MU Men, Women host ESU today
The Mansfield University Mountaineers will welcome the division-leading Warriors of East Stroudsburg University in a key PSAC East showdown this Wednesday evening in Decker Gymnasium.
The mens' game is set to tip-off at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live by Shane Wilber of ESPN Radio Williamsport and streamed live along with live stats at GoMounties.com.
The two schools have developed a rich basketball rivalry over the past ten seasons with Mansfield capturing two PSAC East crowns over two of the last three seasons including sharing the title with East Stroudsburg in 2010.
Mansfield is starting to jell after playing one of the toughest early schedules in school history including hitting the road for nine of their first 11 games. The Mountaineers recorded a pair of tough wins over Clarion (77-73) and Lock Haven (82-78) over the weekend to improve to 5-8 overall and move into fifth place in the PSAC East with a 3-6 conference mark.
East Stroudsburg, who stunned the conference by capturing the PSAC crown after being seeded fourth in the East last season, is off to the best start in the PSAC with an 11-2 overall record and 8-1 conference mark. The Warriors are currently on a five-game winning streak after suffering a 68-58 upset to Lock Haven.
Despite some early season setbacks with injuries, eighth-year head coach Rich Miller's young Mountaineers have been showing steady improvement winning three of their last five games. The Mountaineers offense revolves around sophomore forward Joe Bell. The PSAC East Freshman of the Year last season, Bell has twice been selected the PSAC East Player of the Week this year and was just named ECAC Division II Player of the Week for his outstanding performance the weekend's wins over Clarion and Lock Haven.
In the Clarion game, Bell tied his career-high with 34 points while pulling down a career best 22 rebounds. The 22 boards ties for the most in a game in NCAA Division II this season. Bell, who averaged 28.5 points in his last two games, is averaging 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this season ranking him 7th and 4th in the conference respectively.
Senior Chuck Harper ranks second on the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 13.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game while leading the team with 32 assists and 21 steals. Charles Becoats is averaging 10.3 points per game and ranks among the conference leaders connecting on 26-69 (37.7%) from beyond the arc. Onyema Utti has come off the bench as of the late and is averaging 8.7 points per game.
East Stroudsburg has a well-balanced offense that ranks fourth in the PSAC in team scoring averaging 74.8 points per outing along with an almost equally efficient defense which has been limiting opponents to just 66.9 points per game - sixth best in the PSAC.
Jeff Wilson is in his 10th season at the helm of the Warrior program and has produced some of the finest teams in school history.
Guard Whis Grant tops the team and ranks ninth in the PSAC in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game while also ranking among the top 3-pointer and free throw shooters in the conference. Duane Johnson is second on the team in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game while senior forward Terrance King is averaging 13.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Mansfield travels to Shippensburg on Saturday before returning home to host Bloomsburg on Wednesday night.
An improving Mansfield University womens' basketball team will host East Stroudsburg in what could be an early season divisional contest with playoff implications this Wednesday evening in Decker Gymnasium.
Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. with the game being broadcasts live by ESPN Radio Williamsport's Shane Wilber and streamed, along with live stats, at GoMounties.com.
The Mountaineers are looking to earn their first PSAC Playoff berth since the 2006-07 season and the match-up with the Warriors is a key game in the PSAC East slate. Mansfield currently sits in 7th place in the PSAC East standing and is just one game out from ESU and the final playoff spot.
Mansfield, which has shown steady improvement under first-year coach Alison Tagliaferri, enters Wednesday's game with a 4-9 overall record and a 2-7 conference mark. The Mounties are 4-3 in games at Decker Gymnasium this season.
This past weekend, Mansfield picked up a big 77-68 win over Clarion University before coming up just short against Lock Haven University 75-69 in PSAC crossover play.
For her outstanding play over those two games, Freshman Katie Fitzpatrick was named to PSAC Freshman of the Week and ECAC Division II Player of the Week honors. Fitzpatrick netted 14 points and pulled down seven boards in the win over Clarion before scoring a game-high 20 points against Lock Haven. She is second on the team in scoring this season with 10.5 points an outing while recording a third-best 5.9 boards a game.
Junior Jena Matter leads the Mountaineers in both scoring and rebounding at 11.5 points and 7.6 boards. Matter ranks sixth in the conference in free throw percentage at 83.7 percent and 13th in rebounding. The junior has hit double-figure scoring in eight games this season and has recorded double-doubles against West Chester and Lock Haven.
Senior Kayla Espigh has been a long ball threat all year and is averaging 9.2 points a game while Julia Stevenson averages 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds an outing.
The Warriors enter Wednesday's game with a 4-9 overall record and a 3-6 conference mark. ESU has struggled on the road this season winning just one game in seven tries.
East Stroudsburg is led by Jessica Martin who's averaging a team-best 11.6 points and 7.9 rebounds a game. Martin has denied 21 shots this season, which is tied for the fifth most in the conference. Andrea Veres is averaging 9.6 points a game while Fayola Moise averages 7.6.
Mansfield heads to Shippensburg this Saturday before returning home to Decker Gymnasium to face Bloomsburg on Wednesday, Jan. 23.