The St. Lawrence University men's basketball team is set to open its 2012-13 season at the Rochester Tip-Off Tournament this weekend in Rochester, NY. The Saints, who return only one of their four top scorers from last season, will look to continually improve throughout the opening weeks of play in preparation for Liberty League competition.
St. Lawrence was voted fifth out of nine teams in the conference's pre-season poll, while RPI and Vassar were voted sixth and seventh in a close vote. Hobart, which is coming off its best season in its 102-year history, was selected as the unanimous favorite, with Union, Skidmore and Clarkson rounding out the top four.
"With a young and inexperienced team, our success will rest on how quickly all our players can progress," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Downs, who enters his 16th season at the helm of the program with a record 243-155. "Our learning curve will dictate the season and whether or not we can make a run in the Liberty League."
St. Lawrence finished the 2011-12 season with a 14-11 overall mark and 10-6 in the conference and returns eight players from that team, only three of which averaged more than twenty minutes per game. The Saints will look for Kyle Miller to continue his solid play at the guard position. The lone senior on this year's squad, he finished shooting .462 percent from the field and had 247 points and 51 assists.
Miller is joined by juniors Janpeter Brase, Brandon Rivera, Payton Stahler, Brady O'Neil and Al Jones, as well as sophomores Brady Condlin and Tell White, as returning veterans. The upperclassman will need to fill the holes left by the class of 2012, which included two 1,000 point scorers in All-American Ralph Temgoua and All-Conference selection Garrett Sharlow.
The Saints also welcome eight newcomers to the team, including junior transfer Grant Tracy (5-9,G) and first-year students Matt McTague (6-1,G), Marty Lewis (5-10,G), Shawn Hines (6-0,G), Dustin Pond (6-5,F), Andrew Bartlett (6-2,G), Leondre Simmon (6-1,G) and Trent Benton (6-7,F).
St. Lawrence will take on Mt. St. Mary's on Friday at 1:00pm before playing either Merchant Marine or host Rochester on Saturday. The Saints will host Plattsburgh State on Tuesday, November 27 in their home opener in the Burkman Gymnasium at 8:00pm.