Scouting Indiana (Pa.)
Indiana (Pa.), Maryland's foe tonight in an exhibition game at Comcast Center, returns three starters from a squad that went 22-8 last season and finished third in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The Crimson Hawks advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament before falling to Kutztown, 92-86.
Joining the IUP roster this season is 6-foot-9 forward Akida McClain, who transferred from James Madison last spring. McClain initially signed with Boston College out of high school and played in 40 games for the Eagles. One of those games was on Dec. 11, 2005, against Maryland. McClain tallied four points (2 for 7 from the field) and four rebounds in 12 minutes.
With McClain and three starters returning, IUP was ranked No. 6 in the nation in the Sporting News's preseason Division II poll. The Crimson Hawks are coached by Joe Lombardi, who is entering his fourth season at the helm. After taking on Maryland tonight at Comcast Center, IUP will play at Wake Forest on Thursday and at Georgia Tech on Sunday to continue its three-game exhibition road trip.
The Crimson Hawks' leading returning starter is junior forward Darryl Webb (6-foot-6, 220 pounds), who tallied 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season (Actually, their best returning player was 6-5, 220-pound forward Gerald Brooks, but he was suspended from the team in August for violating team rules and then dismissed from the program in October following this incident.)
Sophomore guard Ashton Smith (6-foot-2, 180 lbs.) started for IUP last season and averaged 9.9 points per game. Senior guard Thomas Young (6-foot-3, 200 lbs.) also is a returning starter. He tallied 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season. Sophomore guard Julian Sanders (6-foot-3, 190 lbs.) came off the bench and shot 41.2 percent from three-point range last season.
IUP won 19 games combined in Lombardi's first two years before having a breakthrough season in 2008-09. Maryland Coach Gary Williams said Monday that the two programs had been in talks for a few years on playing an exhibition game and that he feels the Crimson Hawks are in a position to give the Terrapins the type of challenge they need at this point in the season.
"You really don’t gain much if you win by 40 in any game, so hopefully this will be competitive," Williams said.
And senior guard Greivis Vasquez had this to say about Maryland's lone exhibition opponent: "We’re not afraid of them. We’re going to play our game. We got too many tools and weapons [not] to beat them. We can’t really get confident. We just have to compete and get better" Tuesday.
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