The IUP Crimson Hawks finished their regular season in an impressive way.
Not only was it senior night at the Kovalchick Complex, but it also proved to be a memorable night for the entire team. This year’s men’s basketball team is the first team since the creation of the KCAC to not lose a single game at home all season, following a 93–82 victory against the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown Saturday.
It was a very exciting time for seniors Malik Miller and Chucky Humphries (both communications media), especially considering they played a 27-game season and managed to lose only two throughout.
Though that’s not to say UPJ didn’t put up a fight. Despite scoring more than the Hawks in the second half, Pitt-Johnstown failed to rally in the first on tallying for 30 points. Their best efforts couldn’t get them to beat IUP’s aggressive defense.
IUP’s biggest leading margin started at 14 by the end of the first half and rose to as much as 21 points by the end of the game.
Both UPJ and IUP were under 40 percent when it came to their shooting on FGs and 3-point shots.
Armoni Foster (redshirt sophomore, criminal justice) once again scored the most for the Crimson Hawks once again, scoring a grand total of 25 points. Following close behind him was Miller with 22 points.
Humpries rallied for a total of nine rebounds and eight points on the night, including a dunk which greatly excited the crowd.
Were it not for players like Miller and Foster stepping up their game during the short absence of Humphries, they might not be as good positioned as they are for the playoffs, earning the PSAC West’s No. 1 seed.
But with only two Hawks leaving the nest following this season, there is nothing short of depth currently for Lombardi’s lineup. Two freshmen made thier impact known and in big was for IUP. Both Foster and Ethan Porterfield (freshman, kinesiology) became stars of their own this season.
There’s no reason to think these two can’t be starting-five material for the next season among othertalent from the roster.
For now, IUP men and women’s basketball teams will begin their playoff run starting Wednesday at the KCAC. With the records and rankings IUP has been given, there’s no shortage of hope that comes with their skill and competitiveness to push them all the way, but they’ll have to take it one game at a time, just as everyone does in the postseason.
The Hawks will host a PSAC quarterfinal game Wednesday and will also hope to participate in the NCAA Atlantic Region tournament, where they are currently ranked No. 1, after the conference championships have completed.