Men’s hoops picked fifth in PSAC East preseason poll

LOCK HAVEN – The Lock Haven University men’s basketball team was picked fifth in the 2017-18 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division preseason coaches’ poll which was released today by the conference office.

Shippensburg received eight of nine first-place votes and was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the east. Kutztown checked in at No. 2 and East Stroudsburg rounded out the top-three. West Chester was picked fourth, one spot ahead of Lock Haven.

Mansfield, Bloomsburg, Millersville and Cheyney rounded out the teams in the Eastern Division.

In the Western Division, IUP picked up eight of nine first-place votes and was picked as the favorite. Gannon was tabbed No. 2 and Mercyhurst rounded out the top-three.

Returning to lead the way for Lock Haven is Amir Hinton (R-So, G), last season’s PSAC East Freshman of the Year. Last season, Hinton led the PSAC in scoring at 23.8 points per game. Hinton, an All-Region selection, finished the season ranked No. 7 in all of NCAA Division II basketball in scoring.

For LHU, Hinton is one of three returning starters. He’s joined by Ra’eese Hunt (R-Sr., F, 27GS, 12.7 pts/game, 3.9 rbs/game) and Jihad Barnes (R-So, G, 27GS, 8.9 pts/game, 3.9 rbs/game, 23 assists/game). Sophomore guard Tarojae Brake returns after playing in all 27 games last season. He was a huge spark off the bench and finished the season with 8.5 points per game, three rebounds per game and 47 total assists, while averaging 24 minutes a game.

Last season, the Bald Eagles got off to a solid start at 5-1. Lock Haven also finished strong, winning three of the last five games on the way to the PSAC Tournament. Last year’s postseason run marked the Bald Eagles fourth consecutive PSAC Tournament. It marked Lock Haven’s 13th all-time PSAC postseason berth. LHU hadn’t qualified for four straight PSAC Tournaments since the 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.

Lock Haven will officially open the 2017-18 season on Friday, November 10 at Shippensburg’s Wolf’s Bus Lines Classic vs. Virginia Union (3 p.m.). On Saturday, Nov. 11, LHU will take on Shaw (3 p.m.) in the season-opening tournament.

PSAC PRESEASON

COACHES’ POLLS:

(*first-place votes)

EASTERN

DIVISION

1. Shippensburg (8)

2. Kutztown

3. East Stroudsburg (1)

4. West Chester

5. Lock Haven

6. Mansfield

7. Bloomsburg

8. Millersville

9. Cheyney

WESTERN

DIVISION

1. IUP (8)

2. Gannon

3. Mercyhurst (1)

4. Slippery Rock

5. California

6. Pitt-Johnstown

7. Seton Hill

8. Edinboro

9. Clarion

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