The Hilbert men’s basketball team is riding a six-game winning streak. It has secured the top seed for the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference tournament and home court advantage.
Now the Hawks have to get past those pesky Medaille Mavericks.
The two local Division III schools will face off at 6 p.m. today in the semifinals of the AMCC tournament. La Roche and Penn State-Behrend will play in the other semifinal at 8 with the winners advancing to Saturday’s championship at 3 p.m.
Hilbert (14-4) won the regular season title but it hasn’t been able to get the better of Medaille (17-9). The Mavs won both meetings this season with the Hawks, winning 80-70 and 92-83.
Hilbert is led by seniors Anthony Hodge (16.6 ppg) and Dan McFarland (14.0 ppg) of Lancaster. Freshman Jerame Owens has developed into a solid post presence, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds.
The Mavericks, who have won three AMCC tournament titles in the past four years, are paced by sophomore Jammal Coleman (16.4 ppg, 53.6 field goal percentage). Senior Tyler Stevens (Depew) is averaging 2.36 three-pointers a game, shooting 46.1 percent beyond the arc. Senior Josh Laureano is averaging 5.24 assists a game.
Penn State-Behrend (18-8) is making its 15th appearance at championship weekend and the Lions come into this year’s semifinals with one of the best defenses in the nation. They rank fourth nationally in three-point field goal defense (27.8 percent) and fifth in scoring defense (56.4 ppg).
For La Roche (14-4), senior Joel McIntosh is six points from the 1,000-point mark after averaging 12.1 points a game this year. The RedHawks won the AMCC title in 2011.
The winner of the AMCC championship earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III tournament. Selection day for the Division III tournament is Monday, with first-round games March 2.