A strong local influence will be on display as Misericordia University tries to continue its recent run of success in men’s basketball.
Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom coaches made the Cougars the favorite to win their third straight title in a preseason poll. The only other time Misericordia won more than two titles in a row was as a Keystone Athletic Conference member from 1985 to 1989.
Misericordia will put a promising, experienced team to the test beginning Monday night when it travels to New York State to open the season against a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I opponent when it faces Binghamton University.
Mid Valley’s Jason Kenny, Lakeland’s Tony Harding and Valley View’s Alec Rodway were all prominent factors in a team that went 10-4 in the MAC regular season, won the Freedom Championships to qualify for the NCAA Division III tournament and finished 17-11 overall. The team is coached by Scranton graduate Willie Chandler and also has two other District 2 graduates on the roster in junior guard Zach Brennan from Holy Redeemer and freshman guard Matt McGlynn from Pittston Area.
Kenny led the MAC Freedom with 19.9 points per game and was named conference Player of the Year. The 6-foot-4 senior guard enters the season fourth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,544 points.
Harding was the Most Valuable Player of the MAC Championships after producing 40 points and 12 rebounds when Misericordia beat top-seeded Wilkes, 72-58, then defeated DeSales, 74-59, in the championship game. The 6-5 junior forward was a second-team MAC Freedom all-star in the regular season when he hit 37.7 percent from 3-point range while averaging 12.2 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Rodway, a 5-10 senior guard, led the MAC Freedom in assist-to-turnover ratio, putting up a 2.1 in conference play and 1.9 overall. He averaged 3.5 points and 3.2 assists while starting 24 games.
Noah Rivera and Stone McCreary are also back after ranking among the conference leaders in rebounding and 3-point shooting respectively.
Brennan appeared in five games last season.
Misericordia opens its home schedule Wednesday against the College of Staten Island.