EU Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams Eager to Begin Fresh Season

Men’s Basketball

     With nine upperclass students on the roster, EU Men’s Basketball will enter the 2016-17 season with much experience. Coach Eric McNelley will return for his second season with the team. In McNelley’s first season the Eagles finished with an overall record of 11-14 and went 6-8 in the MAC Freedom Conference. Eastern finished seventh in the conference in the 2015-16 season but were predicted to finish fifth this season according to the MAC Freedom Conference Coaches’ Preseason Poll.

     The senior class for the 2016-17 Eagles includes Shaquan Turk, Tarek Hamzeh, Austin Carroll, Lincoln Holley and Greg Boyd. In the 2015-16 season, Turk led the Eagles in scoring, finishing with a total of 455 points and averaging 19.0 points per game. Turk also led the team in blocks, finishing with 28 total and averaging 1.2 blocks per game. Carroll will serve his fourth season in the point-guard position for the Eagles. Turk and Carroll are the only seniors on the roster to have played together for their entire collegiate careers. Other key returners for the Eagles include junior point-guard Anthony Concepcion, sophomore post Abraham Kurnick and sophomore post Victor Peña. Kurnick averaged 8.0 points per game last season, finishing as the Eagle’s third-leading scorer. In rebounds, Turk led the Eagles with an average of 6.8 per game, followed by Peña with 5.9 and Kurnick with 4.0.

     After the season opener at Cabrini University on Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Eagles will host their home opener on Saturday, Nov. 19 against Neumann University. Last season, the Eagles beat Neumann by a close score of 73-70. With so many veteran players, the Eagles should be able to defend their home court and earn another win against the Knights.

Women’s Basketball

     With the majority of the team consisting of first-years or transfers, EU Women’s Basketball will have a nice blend of new and returning players. Eric Houston will begin his second season as Head Coach. In the 2015-16 season, Houston coached the team to an overall record of 12-13 with a MAC Freedom Conference record of 6-8. The Eagles played especially well at home, winning seven of their 10 home games while going 2-7 on the road. Last season, the Eagles finished fifth in the conference. In the MAC Freedom Conference Coaches’ Preseason Poll, the Eagles were predicted to finish third.

     The Eagles will welcome back two seniors: forward Emily Lavin and point-guard Emily McPeak. Lavin has been a dominant presence for the Eagles since her first season in 2013-14. In the 2015-16 season, Lavin led the team in blocks with 100 total, averaging 4.5 blocks per game. Lavin also averaged 14.4 points per game and collected an average of 9.6 rebounds per game. A few key returners for the Eagles include sophomore forward Regie Robinson and junior guards Taylor Price and Amanda Riiff. In her first season, Robinson earned MAC Freedom Rookie of the Year and led the Eagles in scoring, finishing with 395 total points and averaging 15.8 points per game. Price and Riiff led the Eagles in three-point shooting. Price averaged 13.9 points per game and played the most minutes for the Eagles in the 2015-16 season.

     The Eagles will open their season on Nov. 15 but will not host their first home game until Wednesday, Nov. 30 against Immaculata University. On Friday, Nov. 18, EU will match up against Arcadia University in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at York College. The Eagles have not faced Arcadia in recent seasons but should be able to come out with a victory with the combined leadership of their strong returners and enthusiasm of first-year players.

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