Southeastern Men Eighth in GAC Preseason Hoops Poll

Southeastern will open the 2014-15 season picked to finish eighth in the Great American Conference men's basketball preseason poll released on Wednesday afternoon.

The Savage Storm are coming off a 9-18 season with a 6-14 conference mark and a hard-fought 63-58 first round loss to Arkansas Tech in the GAC tournament.

SE loses is top scorer from a season ago in Urald King, but returns three of its top five scorers from that team.

Taylor Smaller is the team's top returning scorer at 11.9 ppg, while also leading the way in assists with 4.1 assists per contest.

He will be joined by Darius Harris who averaged 8.8 ppg and is the team's top returning rebounder with 6.9 rebounds per game, as well as Anton Cook who turned in 7.0 ppg last season.

Southeastern picked up 34 points in the poll to finish just ahead of Southern Arkansas in ninth and eight points behind Ouachita Baptist in seventh.

Arkansas Tech is the preseason favorite with 96 points and eight of the 11 first place votes.

They are followed by Harding who collected 86 points and two first place nods, while Southwestern Oklahoma State is third with 79 points and the final first place vote.

East Central is picked fourth with 70 points and Henderson State is fifth with 65 points.

Southern Nazarene was picked sixth, followed by OBU, SE and SAU, while Northwestern Oklahoma State was picked 10th and Arkansas-Monticello 11th.

Southeastern will open the 2014-15 season with a trio of exhibition games against NCAA Division I competition beginning with a trip to Lubbock, Texas, for a 7 p.m. matchup with Texas Tech on Nov. 3.

That will be followed by a Nov. 6 trip to take on Texas-San Antonio at 7 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas, and a Nov. 9 matchup in El Paso, Texas, against Texas-El Paso at 4 p.m.

The Storm open the regular season at the MIAA/GAC Challenge in Tahlequah, Okla., with a 2 p.m. contest against former conference rival Central Oklahoma.

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