The Delaware Valley University men’s basketball team is headed to Ohio.
The Aggies are in the Division III NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history and they will open things up against Oswego State on Friday night on the campus of Marietta College.
DelVal won the MAC Freedom title, beating Wilkes for the crown on Saturday, 75-72.
“It’s been a great year,” DelVal head coach Casey Stitzel tells KYW Newsradio. “Our seniors have really led us all year and they deserve this. So I’m very happy and obviously anytime you go to the NCAA Tournament and you can be one of those 62 teams, it’s a great feeling.”
Listen to the entire interview with DelVal’s Casey Stitzel:
All three NCAA Tournament appearances for the Aggies have occurred on Stitzel’s watch (2011, 2013 and now 2016).
DelVal actually struggled a bit as the regular season wound down, losing four of six prior to the conference tournament.
“We went through a little bit of a bad stretch there at the end of the year,” Stitzel says. “The flu was actually going through our team and I thought we took our foot off the pedal a little bit. I thought we were looking ahead to the conference playoffs, rather than taking care of business during the regular season.”
But once the post-season did arrive, Stitzel says his group answered the bell.
“When we showed up Monday at practice, the week of the conference tournament, the two days before the Misericordia game (semifinal game they won, 58-57), our guys just had a different look to them,” Stitzel says. “A focus, an energy level and I really felt good about our chances leaving that Monday practice. I really felt like we were going to refocus and they were ready to go.”
DelVal is led by senior forward/center Chris Moran, who paces the team in scoring (19.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg). Junior guard Tyliek Kimbrough is second on the team in scoring (13.2 ppg) and he leads the team with 110 assists.
Oswego State is 20-8 this season and hails from the State University of New York Athletic Conference.
“Very good basketball team,” Stitzel says. “Very good coach. Jay Leone actually was the coach at Keystone (College) for my first two years, we played them both times, year one and year two. They can really shoot. They have a really good guard, probably one of the best players we’ve played all year, if not the best. It’s going to be a really good match-up.”
That guard’s name is Brian Sortino and he averages 20.4 points per game.
The winner of this game will face the winner of Gwynedd Mercy University and Marietta in the second round on Saturday.
Friday’s game tips off at 5:00pm.