Branson named NAIA national player of the week

Preston Branson is the season's first NAIA national player of the week.

The NAIA has recognized Preston Branson for his back-to-back big-game performances in the Tom Byron Classic.

The Westmont sophomore on Tuesday was named the first NAIA National Division I Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the 2010-11 season.

The 6-3 guard recorded 18 points (on 7-of-8 shooting), two assists and two rebounds, and he scored the game-winning shot with 1.8 seconds left in a 79-78 win over Bethany Lutheran (Minn.), a NCAA Division III school, on Dec. 29.

In the second game of the Tom Byron Classic on Dec. 30, the native of Dallas, Texas, went for 40 points on 12-for-21 shooting. He added two rebounds and two assists in the 87-84 victory against British Columbia in the tournament championship game.