Saint Vincent’s men’s basketball team will host a division I school for an exhibition game for the first time in 60 years. On Monday, Oct. 30, the Colonials from Robert Morris University will travel to the Carey Center Gymnasium to face the Bearcats. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
RMU is located in Moon Township, PA, and is a member of the Northeast Conference. Last season, they made it to their conference championship tournament but fell short to Mount St. Mary’s University in the semifinal game.
Bearcat’s head coach DP Harris looks forward to this opportunity for his players and Saint Vincent as a whole.
“It’s a great way for our team to be exposed to some higher level basketball. It’ll teach our guys a lot about themselves and their talent. I also think it’s a great treat for the student body to come out on a Monday night and have some fun,” Harris said.
The two teams competed against each other two seasons ago on Nov. 3, 2015, at the Charles L. Sewall Center at RMU. The Colonials won 77-57.
Harris expects a totally different game this time around. The team has an entirely different lineup than two years ago. There are only two players from the 2015 season that are still here this year, Austin Dedert and Matt D’Amico.
While facing a division I opponent may seem intimidating, Tom Kromka, senior economics major, is confident that he and his team will rise to the challenge.
“The most important thing for us is to focus on playing hard and running our game plan, and not get caught up worrying about how talented the other team is,” Kromka said.
While the Colonials may have a slight skill and height advantage (every player on the team is over six foot, a few over 6’6’’), the Bearcats have a more experienced team. RMU’s head coach Andrew Toole says that his team has a “young core making up the majority of our 2017-2018 roster,” while the Bearcats return nine players from last year, five of which are seniors.
No matter the outcome of the game, the experience will surely benefit the Bearcats for the rest of the season to come. Coy Patterson Jr., senior criminology major, sees the game as a learning tool for the team.
“The exhibition game is a good test and will show us what we do well and what we need to work on. It will also give us a confidence boost for when we play against other division III schools,” said Patterson.
The Bearcats will also have another chance to play against a division I school as they travel to California to compete against Santa Clara University on Nov. 3.
Harris says that the coming week will mark history for the Bearcats.
“It’s a big week for us, two division I games within four days of each other. That’s never been done before. We’re making history,” said Harris. “As a coaching staff, one of the things we say is that we aim to give our guys the division I experience at the division III level, and that’s what we’re
trying to do here. “
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Harris says the team’s ultimate goal is to win their fifth PAC championship in six years.
The coaching staff also wants to teach the team about humility, Harris said.
“We want to keep our guys humble,” said Harris. “But at the same time, we want to teach them that there are no limitations when we step into our gym.”
The Bearcats will open their regular season with an away game at Penn-State Altoona on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.
Photo: SVC Athletics