The Lock Haven University men’s basketball team, coming off a 10-17 overall 2014-15 campaign, will begin their quest to a PSAC Championship on Friday at 3p.m. against Nyack in the Wolf’s Bus Classic. Picked fourth in the PSAC preseason poll, the Bald Eagles are fresh off their second straight PSAC playoff appearance. The 2013-14 season was the first time Lock Haven had earned a spot in the PSAC playoffs since 2003. Lock Haven returns a total of six players from last season, with the most notable being guard Bootsie Walker. The junior out of Chester, Pa. was picked to the preseason PSAC All-Conference team this season after averaging 10.5 points per game last season and 6.5 rebounds per game. Also returning in the backcourt is redshirt-senior guard Al Blount. Blount averaged 8.9 points per game last season while shooting 47 percent from three point range. Senior guard Elijah Cooper, redshirt-sophomore Ra’eese Hunt, senior Dave Garcia, and redshirt-senior Julian Bond also return for Lock Haven. Also added in the mix are three transfers. Senior forward Tracy Peal joins the Bald Eagles after being a 2013-14 All-PSAC selection at Kutztown. Shawn Church, a 6-3 guard joins Lock Haven after averaging 10 points per game while shooting 42 percent from three point range at Harcum College, a top-10 JUCO, last season. Another 6-3 guard, Cole Renninger, comes to Lock Haven after playing at Division-I Lehigh the past two seasons. Renninger played in a total of 24 games in his two seasons at Lehigh. Lock Haven finished last season seventh in the PSAC in scoring with 73.6 points per game, while shooting 42.2 percent from the field which ranked 14th in the PSAC. As a team, the Bald Eagles shot 30 percent from beyond the arch and were seventh in the PSAC in rebounding with 36.3 rebounds per game. In losing three starters, Lock Haven lost three of their top four scores, most notably Wali Hepburn.
Hepburn led the team with 19.4 points per game, while Theo West and Nate Walters tied for third on the team in points with 9.6. Lock Haven’s 26 game schedule features five non-conference games, with the first being Nyack on Friday followed by Penn State Lehigh Valley at 3p.m. on Saturday. The Bald Eagles will then play four more games away from home in a span of six days, with three PSAC tilts at West Chester, California (Pa.), and Slippery Rock. A non-conference matchup at Carlow University (Pa.) ends the road trip before the home opener on Nov. 28 against Penn State Fayette. The Penn State Fayette game begins a seven game homestand for Lock Haven, as they will play six straight PSAC contests at home in December and into January. Lock Haven will host preseason PSAC No. 2 Kutztown on Dec. 16 during their six game homestand. The regular season closes out on Feb. 20 as Lock Haven will travel to PSAC No. 1 East Stroudsburg. Head coach Mike Nestor, who has turned the program around in his four years at the helm, is looking to guide the Eagles to their third straight PSAC postseason appearance.