by Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the first time since 2012, the Division III Widener University men’s basketball team is getting ready for a Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Tournament game.
The Pride, the two seed, will host Albright on Wednesday night in a semifinal match-up.
Widener went 16-9 in the regular season (10-6 MAC Commonwealth) and they come into the postseason red hot. The Pride have won five straight and nine of their last ten.
“I’m extremely excited for my group,” Widener head coach Chris Carideo tells KYW Newsradio. “They’ve really worked hard, especially over the last five or six weeks. They’ve really come together.”
Listen to the entire interview with Widener’s Chris Carideo:
Carideo says they haven’t really changed much from an ‘x and o’ standpoint during this late season surge.
“We’re just playing a lot more unselfish, and I think our guys kind of really know where and who our shots are coming from right now,” Carideo says. “We’ve really had an emergence from junior Sam Smith, who has just played unbelievable in the second semester. He’s just shot the ball tremendously from the perimeter and it’s really opened up a lot of things for Sardayah Sambo, another junior, who is extremely athletic.”
Smith is shooting 43% from three for the season. His 15 points per game is second on the team behind only Sambo, who averages 15.4 points a night. Sambo also is the top rebounder on the squad, pulling down an average of 7.3 a night.
The Albright team that Widener will host on Wednesday went 12-13 during the regular season (10-6 MAC Commonwealth). The two teams split their regular season match-ups.
“They are balanced,” Carideo says. “They’ve got two wing players that are 1,000 point scorers. They can really score. They play nine, ten guys and they get contributions every night from somebody different.”
The winner of Wednesday’s game will play the winner of Lebanon Valley and Lycoming for the MAC Commonwealth title on Saturday.
Wednesday’s game will start at 7:00pm.