MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine will play at the USCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time in program history on Thursday when the fifth-seeded Lions battle No. 4 NHTI. The game is scheduled to tip off at 3:15 pm in Maltho Arena on the campus of Penn State Fayette.
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Brandywine claimed its spot in the USCAA Tournament by claiming the automatic bid from the Penn State University Athletic Conference after winning the league title on Feb. 18. The conference championship, Brandywine's first-ever in men's basketball, came on the Lions' home floor by a score of 72-63 against Penn State Wilkes Barre during the Lions' first appearance in the title game in 27 years.
Under the direction of first-year Head Coach Ben Kay, Brandywine amassed one of the biggest turnaround at any level of college basketball this season, winning 20 games one year after completing a 6-19 season. Brandywine had won a total of just 20 games during the past four seasons prior to their first 20-win season since 2005-06. The Lions will finish the season with a winning record for the first time since posting a 17-10 mark in 2012-13.
Earning all-conference awards for Brandywine were three seniors - Terrence Brown, James Fisher and Donte Winfield. Brown, a first team selection (Brandywine's first since 2012-13), led the team in scoring (18.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg), while Fisher garnered second team accolades after knocking down 66 three-pointers and averaging 16.4 points per game. Winfield added 14.6 points per game and shot 86.7 percent from the free throw line, earning honorable mention laurels. USCAA All-American awards will be announced at the association's award banquet on Tuesday night.
Brandywine's quarterfinal round opponent, NHTI, is the 2018 champion of the Yankee Small College Conference. The Lynx enter the USCAA Tournament sporting a 24-4 overall record and are winners of eight-straight games. The Lions and Lynx will be matched up for the first time.
Brown enters the tournament as the second-leading scorer among players who will be in Uniontown this week, while Winfield stands second in free throw shooting. As a team, Brandywine ranks second in free throw shooting and third in turnovers forced per game.
Joining the men at the USCAA Tournament will be Brandywine's women's basketball team, which also won the PSUAC title. Brandywine is one-of-four teams to be represented in both the men's and women's brackets. Brandywine is also one of less than 60 schools at any level of college basketball this season to have two 20-win teams. In the state of Pennsylvania, only Brandywine, Cabrini, IUP, Juniata and Villanova feature a pair of 20-win basketball teams.
A win on Thursday would send Brandywine to the semifinals on Friday evening at 5:00 pm against either No. 1 Berkeley, No. 8 Penn State Wilkes Barre or No. 9 Vermont Tech.
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