Thursday, December 2, 2010

46th Annual Pocono Classic presented by State Farm Set for Friday and Saturday at Koehler Fieldhouse

EAST STROUDSBURG – East Stroudsburg University’s men’s basketball team will be one of three teams in the field coming off NCAA Division II Tournament appearances when the 46th Annual Pocono Classic presented by State Farm tips off on Friday afternoon at Koehler Fieldhouse.

The Warriors were 24-6 a year ago to set a school record for wins and will be joined by a pair of schools who made their first-ever trips to the NCAA Tournament last year in Felician’s men’s team and Nyack’s women’s team. The final game of the eight-game classic will feature ESU vs. Felician on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

Admission for the tournament is free for fans who bring a gift for a child ages 4-18 to support Dream Come True through Allegiant Air and the Lehigh Valley International Airport. Admission for all other fans is $10.

The gifts will be distributed by the Warriors’ basketball teams to 75 children on Sunday, December 19 as part of Dream Come True’s Annual North Pole Express Flight. Fans who donate a gift will also be automatically entered for a chance to win airline tickets from Allegiant Air.

The Pocono Classic fields will feature ESU, Felician, Nyack and Salem International on the women’s side and ESU, Felician, Edinboro and Shippensburg on the men’s side. There will be four games both days, with tip-offs scheduled for 1, 3, 5 and 7:30 p.m.  The Warriors’ women’s and men’s teams will fill the final two time slots on both days.

On the women’s side, ESU will host Nyack on Friday and Felician on Saturday. Both schools are members of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference – Nyack is the defending champion but is off to a 2-3 start this season, while Felician is 3-1 on the year after a 16-11 campaign a year ago.

The Warriors (1-2) are led in scoring by redshirt junior forward Brittany McClain (15.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and sophomore guard Barb Borst (12.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg). Sophomore center Kelly Sorber has posted 7.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game, including her first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in ESU’s 56-49 win over Concordia on November 17.

Freshman guard Andrea Veres has taken over as the point guard and is averaging 8.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.7 steals per game, and junior guard Jennifer Scherer is the team’s most veteran player and has averaged 6.7 points and 6.3 rebounds through the first three games.

ESU has a 2-0 record against Nyack but haven’t met since the 2004-05 season. The defending CACC champions were 21-12 last year and are led by Victoria Sweet, a first team All-CACC forward who is averaging 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Both of Nyack’s wins have come in overtime, and they are coming off a 69-53 loss at Bloomsburg on Tuesday.

Felician, ESU’s opponent on Saturday night, is 3-1 with wins over Saint Anselm, Washington Adventist and Concordia. The Golden Falcons are led by four returning starters, including Quay Baskerville, who has posted a line of 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game and was an All-CACC third team choice. ESU won the only previous meeting between the two schools, 66-50, in 2008-09.

The Warriors’ men’s team, coming off one of the top seasons in school history, is 2-1 after taking its first loss of the season, 56-54, on Tuesday at USP on a three-pointer at the buzzer. The loss snapped ESU’s 18-game regular season non-conference winning streak. The Warriors enter the weekend with a 23-game winning streak at home against non-conference opponents.

Offensive balance remains the key for an ESU team that saw seven players average at least 6.9 points per game last season. Five players are scoring between nine and 12 points per game this year – sophomore forward Duane Johnson (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg), sophomore forward Marcus Brown (10.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), junior guard Russell Graham III (9.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.3 apg), senior guard Micah Covert (9.3 ppg, 4.3 apg) and sophomore forward Terrance King (9.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), last year’s PSAC East Freshman of the Year.

Senior forward Mike Tobin, the Warriors’ top returning scorer and rebounder, has posted 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and was a member of last year’s Pocono Classic All-Tournament team. ESU opened the season with a pair of wins over PSU-Schuylkill (119-64) and Lock Haven (87-60) and is 6-0 in the Pocono Classic over the past three seasons.

ESU will take on Edinboro in its first game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and is 4-0 against the Fighting Scots over the past four years, including an 81-73 road win to cap a 13-0 start last season. Edinboro is 3-1 with three straight wins after an 83-80 (OT) loss to Alderson-Broaddus to open the season, which was followed by a 106-95 (2OT) win over Shepherd. Byron Knight, a first team All-PSAC West guard, was ninth in the PSAC with 16.0 points per game last season, his first after four years away from competitive basketball.

Felician brings back four starters from last year’s CACC championship team that went 24-7, setting a school record for wins, but is just 1-3 in the early going this season. The Golden Eagles lost twice to open the year in a tournament at UMass-Lowell, won 78-66 at NYIT before falling 76-74 to Concordia on Wednesday night, a game in which they overcame a 16-point deficit in the final 11 minutes of the second half before the game-winning basket with 13 seconds left. Devon Young (18.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.8 apg) is Felician’s career scoring leader with 1,507 points, setting the record in the season opener.

Shippensburg rounds out the men’s field and brings a hot-shooting team into Koehler Fieldhouse. The Red Raiders have hit 48.5 percent (50-103) of their three-pointers this season to post a 3-2 record. Lamar Jackson led all PSAC freshmen in scoring and assists last season and is averaging 11.6 points and 6.2 assists per game, while Jordan Stasyszyn (13.5 ppg) is the top scorer, Jaren Gembe (9.4 ppg) is 14-for-18 from behind the arc and  Craig Van Scyoc (11.2 ppg) is 14-for-28. The Red Raiders will play Felician on Friday and Edinboro on Saturday, both at 3 p.m.

Pocono Classic Schedule

1 p.m. – Felician vs. Salem International (women)
3 p.m. – Felician vs. Shippensburg (men)
5 p.m. – ESU vs. Nyack (women)
7:30 p.m. – ESU vs. Edinboro (men)

1 p.m. – Nyack vs. Salem International (women)
3 p.m. – Edinboro vs. Shippensburg (men)
5 p.m. – ESU vs. Felician (women)
7:30 p.m. – ESU vs. Felician (men)

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