District Spotlight: No surprises in PSAC West
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The coaches in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West deserve some credit for their preseason predictions, considering that such things are often well off the mark by this time of year. Heading into the final week of the regular season, California (21-4 overall, 10-0 PSAC West) is in first place and Edinboro (20-5, 9-1) is second -- just as the coaches foretold in November.
They will meet in Saturday's regular-season finale at Edinboro, after California plays host to Slippery Rock and Edinboro travels to Clarion tomorrow.
Edinboro, winner of five in a row after a 71-64 loss at California, boasts the top shot-blocker in Division II in 6-foot-9 senior Ryan McLemore. He averages 5.6 per game and already has set school and PSAC season records with 140 total.
McLemore is the PSAC West player of the week and recently recorded the school's first triple-double in 27 years with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 blocks in an 80-62 victory against Slippery Rock. The 12 blocks also was a school and league record.
Edinboro has five players averaging at least 10 points per game, led by junior guard Joseph Jones (17.4 ppg).
The headliners for California, which has a 12-game win streak, are 6-5 Ron Banks (14.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and 6-6 Alioune Mbaye (13.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
Top-ranked Penn State New Kensington (19-3) will meet No. 8 University of Cincinnati-Clermont Thursday in the opening round of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II national championships at South Portland, Maine. All eight teams in the field will play at least three games in the winners' and losers' brackets.
The USCAA has 65 schools with enrollments of fewer than 1,500 students.
The leading scorers for the Lions, whose losses have come against Edinboro, Allegheny and Slippery Rock, are 6-4 senior R.J. Hurt of Riverview (13.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg), 5-8 sophomore Michael Fisher of Plum (13.5 ppg), 6-2 junior Josh Robinson of Frazier (13.6 ppg) and 6-7 senior Jeremy Hurt of Riverview (12.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg).
Carnegie Mellon (16-8), still clinging to a faint hope it can receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, must win its regular-season finale against visiting No. 14 Rochester in a University Athletic Association game Saturday afternoon at Skibo Gym. The UAA is the strongest Division III league in the country, with No. 4 Washington (Mo.) University, No. 6 Brandeis and Rochester. Washington and Rochester each occupied the No. 1 position at times this season.
The Tartans are 6-7 in the league and can finish as high as fifth with a victory, but the odds are against five teams from the UAA getting into the tournament.
If CMU doesn't get a bid to the NCAA tournament, the Tartans can expect to receive one of the eight bids to the ECAC Division III South tournament. Bids to both tournaments will be extended Monday.
CMU's leading scorers are Ryan Einwag (15.3 ppg), a 6-5 junior from Baldwin, and 6-8 senior Greg Gonzalez (13.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 45 blocks).
St. Vincent (21-4), which is in the transitional period to become a full-fledged member of Division III, will find out Monday if it receives a bid to the ECAC Division II or ECAC Division III tournament. The decision will be made by the Division III committee.
Because the Bearcats still have a handful of players on athletic scholarship on the team, they were ineligible to compete for the championship of the non-scholarship Division III Presidents' Athletic Conference. Teams in Division II are allowed to offer athletic scholarships.
First Published February 26, 2008 12:00 am