District Spotlight: PAC men's basketball follows form
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The opening round of the Presidents' Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament went according to Hoyle with the favorites advancing with emphatic victories.
No. 2 seed and two-time defending champion Bethany (19-7) got 22 points from Brody Jackson and weathered a 36-point performance by Joe Herrman in a 94-80 victory against No. 7 Thiel.
No. 3 Washington & Jefferson (13-13), behind Jon Koch's 17 points, defeated No. 6 Thomas More, 67-49.
No. 4 Grove City (14-12) got past No. 5 Waynesburg, 89-60, behind Mark Smith's 14 points and a 43-17 rebounding advantage.
In the semifinals tonight, top-seed Westminster (18-7) will play host to Grove City, W&J will visit Bethany.
The championship game will be Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seeded team. The PAC champion does not receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, but Bethany and Westminster might impress the selection committee enough to earn an at-large bid if either team wins the title.
Westminster, the highest-scoring team in the league (87.8 average), has won six games in a row and 13 of its past 15. The Titans rely on the 3-pointer, making 12.4 per game on 35.5 attempts from beyond the arc. They have five double-digit scorers: 5-foot-10 Greg Rosatelli (14.8 ppg), 6-2 Craig Hannon (13.1 ppg), 6-2 Dom Joseph (12.8 ppg), 6-2 Nick Adams (12.5 ppg) and 6-8 Steve Bielich (11.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg).
Grove City's top scorers are 6-2 Ryan Gibson (11.9 ppg, 4.4 apg), 6-1 Ryan Gerber (10.9 ppg) and 6-1 Shawn Carr (10.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg).
Westminster and Grove City split two games in the regular season.
Bethany has won six games in a row against W&J, which has won three consecutive games and is 12-3 since a 1-10 start. The Presidents feature Jon Koch (17.8 ppg), a 6-2 senior guard from Plum who is W&J's all-time leading scorer with 1,712 points, 5-11 senior Brandon Studer (15.5 ppg) and 6-4 sophomore Wahab Owolabi (11.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg).
North Division champion Point Park (28-1), winner of eight games in a row and ranked third in NAIA Division II, will meet South Division champion and No. 15 Cedarville (21-6) for the American Mideast Conference championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Community College of Allegheny County South gym.
Point Park and Cedarville already are guaranteed a trip to Branson, Mo., for the national tournament, March 7-13.
Point Park, led by 6-foot-1 Chivas Whipple (20.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg), leads the country in scoring with 94.1 points per game and rebounding margin with a plus 11.35 average per game without a starter taller than 6-2. Bob Rager's eight-man rotation includes Whipple, 6-0 Gavin Prosser (15.1 ppg, 6.8 apg, 3.5 rpg), 5-11 Denny DiPasquale (13.8 ppg, 85 3-pointers), 6-1 Ryne Liggins (12.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg), 6-7 Brad Fusco (11.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg), 6-2 Mark Ferguson (7.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and 6-7 Dan Muto (7.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
Cedarville, winner of six in a row and 12 of its past 13 games, is 14th in NAIA Division II in scoring at 83.2 ppg and fifth in rebound margin at plus 8.3. The Yellow Jackets feature 6-2 Ryan Short (16.2 ppg), 6-5 Guy Rathmell (12.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and 6-10 Daniel Rose (10.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 67 blocks). Short, who averaged 24.5 points in two games, is the AMC player of the week.
After getting byes in the first round, top-seed and defending champion Lake Erie (26-2) and No. 2 Penn State Behrend (18-6) will begin play in the semifinals of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference men's basketball tournament in a doubleheader tomorrow night at Lake Erie.
Lake Erie will meet No. 4 Hilbert (14-12) and Behrend will play No. 3 Pitt-Bradford (14-12).
Bradford advanced with a 61-49 victory against No. 6 Penn State Altoona, and Hilbert defeated Frostburg State, 87-73, in the opening round.
Behrend beat Bradford twice in the regular season and ended Lake Erie's 19-game win streak a week ago, 66-60, in overtime. Behrend has won 13 of its past 15 games.
The championship is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Lake Erie.
Individual and team highlights in district colleges last week.
Duquesne's Emily Beahan won the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:57.22 and Daniela Siciliano won the pole vault with an attempt of 3.30 meters at the Atlantic 10 women's track and field championships at Rhode Island. Duquesne's Amy Ruffolo, Ashley Earnest, Samantha Howard and Beahan finished first in the distance-medley relay. The Dukes finished fifth in the team standings,
Chatham's Erica Bilski, a 5-foot-8 sophomore from Seton-LaSalle, recently set a school record for a season with 56 steals.
Pitt's Mike Wray, the top hurdler in NCAA Division I, won his second consecutive Big East 60-meter hurdles title with a time of 7.86 seconds at the Big East Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Panthers finished sixth in the men's competition.
Pitt's women finished fourth as twin sisters Shanea and Shantea Calhoun earned All-Big East honors in the sprints. Shantea was second in the 60 meters with a career-best 7.45 seconds, and Shanea was third in the 200 at 24.20 seconds.
Allegheny's Josh Brannan (Latrobe) set a school record in the 200 meters with a time of 22.76, and Garret Piispanen set a school record in the 800 with a 1:56.13 in Kent State University's Last Chance Invitational.
First Published February 22, 2007 12:00 am