With a 19-1 conference mark, La Roche University claimed the regular season championship and hosting rights to the 2020 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) men's basketball championship tournament. First round games tip off Tuesday evening at 7pm with #3 Penn State Behrend hosting #6 Mount Aloysius College and #4 Penn State Altoona hosting #5 Hilbert College. #1 La Roche and #2 Pitt-Greensburg will each receive first round byes. Tournament semifinals will take place on Friday afternoon with the championship game set for Saturday at 1pm.
Top-seeded La Roche (19-1) will be looking to reclaim their conference title, as they were crowned AMCC champions in 2018, but fell in the championship game a year ago to Penn State Behrend. Junior forward Tyler Frederick has been dominant for the Redhawks all season, as he leads the AMCC in both scoring (19.5 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg). Frederick was awarded USBWA National Player of the Week honors on January 7. Senior guard Kennedy Smith is second on the team in scoring with 16.2 points per game while senior guard Darius Lawrence adds 14.3. Smith and Lawrence also chip in with more than three assists a piece per game.
Entering the tournament as the #2 seed is Pitt-Greensburg (16-4). The Bobcats have put together a tremendous turnaround season, as they are making their first appearance in the postseason tournament since 2016 when they claimed their last conference title. With a 16-4 conference record this season, Pitt-Greensburg has quadrupled their conference win total from a season ago, when they went 4-14. The Bobcats have a balanced offensive attack, as they have five players averaging double figures, led by junior guard Matt Johnson (15.8 ppg), junior guard Cam Seigfreid (15.2 ppg), and sophomore guard Jojo France (15.1). On the boards, senior forward Cody Spaid leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per game.
With a 15-5 record in conference play, Penn State Behrend (15-5) has earned the #3 seed in this year's tournament. The Lions are looking to claim back-to-back titles, as they upset top-seeded La Roche in last year's championship game. Junior guard Kenny Fukon leads the Lions, and ranks fifth in the conference, with 16.3 points per game, while also leading his team with 6.8 rebounds per game. Also averaging double figures for the Lions are sophomore guard Devin Pope (10.9 ppg) and sophomore forward PJ Gourley (10.2 ppg). Senior forward Dorian Conners chips in with 9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and a league-leading 63 blocks on the year.
Penn State Altoona (11-9) enters the tournament as the #4 seed. Leading the Lions offensively are sophomore guard Jack Kusters (14.6 ppg) and sophomore guard/forward Andruw Harman (14.0 ppg). Senior center Cameron Gardner-Nicholson ranks third in the AMCC with 9.3 rebounds per game, while also contributing 12.3 points per game and 56 blocks (second most in the AMCC).
Hilbert College, with an 11-9 conference mark, will be the #5 seed in this year's tournament. Senior guard Hunter Martineau runs the show for the Hawks, as he averages a team-best 15.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and has recorded an AMCC-best 171 assists and 48 steals. Martineau also received USBWA National Player of the Week honors, with his coming on December 3, and is tied for second in the nation with two triple-doubles on the year. Senior guard Masia Phillips averages 15.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Rounding out the field is #6 Mount Aloysius College (11-9). Senior guard/forward Nate Christian leads the Mounties, and ranks third in the conference, with 17.8 points per game. Christian's 45.9 shooting percentage from three ranks second in the league. Sophomore forward Carlos Palacio ranks fourth in the AMCC with 9.0 rebounds per game, while also contributing 12.7 points per game. Mountie senior guard Julian Stover adds 13.8 points per game and has recorded 35 steals on the season.
The winner of the AMCC basketball championship tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid to the national tournament.
Men's Baksetball Tournament Bracket
First Round: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 7p
#6 Mount Aloysius at #3 Penn St. Behrend
#5 Hilbert at #4 Penn St. Altoona
Byes: #1 La Roche & #2 Pitt-Greensburg
Championship Round at #1 La Roche
Semifinals: Friday, February 28, 2020
12:00n: #1 La Roche v. winner of Hilbert/Penn St. Altoona
2:30pm: #2 Pitt-Greensburg vs. winner of Penn St. Behrend/Mount Aloysius
Finals: Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 1pm