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Men's basketball heads back to SLIAC tournament championship; Panthers named to All-Conference team

Men's basketball heads back to SLIAC tournament championship; Panthers named to All-Conference team

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. - The men's basketball team advanced to the SLIAC tournament championship game with a convincing 164-148 victory over Fontbonne in the third game of the season between the two teams. Austyn Contreras sparked the Panthers with a 41 point performance, tying the school record with 11 three-pointers made in the contest.

Greenville improved to 14-12 with the win and won against the Griffins for the second time this year. Greenville's previous win against Fontbonne came on Feb. 1 when GU squeaked out a 155-149 overtime victory at H.J. Long Gymnasium.

The Panthers took the lead with 13:12 remaining in the first half when Sontiago Grady made a layup to give GU a 26-24 advantage. GU never again trailed in the contest.

Greenville was on top 76-66 at the end of the first half, and the team gradually extended the lead over the second half, eventually reaching a 22 point advantage.

The Panthers made 52-of-103 shots in the game, including 31-of-67 three-pointers, and 29-of-41 free throws.

Contreras and Marvin Bateman provided a lethal punch for GU behind the three point line. Contreras made 11-of-15 treys and 8-of-10 free throws to become the second player to reach 40 points in the five years of "System" basketball.

Bateman hit 10-of-18 field goal attempts, 8-of-14 triples, and 5-of-6 free throws to end at 33 points. He surpassed the 1000 point milestone in the game.

Dustin Bankowski managed to pass out 13 assists.

After Greenville's semifinal win, the SLIAC honored its postseason award winners.

Greenville's Sontiago Grady headlined Greenville's entries on the All-Conference team with a first team nod. Grady was Greenville's top scorer this season with an average of 21.3 points per game.

Eric Williams returned for the conference season and produced 14.2 points per game to earn an All-Conference third team selection.

Riley Simmons broke the school record for steals in a season and currently stands at 99 this season with at least one game to play. Simmons was a selection on the All-Defensive team.

Kameron Vinsel received Greenville's nod for the All-Sportsmanship team.

The Panthers will play Webster, the winner of Thursday's other semifinal, in the SLIAC tournament championship game on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Webster. The Panthers have qualified for the SLIAC tournament championship game three times in the last four years, winning the tournament in 2018.