PSAC's top men's basketball teams set for showdowns
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The PSAC men's basketball competition is about to heat up again as all 16 teams will play two games this weekend after a long holiday stretch.
Most played a non-conference game Monday, but before then none had played since Dec. 19.
That means that the teams could be a sluggish tonight coming out of the gate.
But the level of play should increase significantly by Saturday since the teams all will have had a game to knock off some rust.
The Western race is extremely competitive as IUP (8-1) and Slippery Rock (7-2) are in first at 4-1 but four teams are 3-2 and the two last-place teams -- Lock Haven (4-4) and Clarion (3-5) -- are only two games behind at 2-3.
The games this weekend are crossover games -- all teams in the West will play twice against teams in the East.
There are some interesting matchups.
The two best games figure to take place tonight when IUP plays at East Stroudsburg (7-2, 4-1) and Slippery Rock visits Millersville (8-3, 4-1).
The Bloomsburg wrestling team put on a dominating performance at Lock Haven this past weekend at the prestigious Brute Invitational.
The Huskies had five wrestlers win their weight class and seven others place as Bloomsburg won the event with 198.5 points -- 44 points more than second place Kent State.
Bloomsburg had winners at 133 pounds, 157, 165, 197 and 285, and the Huskies Frank Hickman, who wonthe 157-pound class, was named the PSAC wrestler of the week.
Going into the weekend, the 157-pound weight class was considered to be one of the toughest and most competitive in the event, but Hickman won it with a dominating series of performances.
One of the biggest games so far this season will take place Saturday when Bethany (11-2, 5-0) plays at Saint Vincent (9-4, 4-0) in a battle for first in the PAC.
Bethany is a high-scoring team -- the Bison average 82.6 points per game -- with five players averaging double figures. Four are players from the WPIAL.
Nick Wilcox (Peters Township) leads the Bison in scoring (15.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.8 rpg) and is joined by James Barton ( Bethel Park, 13.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Brady Pacific (Kiski Area, 12.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and Reece Mabry (Highlands, 12.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg).
The Bison routed Westminster, 76-51, in their previous game as Pacific led all scorers with 20 points, including 4 for 4 from 3-point range and Wilcox added 18 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
Bethany leads the PAC in scoring offense and scoring defense (64.5 ppg) and, not surprising, has by far the conference's widest scoring margin. The Bison outscore opponents by 18.1 ppg; the next team in the category is Thomas More at plus-9.5).
Need some defense
The Thiel women's basketball team has struggled this year -- the Tomcats are 2-10 (1-4 in the PAC) -- but the team boasts the conference's two leading scorers.
Senior Kelly Muffley leads the conference in scoring (17.5 ppg) is followed by Kelly Barzak (16.8 ppg).
Usually, if a team has two go-to players it fares better than the Tomcats have, but a quick look at the conference statistics reveals the Tomcats problem is preventing other teams from scoring.
Thiel has allowed 74.1 points per game and is ranked ninth in the 10-team league in scoring defense.
First Published January 4, 2013 12:00 am