Frostburg, Md. ...
Frostburg State got just what it wanted in Wednesday's 99-83 defeat of Bethany (W.Va.) in the first round of the ECAC South Championship — an up-tempo pace and a season-high fourth straight win — and the Bobcats hope to stay on the run against Alvernia College in Saturday's 6:00 p.m. semifinal at Albright College in Reading, Pa.
Top-seeded Albright (16-8) will face No. 5 King's (17-8), which defeated fourth-seeded Pitt-Bradford, 97-79, in the first round, in the other semifinal contest at 8:00 p.m. Albright will also host the championship game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
This will be FSU's first meeting of the year against Alvernia and just the second all-time between the two schools (the Bobcats won the only previous contest). The Bobcats are preparing to face a team similar in the deliberate styles of Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference rivals Penn State Behrend and Pitt-Bradford.
"They (Alvernia) seem to be a very patient team on offense," Hatch stated. "They run their plays and try to get really good shots. We're going to have to be able to defend them in the half court."
Alvernia (18-9) may very well be looking to make a statement after losing out on an NCAA Tournament berth when Cabrini swished an 85-foot desperation heave at the buzzer to pull off a 73-71 upset in the championship game of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.
Alvernia took a 71-70 lead on a free-throw with one second remaining, but the second shot caromed off the front of the rim and into the hands of Cabrini forward Kareem Brunson, who launched the ball the length of the court for the improbable win.
The Crusaders, who average 75.7 points per game, are led by senior forward Deotis Carolina (13.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and sophomore forward Tillman Sims (12.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 56 blocks). Junior guard Chris Alba (11.4 ppg, 125 assists) has hit a club-best 63 three-pointers and is shooting 42.0 percent from behind the arc, while freshman forward Ray Strickland is the fourth Crusader scoring in double-figures at 11.3 ppg.
Alvernia has won 12 of its last 15 games and is giving up just 67.4 points per game. The Crusaders have also held opponents to 40.3 percent shooting from the floor this season.
"They're going to play some match-up zone and sagging man, and those are some defenses we've had trouble with this season," Hatch explained. "But, we match up pretty well against them, and we feel like we're going to be able to run against them if we rebound well."
The Bobcats, 10-3 in their last 13 contests, have gotten hot at just the right time and take a season-high four-game winning streak into Saturday's action.
Sophomore Pierre Bowery, who scored a team-high 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting in Wednesday's defeat of Bethany, leads FSU with 18.9 ppg and a school-record 51 blocks, while junior Robert Ayers is adding 16.8 points and a club-best 8.1 rebounds per game.
Junior guard Sean Brown, third in scoring at 11.9 ppg, is averaging 19.0 points and 8.3 assists in his last three games. Senior guard Billy Tose, who owns a 10.4 scoring average, has hit for 17 points in each of the last two contests and has drained a team-high 55 three-pointers.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303