The Mercyhurst men’s basketball team have secured the third seed in the Western Division and will host a first round PSAC Tournament contest on Saturday, March 1.
The Lakers will close their regular 2013-2014 season against University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on Wednesday, Feb. 26 in the Mercyhurst Athletic Center at 7:30 p.m. If UPJ beats Mercyhurst and California (Pa.) loses to Seton Hill, the Lakers would host UPJ on Saturday.
Mercyhurst is 15-10 overall and 11-4 in the PSAC. The Lakers beat Clarion with a score of 52-43 last weekend on Feb. 23. Sophomore Jean Onana scored 22 points on 8-11 shooting. Also, Mercyhurst ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 60.3 points per game.
“I think we did really well, even though we wanted to finish at a higher rank for the playoffs,” senior Jonathon Ouegnin said.
Leading the Lakers in points is Jean Onana with 255 points and is scoring 10.2 points per game, followed by Jonathon Ouegnin with 220 points and 9.2 points per game.
Ouegnin is also being nominated for the year’s Dark Horse Dunker competition and was able to make an appearance for his dunking abilities on ESPN last year.
“It really nice to be nominated for that type of competition and to represent the school at a nationwide scale,” Ouegnin said
The last time the Lakers and UPJ matched up was on Jan. 25 and the Lakers grasped the win, 80-78. Mercyhurst trailed, 46-38, at halftime before rallying to take a late lead. They eventually tied up the score even at 78. But, sophomore Andy Hoying sank a 16-foot jumper with 1.9 seconds left, propelling Mercyhurst an 80-78 road victory.
When asked how the three-game road trip went this weekend, Ouegnin said, “It was good; we won 2 out of 3 games, one which was with a buzzer-beater by Anthony Lytle, which was pretty cool. Unfortunately we lost against IUP for the first place.”
The Lakers were tenth in last week’s NCAA Regional Rankings. The second edition of the rankings will be released Wednesday, Jan. 26. The top eight teams in each region at the conclusion of the conference tournaments qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
“The biggest challenge has yet to come I think, to have a successful season we have to make it far in the playoffs, which will start next Saturday,” Ouegnin said.