PREVIEW: Men’s Basketball to face host American International on Saturday

PREVIEW: Men’s Basketball to face host American International on Saturday

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia University men's basketball team will participate in its second straight NCAA Division II Men's Basketball East Region Tournament and take on host American International in the opening round on Saturday, March 14 at 5 p.m.

How They Got Here
Philadelphia claimed the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a 77-68 victory over Wilmington (Del.) in the CACC Tournament final on Saturday, March 7 in the Gallagher Center. It is the team's second consecutive CACC Tournament championship.

American International is the Northeast-10's automatic qualifier after the Yellow Jackets knocked off St. Anselm in the championship game of the NE-10 Tournament 85-79 on March 7 in Manchester, N.H.

NCAA Tournament History
Philadelphia is in the NCAA Tournament for the 34th time in program history, 28th under head coach Herb Magee. The 34 appearances in the Tournament are the second most in Division II history, trailing only Kentucky Welseyan's 37 appearances. Philadelphia is 33-37 all-time in NCAA Tournament play. The Rams won the 1970 national championship and have been to five Elite Eights. The team's last NCAA Tournament win came in the 2010 regional semifinal, when Philadelphia defeated Stonehill 71-69.

The Yellow Jackets are making their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance, the first since 2011. AIC is 7-12 in tournament play. The team's last NCAA Tournament win came in 1985, an 80-74 win over Sacred Heart.

Series History
Philadelphia and American International will square off for the fifth time with the Rams owning a 3-1 advantage. The Rams won the first three games of the series, but the Yellow Jackets claimed the most recent meeting, 67-61 on Dec. 9, 2011 in the MassMutual Center. The teams have met once in the NCAA Tournament when Philadelphia defeated American International 101-53 in the 1970 Elite Eight.

The Players
Philadelphia is led by All-CACC first team selection Nick Schlitzer (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville). Schlitzer—who 12th in school history with 1,695 career points—has a team-best 17.9 points per game (ppg) to rank third in the conference. He is the CACC leader in free throw shooting at 88.0 percent.

All-CACC second team selection Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) is third in the conference in rebounding (9.8 rpg) and ninth in scoring (15.1 ppg). He tops the CACC with 76 blocks. Derek Johnson, an All-CACC second team pick,

American International has four players averaging double figures in scoring. All-NE-10 first team selection is recording 17.2 ppg, a conference-best 80 steals, a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio, and 154 assists—which is third in the NE-10. Cameron Dobbs, a third-team selection, is leading the team with 18.3 ppg and shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range. Marcus Porter is contributing 15.4 ppg, while Trahmier Burrell is averaging 10.8 ppg. 

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