By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —The Division III Ursinus College men’s basketball has hit the ground running here this season.

The Bears, who call Collegeville home, are 4-1 and 2-0 in the Centennial Conference. They put together a very impressive performance on Thursday night, going on the road to Lancaster and beating an outstanding Franklin & Marshall team, 102-86.

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“We have a really good bunch of kids,” Ursinus head coach Kevin Small tells KYW Newsradio. “They play the right way and they really share the ball. I thought that was evident (Thursday) night, they cared about the way they defended and they turned gritty defense into really quality offense. I’m really happy for them.”

 

Listen to the entire interview with Ursinus head coach Kevin Small

 

Sophomore guard Eric Williams Junior was huge in the big win over the Diplomats, pouring in a game high 30 points – hitting six of nine from three.

“He can really shoot it and he’s off to a fast start,” Small says. “Through five games he’s shooting 57% from three and giving us over three made threes a game.”

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This is an Ursinus team that is averaging 83.2 ppg, so Williams isn’t the only player turning heads here early on.

“We’ve got some extraordinary kids here,” Small says. “We’re led by senior (guard) Matt Knowles from Scranton Prep and he’s done a really nice job as one of our captains as well. He’s our leading scorer, giving us over 17 a game. We have a junior point guard, local kid from Lansdale Catholic, Brian Rafferty. Brian’s also just a terrific captain for us, kids follow him. I think he’s the best point guard, not just in our league, but in our region. (He) plays with great poise and really understands the game. He’s kind of old school, his pop played for (Philadelphia University’s) Herb Magee and he’s from that kind of family tree of old school Philly basketball.”

Making this early success even more impressive is the fact that the Bears have yet to play a home game. Their first game in Collegeville this season will be Saturday against McDaniel College.

“That was actually by design in terms of trying to help this team get a little bit grittier and tougher by playing five games on the road to start the season,” Small says. “I’m excited to return to Helfferich (Hall), we always have a huge crowd here, there’s lots of support.”

Saturday’s game against McDaniel gets underway at 1:00 pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleonkyw.

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