IUP hopes for eighth straight win vs. UPJ

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They say the third time’s the charm.

And the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West division’s No. 4 seed University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (18-10, 13-9) will have to hope that saying is true.

In the opening round of the PSAC Tournament, the Mountain Cats’ balanced scoring helped take down No. 5 Seton Hill University for a third time this season.

UPJ will try to avoid being on the other end of a three-game sweep, as it’ll take on No. 1 IUP (20-7, 12-2) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

The Crimson Hawks have won all seven of their meetings against UPJ since the Mountain Cats joined the conference prior to the 2013-14 season.

Brandon Norfleet (senior, communications media) averages 31 points, 5.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and is 21 of 46 shooting (46.5 percent) against UPJ this season.

No. 2 West Chester University will host No. 3 East Stroudsburg University in the PSAC quarterfinal matchup, with the winner advancing to face the victor of IUP and UPJ.

East Stroudsburg is on a four-game winning streak and beat West Chester twice this season, 87-60 and 88-83. However, West Chester is 11-3 at home this season. West Chester’s Matt Wiseley, at 12.2 points and 11.1 rebounds, is one of two players in the PSAC averaging a double-double.

The PSAC East No. 1 seed, Kutztown University (21-5, 18-4), hosts No. 4 Shippensburg University (19-8, 15-7). Kutztown looks to run its home winning streak to 18. The Golden Bears beat the Red Raiders 81-78 at home but lost on the road, 78-70. Shippensburg’s Dustin Sleva, at 15.6 points and 11.9 rebounds, is the other player in the PSAC that averages a double-double.

The winner of that game will await the winner of No. 6 Clarion University (14-15, 10-12) at No. 2 Mercyhurst University (18-8, 15-7). The Golden Eagles and Lakers split the regular season series 1-1. Clarion is 4-11 on the road this season, including an 82-69 loss to the Lakers.

Tuesday’s game will be IUP’s last home game of the season.