The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 1, 2014

Men's basketball: Stars gone, Patriot League has different look

Two teams have joined conference


Colgate (6-5) is just one of three Patriot League schools -- joining Lehigh and Boston -- to finish the non-conference schedule above .500. The Red Raiders, who finished in the bottom of half of the Patriot League, are a darkhorse for the league title this season. Colgate is shooting 50 percent from the field this season. After relying on Murphy Burnatowski last year, the senior forward now has a bit of help. The Patriot League's leading returning scorer isn't even the leading scorer on his own team this season.

Monmouth (N.J) transfer Austin Tillotson leads the team with 14.1 points per game. The sophomore guard played scholastically at Eastern York.

Like Bucknell, both the Lehigh Valley schools have huge shoes to fill. Lafayette (4-7) won seven consecutive games last season en route to a Patriot League Tournament final appearance against Bucknell, but the biggest catalyst in that run -- All-Patriot League guard Tony Johnson -- has graduated. The Leopards have been playing better of late, after starting the season 0-5, but they lost the last two games without guard Seth Heinrichs.

The 6-foot-7 junior leads the team with 20.2 points per game and is shooting 47 percent from behind the 3-point line.

In addition to McCollum, Lehigh (7-6) lost forwards Gabe Knutson and Holden Greiner to graduation. The Mountain Hawks lost a senior class the led the team to three 20-win seasons and three national postseason appearances, including an upset of No. 2-seed Duke in 2012. Point guard Mackey McKay is the top returning player for Lehigh and he leads the team at 13.5 points and 5.8 assist per game s. The Mountain Hawks, which won five in a row before a two-point loss to Bryant on the road on Sunday, have also received a lift from freshman Tim Kempton, who is averaging 12.6 points and 6 rebounds per game. Kempton, a 6-foot-10 center, is the son of former NBA player Tim Kempton.

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