The Mount’s men’s basketball team is off to a solid start on their 2016-2017 season. After making their first ever NCAA Tournament last March after winning the HCAC Tournament, the Mount was poised to have another strong season this year. After the loss of three of their top scorers (Joel Scudder, Travis Combs, and Femi Thompson) the Mount was still voted by other coaches to win the HCAC again this year which would give the team its third consecutive conference championship.
Prior to the 2014-2015 season, the Mount had never won a HCAC title in men’s basketball. Since then, the Lions have two conference rings and a NCAA Tournament birth to hold their heads high about. With this surge of success for the Lions, one can only hope to see them accomplish a three-peat in conference.
The Lions dominated their non-conference schedule, winning all five of their games by an average of 15 points per game with the most being a 31-point win over Piedmont in the Tip-Off Classic. To add to their impressive start, the Lions defeated John Carroll University that was ranked number 11 in the country at the time by a score of 101-82. This win not only provided a huge boost in confidence for the team itself, but for Mount students and fans of the team.
Now that the Lions are finished with non-conference games for the season, the team must focus on other HCAC opponents for the rest of the year as every game now counts towards their conference record and could decide whether or not the Lions receive a ring for a third season in a row.
The Lions are led this year by point guard Andrew Finley (Cincinnati, OH/Walnut Hills) who is in his second year with the Lions after transferring back to Cincinnati from Bluffton after his freshmen season. Finley is not only the Lions’ leading scorer, but is also the leading scorer in the HCAC with an impressive average of 21 points per game so far this season.
The Lions also have one of the best rebounders in the conference in Erik Edwards (Cincinnati, OH/Roger Bacon) who is second in the HCAC with almost eight rebounds per game. In fact, four of the top six highest scorers in the conference are Mount players. Finley, Edwards, Adam Goetz (Erlanger, KY/St. Henry), and Jordan Henry (Lexington, KY/Bryan Station) all have some of the highest point totals so far this season.
With the team having an abundance of talent to go around this year and an impressive start to their season, it looks as if the Lions are destined to add another ring to their collection at the end of this season. The Lions look to join Hanover College as the only other HCAC school to have won more than two consecutive conference championships since the Panthers won five straight from 2000-2001.