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Penn College men return to court Thursday

After a 25-day layoff, the Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s basketball team is scheduled to return to action at 7 p.m. Thursday in a nonconference game at King’s College.

King’s brings a 5-3 record into the game. The only opponent both have met this season is Clarks Summit University, which King’s edged, 74-71, and which topped Penn College, 77-51. The last time Penn College played King’s was Nov. 21, 2014, with King’s winning, 87-50.

Through their first eight games, the Wildcats have shown second-year coach Geoff Hensley flashes of brilliance, yet they only have a 2-6 record to show for it.

Statistically, so far, Penn College is averaging 79.9 points per game on offense and allowing 89.3. It has made 43.5 percent of its field goals and 34.4 percent of its 3-point shots while hitting 61.4 percent of its foul shots. The ’cats are averaging 43.6 rebounds per outing and allowing 38.8 although they are averaging 17.8 turnovers per game to their opponents’ 10.6 average and are averaging 5.1 steals per game while their opponents are averaging 9.6 per game.

Individually, four players who have seen action in at least four games are averaging double figures in scoring with Ben Sosa, of Loyalsock Township, at 13.4; Fred Young, of Waterbury, Connecticut, at 12.9; Elijah Vazquez, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, at 11.6; and Carson Garvis, of Taneytown, Maryland, at 10.9.

Sosa, a senior who has scored 942 career points, also leads the team with 8.6 rebounds per game while Garvis is averaging 7.5 and Vazquez 4.8.

“The first half of the season was an exciting roller-coaster ride,” Hensley said. “We started off great, beating Valley Forge, and then going down to the wire against Rosemont and SUNY Delhi, who both participated in the NCAA Division III national tournament last year.

“We then battled two very strong Middle Atlantic Conference opponents in Lycoming and Alvernia, then responded with a good win against Elmira College before Thanksgiving break.

“I thought we were in a good place despite our record as we scheduled some very good nonconference opponents and played well against them.

“After a quick Thanksgiving break, we lost games to Clarks Summit and SUNY Cobleskill as we went into Finals Week and the holiday break.”

Continuing his assessment, Hensley said, “Our competitive energy is great! We have a great group of young men who work hard every day in practice to put us in a good position to win the games. And we are a very unselfish team, as demonstrated by our 15 assists per game.

“We need to continue to work on our turnovers as a team. We average 17 turnovers per game and that is far too many times to be giving the ball back to the other team.

“Sosa and Vazquez have provided great senior leadership for our team and they have been our steady force on a daily basis. Garvis and Ryan Lockman, of White Salmon, Washington, bring a spark to the court with instant production in terms of scoring and rebounding.

“We face to very good opponents the first week in January – King’s College and Pitt-Greensburg – which are two opportunities for us to get back into game shape before our North Eastern Athletic Conference schedule resumes on Jan. 11 against Cazenovia College.

“My hopes are that we continue to improve every day and grow together as a team. We have a talented squad and once we put it all together, we will be very competitive in the NEAC standings.

“The South Division of the NEAC is very strong with Lancaster Bible College and Penn State Abington, and now Penn State Harrisburg joining us this year. It will be very challenging for us to move up, but I am confident we have a group of young men who are more than up to the task.

“For the second half of the season, we return Obens Luxama, a 5-foot, 11-inch guard of Port St. Lucie, Florida, from last year’s team who will bring us some playmaking ability and toughness at the guard position.

“I’m very proud of this team for the progress we made during the first half of the season and I am more than excited to see how far we can go in the second half. I believe in each player on this team and I am extremely appreciative for all their effort and commitment to make this program be as great as it can be. We are trusting the process that each day is an opportunity for us to get better and grow together. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!”

Men’s basketball
Overall: 2-6
NEAC: 0-1
Thursday, Jan. 2 – at King’s College, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 7 – at Pitt-Greensburg, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11 – host Cazenovia College (NEAC), 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 12 – host Morrisville State College (NEAC), noon

Women’s basketball
Overall 2-5
NEAC: 0-1
Monday, Jan. 6 – at Marywood University, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11 – host Cazenovia College (NEAC), 3 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 12 – host Morrisville State College (NEAC), 2 p.m.

Overall: 3-7
Saturday, Jan. 11 – North-South Duals at Collegeville, 10 a.m.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website.

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 20

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