Men's Basketball Continues to Impress
The Oswego State men's basketball team entered the 2011-12 season with high expectations after getting a taste of the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time, posting a 24-5 overall record and losing only two seniors last year. The Lakers have so far met those high standards and are currently ranked No. 20 in the D3hoops.com poll.
The Lakers enjoyed two national preseason rankings in The Sporting News (No. 8) and on D3hoops.com (No. 18) before dropping their season opener.
But under the guidance of first-year head coach Jason Leone, Oswego State quickly got back on track by defeating two fellow 2011 NCAA tournament qualifiers in the Max Ziel Classic to jump start a nine-game winning streak. The Lakers moved to 9-1 overall and defeated then-No. 18 Buffalo State.
Oswego State stands as the only unbeaten team in the SUNY Athletic Conference at 5-0, extending its conference unbeaten streak to 19 games dating back to last season. It's the second-longest conference win streak in Division III men's basketball.
The Lakers suffered a second loss in Texas Tuesday coming just short of upsetting Division I Texas-Pan American in a five-point loss.
A large part of Oswego State's success has been due in part to the play of seniors Chad Burridge '12 and Sean Michele '12.
Burridge continues to climb the Lakers' all-time lists, as he is currently fourth in career points (1,570), first in career blocks (218) and tied for fourth in career rebounds (746). Burridge, a 2011 First Team All-American, is pacing Oswego State this season with 19.0 points per game to go along with 7.7 rebounds.
Michele ranks among the top point guards in Division III with an average of 5.9 assists per game.
Conor Monaghan '12, Hayden Ward '13 and Chris Gilkes '13 round out the starting five. Ward and Gilkes are averaging 15.8 and 10.4 points, respectively, while Ward is also grabbing 8.2 rebounds per contest. Monaghan is recording 7.2 points, 1.8 assists and 1.2 rebounds.
Oswego State resumes action Monday against Medgar Evers College in New York at 7 p.m. before resuming conference play in pursuit of its first SUNYAC title since 1965 and earning back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament.
— Adele Burk
Sean Michele '12 is among the top point guards in Division III basketball on a team that hopes to return to the NCAA national tournament. (Photo by Chuck Perkins)
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