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Oxford ready to tip off season with Midnight Madness

OXFORD -- Fresh off a decisive 73-52 exhibition victory last Saturday over North Carolina-based Fundamentals 4 Success, the Oxford College men's basketball team will officially introduce themselves tonight with a Midnight Madness event at Williams Gymnasium.

Oxford coach Roderick Stubbs said Tuesday that the event will begin at 10 p.m. with students competing in a 3-point shootout and a free-throw shooting contest. At 10:45 p.m., the Oxford cheerleaders will perform and will be followed by the school's dance team, leading up to the Eagles taking the floor around 11 p.m.

"The basketball team will come out and scrimmage and run some drills," Stubbs said. "We'll have pizza, chips and drinks for everybody after that. We're normally finished at 12, but we like to call it Midnight Madness anyway."

There is no admission charge and the event is open to the public.

Tonight's edition of Midnight Madness marks the 10th consecutive year Oxford has held the event, which Stubbs said has remained popular among students, faculty and staff.

"We've been doing it ever since I've been here, so this makes my seventh Midnight Madness, and the coach before me did it three years he was here, so this will be Oxford's 10th Midnight Madness event," he said. "It's been very successful every year we've had it. The student body comes out and enjoys the entertainment. The players really enjoy it and look forward to it -- it gives them a chance to showboat somewhat during that time, so they enjoy putting on a show for the audience."

The event will also offer Eagles fans a chance to get a first look at the 11 freshmen on the roster. Among those rookies are Newton High standout Alex Ordu, 6-foot-4 Mitchell Lee (from nearby Loganville Christian Academy), former Oconee County guard Byron Stufken and guard Zachary Lynn from Buford.

Sophomores returning to the fold include preseason All-Conference selections Evan Dunwoodie and Stephen Simmons, as well as guard Jason Levick and swingman Brandon Bassell (from Brookwood).

In last weekend's victory over Fundamentals 4 Success, freshmen Sufken and Kevin Tolbert led Oxford with 16 points apiece, followed closely by rookies Ordu and Sam Kim, who scored 12 points each.

"For having only two weeks of practice, we played extremely well and very unselfish basketball," Stubbs said. "We were getting a lot of easy baskets early in transition and they went to a zone that somewhat slowed us down, but we were able to maintain the advantage and at the end, we pulled away with five consecutive layups to extend our lead. The team we played was very athletic and our players were very poised and confident with the things we'd worked on. They put forth a good performance for the first exhibition."

After Midnight Madness concludes, Oxford will prepare for another exhibition home game, hosting Central Georgia Technical College at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Central Georgia Tech is a Division I school in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association and features two local players, sophomore point guard Josh Peters and sophomore forward Jullian Butts, both of whom prepped at Alcovy High School.

"I'll be looking for continued improvement on the things we've been working on, like execution of the little things," Stubbs said. "We've got kind of a small team so we'll have to continue to have to rebound well. I hope we'll be able to shoot the ball a little bit better. We were only 10 of 20 from the free-throw line (against Fundamentals 4 Success); I hope we'll be able to improve on that."

The Eagles will open the regular season at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 against the Truett-McConnell junior varsity. For more information on Oxford College basketball, visit www.oxford.emory.edu/athletics.