Frostburg, Md. ...
Coming off two hard-fought games that resulted in his team's first-ever Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship, Frostburg State Head Coach Webb Hatch isn't worried about a lack of motivation when the Bobcats host Bethany (W.Va.) College in the first round of the 2001 Eastern College Athletic Conference South Region Championship Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Bobcat Arena.
"We told the guys at practice [Monday night] that there's only 76 teams [in Division III] still playing right now - 48 in the NCAAs and 28 in ECACs," Hatch explained. "That should be motivation right there."
The Bobcats (18-9) played arguably their best basketball of the season last weekend in the AMCC tournament, when they dumped second-seeded Penn State Behrend, 79-66, in the semifinals before edging top-seeded Pitt-Bradford, 77-73, in a thrilling title contest on the Panthers' home court.
Frostburg State used a stifling defense and sharp-shooting from both three-point range (a combined 15-of-25) and at the free-throw line (43-of-54) in its run to the league championship. The Bobcats will make their first ECAC appearance since 1994.
"We're certainly delighted to have the chance to continue our year in the postseason," added Hatch. "This is a reward for our kids, who have played so hard throughout the season."
The Bobats will face a solid opponent in the Bison, which brings a 16-9 overall record to Bobcat Arena. Bethany captured its first Presidents' Athletic Conference championship since 1982, has its most wins since 1977-78 and has also surpassed its combined victory total over the past two years (5-20 in 1998-99 and 9-16 in 1999-00).
The Bison, among the nation's top scoring teams at 84.6 points per game, are led by junior Keith Schubert's team-high 19.9 points and 6.4 rebounds. The 6-4 forward scored his 1,000th career point on Dec. 9 and is the school's fourth all-time leading scorer with 1,339 points.
Sophomore guard Mike Majzun is adding 15.6 points per game, while junior guard Nevada Smith (15.1 ppg) entered the week tied for first in Division III with 3.9 three-pointers made per game and is currently seventh with a 49.2 three-point shooting percentage.
"Bethany's a good team," said Hatch. "They've got three guys that can score from anywhere on the floor."
The Bobcats have some scorers themselves, with four players averaging double-figures. Sophomore Pierre Bowery leads the way with 18.7 ppg, while junior Robert Ayers is adding 16.9 ppg and a team-high 8.2 rpg.
Junior guard Sean Brown, who totaled 40 points in the AMCC semifinal and final, is averaging 11.7 ppg, and senior Billy Tose owns a 10.2 clip.
"I expect it to be a high-scoring game," added Hatch, whose squad is averaging 82.4 points per outing. "Both teams like to go up and down the floor. Our success will come from limiting our turnovers and controlling the boards."
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303