Down The Home Stretch, The PAC Race Is Shaping Up

 By John D’Abruzzo

College basketball fans following the Presidents’ Athletic Conference might as well go ahead and circle Feb. 21 on their calendar.

With both St. Vincent College and Thomas More College battling it out for the top two spots in the men’s and women’s standings, Latrobe, Pa., will likely be worth the trip when the two schools play a doubleheader at host St. Vincent. Tipoff for the women’s game is slated for 2 p.m. with the men’s contest expected to follow around 4 p.m.

Fans who can’t make those games, however, need not worry. The PAC Sports Network will carry live coverage that afternoon at

Sean Kett

Saint Vincent senior Sean Kett.

As of Feb. 1, defending champion St. Vincent (14-5) remained the top men’s team in the PAC with a 9-1 conference record and owned a one-game advantage ahead of Thomas More. The Bearcats’ lone conference loss — a 56-53 upset — happened Jan. 24 against visiting Bethany.

“The season is pretty much going like we thought it would,” Bearcats coach D.P. Harris said. “We’re still a young team with only one senior, so we’re happy with the way we’ve been playing.”

Pat Jones, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, along with junior guard JC Howard and senior forward Sean Kett have been key offensive weapons for St. Vincent. Jones was averaging 12.7 points a game, while Howard and Kett each followed with a steady 11.3 points.

“We have 12 guys who can play,” Harris said. “We have a deeper bench and a good balance that not a lot of other teams have. We might win the league and not put a single player on the all-conference team.”

“This is a by-committee team. We don’t have superstars, but we have guys who will sacrifice to win another championship.”

Bethany (12-8), Thiel (11-9) and Waynesburg (11-9) each own a 7-4 conference record and followed Thomas More (14-6) in the standings. The Saints stands at 9-2 in the PAC. Bethany, however, is riding a six-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s showdown with Thomas More, a game that will be broadcast live on the PAC Sports Network.

Thomas More’s Drew Mumford, a senior forward, has been leading the league in scoring with an average of 18.9 points a game. Mike Resnik, a senior from Washington & Jefferson, followed with an average of 18.4 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Bethany’s Delonte’ Joyce (18.3 points), Geneva’s Ethan Adamcyzk (16.3), Grove City’s Mitch Marmelstein (15.6) and Thomas More’s Nate McGovney (15.6) also have been among the leading scorers in the PAC.

Saints still undefeated


Thomas More junior Sydney Moss.

It’s been nearly a year since the Thomas More women’s team last suffered a loss. The Saints have been dominating opponents all season, and as of Feb. 1 they remained atop of the PAC standings and were ranked No. 2 in Division III women’s basketball.

“We were going through an adjustment period earlier this season,” Thomas More coach Jeff Hans said. “We lost a lot to graduation last year, but I feel that we are starting to understand how we want and need to play. I like the way we are working each day and the approach we have in each practice and each game.”

Thomas More (19-0) improved to 12-0 in the conference following an 88-50 win on the road Jan. 31 against Westminster. Through 19 games, the Saints outscored opponents by an average of 85.3-50.

Saint Vincent (17-2) trailed Thomas More by a game in the standings with an 11-1 record. Washington & Jefferson (15-4, 9-3) and Waynesburg (10-9, 7-5) round out of top four teams.

Thomas More’s Sydney Moss, a 5-10 junior guard/forward, remains the conference’s hottest offensive player. She has been leading the PAC in scoring with a steady 20.6 points a game while also averaging 6.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Freshman forward Nikki Kiernan (11.8 points) and freshman guard Abby Owings (10.4) also have played regular contributors for the Saints.

St. Vincent’s Taylor Mathers (18.7 points), Thiel’s Jaclyn Watkins (18.3), Bethany’s Kelsea Daugherty (16.1) and Washington & Jefferson’s Beka Bellhy (15.9) also have been among the conference’s leading scores.

“The key for our team to be successful is to continue to grow each day and take steps forward,” said Hans, who earned his 100th win at Thomas More on Jan. 24 against Waynesburg. “We will continue to get better as the season goes along and hopefully be playing our best basketball in February and March. If we do this, then everything else will take care of itself.”