Mountie men host Kutztown with home PSAC playoff game hopes on the line
The rejuvenated Mansfield University men's basketball team will have their hopes of hosting a first-round PSAC playoff game on the line Wednesday when the Mountaineers host Kutztown in the 2012-13 regular-season finale in Decker Gymnasium.
The women's game tips-off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the men's game at 7:30 p.m.
The Mountaineers have saved their best for the last part of the season, picking up nail-biting wins over Bloomsburg and Millersville to clinch their fifth PSAC playoff appearance in head coach Rich Miller's eight seasons at the helm.
Not only did the wins put Mansfield back in the playoffs after a one-year absence, it also opened the possibility of hosting a first-round playoff game by finishing fourth in the PSAC East.
Mansfield and Bloomsburg are currently tied for fourth-place in the PSAC East with one game remaining in the regular season. Bloomsburg travels to East Stroudsburg, who is tied with West Chester for first-place in the PSAC East, while the Mountaineers host Kutztown. Mansfield and Bloomsburg have identical 6-15 PSAC records and have split their two regular season games this year. They also each have wins over third-place Millersville.
The PSAC tie-breaker is determined by head-to-head competition followed by wins over higher ranked teams within the division. If still tied, the next criteria is number of wins against NCAA Division II opponents at or over .500 followed by winning percentage against NCAA Division II opponents under. 500. The final tie-breaker is a coin toss.
If both Mansfield wins and Bloomsburg loses on Wednesday, Mansfield would finish fourth in the division and host the opening round playoff game. A Bloomsburg win would give the Huskies the tie-breaker over the Mountaineers by virtue of a win over a higher place team.
To add to the mix, Shippensburg is one-game behind Mansfield and Bloomsburg and if both the Mountaineers and Huskies lose on Wednesday, the Raiders hold the tie-breaker against both teams and would finish fourth. Shippensburg travels to Millersville Wednesday.
Mansfield dropped a 94-87 decision at Kutztown earlier in the season, but the Mountaineers have won each of their last two games at Decker Gymnasium.
Mansfield ranks 6th in the PSAC in team scoring, averaging 71.1 points per game, but are 16th in scoring defense allowing 78.0 points per outing. Kutztown ranks 7th in scoring (69.8 ppg) and 14th in scoring defense (77.1 ppg).
Joe Bell ranks 7th in the PSAC in scoring, averaging 17.5 ppg and 6th in rebounding (7.8 rpg) to lead the Mountaineer offense. This weeks' reigning PSAC East Player of the Week Chuck Harper is scoring at a 12.1 ppg clip with Charles Becoats averaging 12.0 points per game.
Kutztown is led by guard Micah Fraction who is the PSAC leading scorer averaging 22.8 points per game.
In their first meeting, Bell scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds with Charles Becoats scoring 22 points. Fraction led five players in double-figures with a game-high 31 points for Kutztown.