Underdog Mounties face big challenge at East Stroudsburg in PSAC quarterfinal
Riding a season-long four game winning-streak including a convincing 101-68 win over Bloomsburg in the opening round of the PSAC Championship, the Mansfield University men's basketball team will face a steep challenge when the Mountaineers travel to East Stroudsburg for a PSAC Quarterfinal contest Tuesday evening.
Tip-off in Koehler Fieldhouse is set for 7 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio Williamsport with Shane Wilber handling play-by-play and streamed live, along with live stats, at GoMounties.com.
Mansfield (10-17, 7-15 PSAC) earned a spot in the PSAC playoffs by winning its last three regular season games to claim the fourth-seed and then advanced to a quarterfinal appearance with the win over fifth-seeded Bloomsburg Saturday night in Decker Gymnasium.
East Stroudsburg (21-5, 18-4), the defending PSAC Champions, won the PSAC East title this season recording wins over Mansfield in both regular season matchups (93-69 at Mansfield, 83-59 at ESU). The Warriors were ranked as high as No. 9 in the nation prior to dropping three of their last four regular season games. ESU snapped a three game losing-skid with a dominating 102-44 win over Bloomsburg in the regular season finale.
Mansfield earned its fifth playoff appearance in head coach Rich Miller's eight seasons at the helm. The Mountaineers made three straight trips to the PSAC Championship tournament from 2009-2011. They were the top-seed in the PSAC East in 2010 and 2011 after winning the PSAC East including a co-title with East Stroudsburg in 2010.
Miller has a 6-10 record in games against the Warriors with seven of those losses coming at Koehler Fieldhouse, including the last two trips to ESU. Mansfield's last win at Koehler was an 80-66 victory during the 2011 season.
Although the Mountaineers struggled during much of the season, they have been a different team of late. Using a starting lineup of senior Chuck Harper, junior Charles Becoats and freshman Kamil Parzych in the backcourt and junior Kevonte McClain and sophomore Joe Bell at forward, Mansfield has outscored their last four opponents by an average of 86.5 to 68.5.
In their two regular season matchups, Bell has been the Mountaineers leading scorer, averaging 17.5 points per game against the Warriors. Becoats averaged 14.5 points in the first two meetings with Harper (12.5), Onyema Utti (10.0 ppg) and McClain (10.0) all averaging double figures.
In the regular season meetings between the two schools, East Stroudsburg held a commanding rebounding advantage pulling down 87 boards to Mansfield's 59 including a 32-17 advantage on the offensive boards.
For the season, Mansfield ranks 5th in the PSAC in scoring averaging 72.9 points per game while ranking 13th in scoring defense allowing 76.9 points per outing. Joe Bell is 6th in the conference in both scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg).
East Stroudsburg is the top scoring team in the PSAC averaging 78.2 points per game while holding opponents to 66.8 points - sixth best in the conference.
Guard Whis Grant ranks seventh in the PSAC in scoring averaging 17.4 points per game with Duane Johnson and Terrance King averaging 14.1 and 13.5 points per game respectively.
The winner of Tuesday's game will advance to the PSAC Final Four held at the highest remaining seed in the PSAC West.