ERIE, Pa. – The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team will begin practice next week as the 2018-2019 hoops season is just about underway. The Behrend Lions were the ninth-highest vote getter on Thursday afternoon in the D3Hoops.com Preseason Top 25 Poll. PSB received 26 votes in the season's first poll.
Penn State Behrend will look to build upon their 21-8 finish in 2017-2018. Behrend finished 14-4 in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference and advanced to the ECAC Quarterfinals.
Penn State Behrend will return a veteran core for Head Coach Dave Niland, who will be beginning his 25th season at the helm of the PSB men's basketball program. Coach Niland owns an overall record of 472-193 (.710 winning percentage).
Senior forward Dan Wanker (Pittsburgh, PA/South Park) is set for his final year in a Behrend uniform. Wanker earned Second Team All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference honors last season after leading the team with 13.6 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Senior point guard Andy Niland (Fairview, PA/Fairview) also earned Second Team All-AMCC honors last season after averaging 11.6 ppg and 6.3 assists per game. Niland needs just 56 points to reach the 1,000 career point milestone.
Malike Brinson (Erie, PA/Central Tech) was the 2017-2018 AMCC Defensive Player of the Year. Brinson, an elite-level perimeter defender, helped anchor the nation's leading defense. Penn State Behrend led all of NCAA Division III in scoring defense, allowing just 60.8 points per game. The rising senior also averaged 7.6 ppg and 1.7 steals per game.
Senior Mike Fischer (Wexford, PA/North Allegheny) started all 29 games a season ago and averaged 10.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 3.8 apg. Fischer scored in double-figures in 13 contests last season. He scored a career-high 19 points in a 63-58 win over Medaille.
The final senior expected to see court time is forward Justin Gorny (South Park, PA/South Park). Gorny was a Third Team All-AMCC selection a year ago after averaging 12.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 1.2 apg. Gorny shot 49.8% (130-261) from the field and he has the ability to step out to the perimeter (47 threes made).
Penn State Behrend will open the regular season at home against Carnegie Mellon on Saturday November 17.