WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – With back-to-back MAC Commonwealth titles under its belt, the Lycoming College men’s basketball team is ranked 21st in the DIII News Preseason Top 25, the magazine released in its annual preview.
Lycoming returns just three starters from a team that finished 24-5 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17. Seniors Chris Wallace (Randallstown, Md./Calvert Hall) and Alex Newbold (Bowie, Md./DeMatha Catholic) will provide stability, though, as the three-year starters have developed into two of the most important players in the MAC Commonwealth. Wallace, a second-team all-conference selection as a junior, averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, but played just a touch under 24 minutes per game. Newbold averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in just 20 minutes a game, while his relentless defense and solid passing give him added versatility.
The team also returns six other players that averaged more than nine minutes per game, including juniorsT.J. Duckett (Severna Park, Md./Calvert Hall) (7.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg), Darius James (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Loughlin) (6.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg) and Calvin Chandler (Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista) (2.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg) and sophomores Ronald Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Christ the King) (4.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg), Trent Bishop (Hyattsville, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) (3.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and Damani Myers (Baldwin, N.Y./St. Mary’s) (2.5 ppg, 2.1 apg).
Predicted to finish first in the MAC Commonwealth in 2016-17, the Warriors did just that, repeating as conference champions for the first time in program history.
The Warriors led the conference in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and turnovers forced. The team's 2,373 points surpassed the school record of 2,330 set in 1995-96, its 861 field goals also breaking the mark of 839 set in 1996.
Lycoming finished the regular season ranked 15th D3hoops.com poll, the highest ranking in program history, and the Warriors also won their first NCAA Tournament game in 13 years, an 86-70 triumph over Cabrini.
The Warriors open the 2017-18 schedule with a trip to Medgar Evers for a 5 p.m. game on Wednesday, Nov. 15.