabbed Midwestern State senior forward Xavier Blackburn an honorable mention preseason All-American as released in its annual College Basketball Yearbook now on newsstands.

The 6-4, 210-pound forward from Verdunville, La. earned second-team All-Lone Star Conference honors and was named to the league's all-defensive squad after helping the Mustangs to a sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs while claiming a third consecutive Lone Star Conference championship and fifth in the last six seasons.

Blackburn poured in 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the field in 2013-14.

The transfer swingman from North Dakota State Science was even better in LSC play scoring 14 points and pulling down a league-high 9.1 rebounds a game.

Blackburn posted six double-doubles including a 25-point, 14-rebound effort in a 72-66 win over Arkansas-Fort Smith in the opening of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional.

He spearheads a group of eight returning letter winners including senior Tavarion Nix, Derrell Gibbs, Abiodun Adegoke, Kevin Wagner and DeVaughn Jones as well as sophomores Pat Smith and Nick Powell. Devante Pullum is primed to make his first appearance as a redshirt freshman.

The Mustangs roster is bolstered by transfers Thad Rideau (UAB), Bretson McNeal (North Dakota State Science), Danny Lawhorn (Washington State), Hershell Grant (Clarendon College), Khapri Alston (Northeast CC (Neb.)), Alassane Ka (Hillsborough CC (Fla.)) and Trevor Fuller (San Diego).

Blackburn is one of only two Lone Star Conference players to receive preseason All-America honors from The Sporting News joining Tarleton State junior transfer Teven Jones.

Jones averaged 0.5 points, 0.2 rebounds and 0.2 assists in 4.3 minutes per game as a sophomore last season at Virginia.

Defending region champ Metropolitan State (Colo.) is the lone South Central team amongst the publication's preseason Top 10 joining No. 1 West Liberty (W. Va.), No. 2 Southern Connecticut State, No. 3 Cal Poly Pomona, No. 4 East Stroudsburg (Pa.), No. 5 Minnesota State-Mankato, No. 6 Metro State, No. 7 Montevallo (Ala.), No. 8 Philadelphia (Pa.), No. 9 Indiana (Pa.) and No. 10 South Carolina-Aiken.

Midwestern State opens up exhibition play by playing host to Oklahoma City on Nov. 1 at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

The Mustangs open the regular season at the Colorado State-Pueblo Al Kaly Shrine Classic taking on Western State Colorado on Friday, Nov. 14 and 3 p.m. and Colorado State-Pueblo the next day at 7 p.m.

Men's Soccer Moves Up Five Spots in Poll

Midwestern State moved up five spots to No. 13 in the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America Division II Top 25 released Tuesday afternoon.

The Mustangs extended their unbeaten streak to nine matches by taking a 4-0 win over Texas-Permian Basin Thursday before playing Dallas Baptist to a 1-1 draw on the road Monday night.

Midwestern is one of four teams from the South Central Region to receive mention in the poll joining No. 8 Regis (Colo.), No. 19 Metropolitan State (Colo.) and No. 23 St. Edward's (Texas).

Southern New Hampshire maintained its hold on the No. 1 spot followed by No. 2 Saginaw Valley State (Mich.), No. 3 Saint Leo (Fla.), No. 4 Charleston (W. Va.) and No. 5 Southern Connecticut State to round out the first five.

The Mustangs play host to rival West Texas A&M Saturday night at the MSU Soccer Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Women's Soccer Still Receiving Votes

Midwestern State received votes for the second straight week in the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America Top 25 released Tuesday afternoon.

The Mustangs saw their 15-match regular season unbeaten string come to an end with a 2-1 overtime loss to Texas A&M-Commerce on Sunday after play Texas Woman's to a 1-1 draw Friday night at the MSU Soccer Field.

MSU in one of six teams from the South Central Region to receive mention in the poll joining No. 5 Colorado Mines, No. 8 Angelo State (Texas) and No. 17 Metropolitan State (Colo.) while Regis (Colo.) and Western State Colorado are also receiving votes.

The Mustangs opened the season on a 10-match unbeaten streak for just the second time in program history before falling last weekend. The 2009 squad was the only other MSU side to pull off the feat rolling out to a 9-0-2 start.

Midwestern begins a four-match road stretch Friday at Eastern New Mexico before taking on West Texas A&M Sunday in Canyon.

Cross Country Still 4th in Regional Ranking

Midwestern State remained at No. 4 in the South Central Regional ranking for a third straight week as released Tuesday afternoon by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association.

The Mustangs boasted an impressive second-place showing at the Fifth Annual Roadrunner Invitational finishing five points behind winner Colorado-Colorado Springs, which moved up two spots to No. 3.

Adams State (Colo.) retained the top position after faring well at Lehigh's Paul Short Invitational placing 12th amongst the 38-team field finishing behind Division I Georgetown, Florida State, Yale, Cornell, Brown, Iona, Florida, Alabama, Johns Hopkins and Mississippi State.

No. 2 Western State Colorado finished fourth at the 29th Annual Rocky Mountain Shootout in Boulder placing behind Colorado, Colorado State and Northern Colorado.

Rounding out the rankings are No. 5 Metropolitan State (Colo.), No. 6 West Texas A&M, No. 7 Colorado Mesa, No. 8 Colorado Mines, No. 9 Dallas Baptist (Texas) and No. 10 Chadron State (Neb.).

Midwestern State competes in the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational Saturday in Shawnee before hosting the MSU Cross Country Carnival on Oct. 18 at the former Hawk Ridge Golf Course.