Scranton, PA - Marywood University's men's basketball team will host local rival Baptist Bible College this Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in the first round of the Colonial States Athletic Conference playoffs. The Pacers, who are hosting a postseason game for the first time in program history, are looking to defeat the Defenders for the third time this season after sweeping the regular season series.
The Pacers enter Saturday's contest as the fourth-overall seed in the CSAC tournament after finishing Conference play with a 9-7 mark and a 15-10 overall record. The Pacers are led by senior Prince Blacknall and junior transfer Sidney Tharpe. Marywood, who finished the 2007-08 season with an 0-16 conference record, has established school records for wins in a season (both overall and conference) and has clinched the just the third playoff berth in men's basketball history.
Blacknall (Stroudsburg, PA), a fifth-year senior captain for the Pacers, has become the seventh men's basketball player to reach the 1,000 career-point milestone. Blacknall averages 18.6 points per game and has dished out a team-leading 100 assists on the year. Tharpe, a junior transfer from Lehigh Carbon Community College, established a new school record with 531 points on the season. He leads the team in scoring average (21.2 ppg), and three-pointers made (83). His 83 three-pointers made are just three shy of the school record established in the 2004-05 season.
Baptist Bible College (10-13) enters Saturday's first-round match-up with Marywood after finishing conference play with an 8-8 mark. After losing to Marywood on January 22, the Defenders closed the season by winning six of their last nine games to clinch a playoff spot. Baptist Bible and Centenary College both have identical .500 CSAC records, but the Defenders take the fifth seed by virtue of a win over top-seeded Gwynedd-Mercy College.
Baptist Bible is led by an offense in which four starters average double-figures. Sophomore guard Nathan Greve leads the team in scoring with 392 points on the year (17.0 ppg) and is followed by Tom Waszaj (14.0 ppg), Justin Cook (13.5 ppg) and Travis Wash (12.3 ppg). Wash has grabbed a team-best 178 rebounds on the season, averaging 7.7 boards per game. Collins, meanwhile, has a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, dishing out a team-leading 152 assists while only committing 75 miscues.
In the regular season, Marywood swept the two meetings between the schools. After securing an 11-point win in Clarks Summit on January 8, Marywood held off the Defenders with a two-point, 86-84 win at the Insalaco Arena two weeks later. The winner of Saturday's contest will travel to face either top-seeded Gwynedd-Mercy College or second-seeded Cabrini College on Tuesday, February 24.
The Marywood women's team has already clinched the fifth seed and will be on the road for a first round playoff game of their own on Monday at 7:00 p.m. The results of this weekend's CSAC games involving Gwynedd-Mercy College and Centenary College will determine the Pacers opponent.
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