Men’s Basketball Opens 2018-19 At Rowan Thursday

Isiah Cook
Isiah Cook

MEDIA, Pa. -- Coming off its first-ever conference championship, Penn State Brandywine opens the 2018-19 season Thursday against Widener on the campus of Rowan University at 6:00 PM.

Brandywine had finished in the bottom third of the PSUAC standings in four-straight seasons before enjoying a historic 2017-18, winning 21 games for the first time since 2005-06, while also becoming Brandywine's first-ever men's team to win a game at a USCAA Tournament.

The team will look to recapture that magic this season despite the loss of its four top scorers. Isiah Cook is the Lions' top returning scorer after pouring in 8.7 points per game as a freshman. Cook came on strong at the midway point of the season, scoring in double figures six times after the holiday break. He was one of the team's top three-point threats, making 38 in 27 games last season at a 30-percent clip.

A total of eight players are back from last season under the new leadership of first-year Head Coach Justin Dunbar-Stevens. Dunbar-Stevens arrived at Brandywine during the summer after serving as an assistant coach at Eastern University for two seasons and is the 11th head coach in the team's 50-year history.

This year's 15-man roster is comprised of seven freshmen and six sophomores with only senior Josh Smith and junior Pat Gallagher owning more that one year of collegiate experience. Smith appeared in 18 games during his first season at Brandywine, while Gallagher has played in 35 games in two years, including 11 starts as a freshman. Both will provide Brandywine with three-point shooting talent.

The Lions are loaded with guards as their tallest player is listed at 6-foot-3. Joining Gallagher as returners in the back court are Quentin Beasley and Andrew Persaud. Beasley netted double figures three times as a freshman, pouring in a career high 21 points, while averaging 4.8 points per game and Persaud made 13 appearances as a reserve.

Cook and fellow sophomores Dwayne Coleman and Anthony Lattanzi will have to play bigger than their listed heights of 6-foot-1 at the forward spot. Coleman showed rebounding talent as a freshman, hauling in nearly five per game, while also contributing 4.9 points per outing. Lattanzi started 11 games and played in 23 overall, tallying 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

The Lions will face a tough non-conference schedule with five games against Division III opponents plus a matchup with crosstown rival Williamson on the slate. Brandywine faces Widener in the opening game of Rowan University's LaScala Fire Tournament to open the season Thursday and Friday, while hosting Bryn Athyn in its home opener on Nov. 20.

Brandywine's first of 19 conference games comes at home on Nov. 27 against Penn State Hazleton.