By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It has already been a remarkable season for the Cabrini College men’s basketball team.
The Cavaliers have soared to the #2 ranking in all of Division III thanks to a 19-0 record (13-0 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference). This success becomes even more impressive when you consider the Cavaliers have had to overcome some significant injuries.
“We’ve been without what was our two leading scorers in Aaron Walton-Moss (ankle) and A.J. Picard (foot),” Cabrini head coach Marcus Kahn tells KYW Newsradio. “Right now we’ve got (43) points a game on crutches right now, sitting on our bench. So we’ve had to do things differently.”
Walton-Moss is easily one of the best players in the country. The 6’1″ junior guard is scoring 26 points a game, pulling down 11.2 rebounds and dishing out 6.2 assists per contest. He has missed the last couple of games. Picard, a 6-foot senior, averaged 17 points a game before being sidelined ten games into the season.
Kahn is hopeful that both players can return from their injuries next week. A couple of other players banged up for Cabrini are freshman forward Matt Forrest and senior guard Vernon Robinson.
The Cavaliers have had a lot of players step up in the wake of all the injuries. The most recent example of this came on Monday night, when junior guard Vinnie Walls poured in a career 34 points in a 103-96 win over Cairn University.
“The good thing is, we’ve found different ways to win and I think that is a huge compliment to our guys,” Kahn says. “Not giving in, not looking for the excuse but fighting to win.”
This success is nothing new for Cabrini. They played in the national championship game in 2012 and advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament last season and Kahn thinks they’ve finally broken through as far as being considered an elite program on the national level.
“I think teams are finally realizing what we have going on here,” Kahn says. “That we do have a good thing going, and that we’ve got some great kids in a program and some guys that just know how to win. And I think that’s been the biggest thing this year and I think that’s why the (#2) ranking is what it is. The voters are finally realizing we’re not just a flash in a pan or a one-man show. I think a while back it was , ‘Well (they) are just (former Cabrini star) Cory Lemons.’ And then, ‘(They) are just Walton-Moss.’ Now we are doing it in different ways with different guys and sustaining the success over the last five years. And listen, that’s the good of it. The bad of it is, we’re everybody’s target and we know were going to get every team’s best shot. So we’ve also found the last couple games that if we don’t come out and really perform that teams are going to keep up with us, they’re not just going go away and roll over just because Cabrini walks in the gym. So we’ve really got to stay sharp and keep focused on what we’re doing.”
Cabrini will return to the court on Wednesday night when they visit Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J, at 7:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.