Coaches pick MSJ men's basketball as top team in HCAC

Coaches pick MSJ men's basketball as top team in HCAC

Defending HCAC champions Mount St. Joseph University has been voted as the frontrunner in the 2015-16 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship race.

The Lions, who shared the HCAC championship with Defiance last winter, received seven first-place votes in the coaches' preseason poll. Mount garnered 97 points overall in the poll, holding off Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology who finished with 90 points and two first-place votes.

The Lions return a pair of All-HCAC players from last year's team. Senior guard Joel Scudder earned first team honors last season, averaging a team-high 14.9 points per game with 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest. Senior guard Femi Thompson averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest to earn first team all-conference honors.

Scudder, Thompson, senior Travis Combs and junior Bobby Murdock have been named as players to watch.

Rose-Hulman will look to challenge Mount St. Joseph in the race to the top of the conference standings this winter after finishing fourth in the standings a year ago. 

The Lions open the season at home against Wilmington at 3 p.m. on Nov. 15.