sports 3 days ago

Men's College Basketball: River Hawks open at home season Wednesday

The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa. — Kurt Ritzman The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.

Nov. 14--SELINSGROVE -- Susquehanna has a busy start to the men's basketball season.

The River Hawks play three games in four days to open the year, but the good news is all four games will be at home in Houts Gymnasium.

Susquehanna welcomes Bethany (W. Va.) on Wednesday and then hosts the Susquehanna Trailways Tipoff Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The River Hawks play King's after Albright and Rowan square off in Friday's opener at 6 p.m.

"I'm very amped and very excited," Susquehanna senior Ryan Traub said. "We're hoping we can feed off the crowd's energy. We're going to go all-out. Effort, effort, effort -- that's how we're going to win games. We're probably not going to blow people out and it's going to come down to every possession. We're focused. We're going to leave everything on the court."

The River Hawks are coming off one of the best season's in program history after making the Sweet 16. Susquehanna graduated four players off that team, including All-American Steven Weidlich, the River Hawks' leading scorer last year.

In order for Susquehanna to get off to a good start, everyone is going to have to work together, according to junior point guard Tyler Hoagland.

"It's going to be a team effort," Hoagland said. "The players, coaches, community, student section all coming together -- we're going to need all that to go 3-0. That's the goal."

For Susquehanna coach Frank Marcinek, the importance of this opening stretch is seeing his team develop. The River Hawks return two starters from last year and only five other players who saw significant minutes.

"I'm wanting to see us play together, develop some chemistry and be a smart, gritty team that finds a way," Marcinek said. "I said to our guys before our scrimmage (last) Friday, 'Don't go out there and think.' When you go out there and think it slows you down. You need to just go out and play. We worked to develop habits through the preseason. Those habits may not be totally developed yet, but you've got to work on your habits. You can't go out there and try to think your way through the game.

"That's something we're going to continue to build on."

Email comments to kritzman@dailyitem.com. Follow him on Twitter @keritzman.

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