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Behrend flying high below the radar

Zane Hackett is an engineering major, and a highlight waiting to happen.
Penn State-Behrend athletics photo

Despite its sterling 17-2 record and current six-game winning streak Penn State-Behrend is nowhere to be found in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 poll. Not in the poll or receiving any votes.

To some, that slight would be cause for “No Respect” slogans, angry emails, text messages and tweets. However, PSU-Behrend is cut from a different cloth and it is perfectly content flying under the radar. While the national recognition would be welcomed, the Lions have methodically gone about their business of winning games and shutting down their opponents.

Two-time Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference kingpin PSU-Behrend is cruising toward its third consecutive 20-win season under veteran coach Dave Niland following Wednesday’s 67-47 victory over Pitt-Bradford. With one more win, the Lions will match the 2010-11 team that started the season 18-2. The best start in program history belongs to the 1968-69 and 2003-04 teams, each of whom began their seasons with 20-1 records.

The Lions are winning the old-fashioned way – by locking up opponents like the Department of Corrections. PSU-Behrend is third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 55.8 points per game. The Lions have held 12 of their 19 opponents below 60 points this season. Seven of those teams have failed to score 50 points. The Lions limited LaRoche to 30 points last Saturday.

PSU-Behrend’s style of play is tenacious, old school and a pleasure to watch especially if you’re fan of teamwork, making the extra pass, and rebounding. Sticking to opponents like body odor, the Lions are balanced and versatile.

“We’re not surprised about our start to the season because we had high expectations coming into the year,” Nick DeLisio said. “We had a lot of guys returning and guys who played last year so we expected to pretty good. However, we understand that there’s still a lot of basketball remaining and we don’t want to get too overconfident.”

DeLisio, a four-year starter, is averaging 14.2 points per game, loves playing defense more than scoring. PSU-Behrend’s top scorer is Zane Hackett, who scores at a 15.4 point per game clip. Keith Wallace, a human handcuff, is PSU-Behrend’s all-time steals leader. He set the new school standard during an 88-76 win over Medaille. Wallace is also averaging 9.3 points per game.

According to DeLisio, Hackett is an instant highlight at times. Just to provide their fans some exciting...

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Columnist

Rob Knox

A former Division III Sports Information Director at Lincoln University, Rob Knox also worked at ESPN, Kutztown and at the Delaware County Daily Times. He was named the CoSIDA Rising Star Award College Division winner and won three writing awards for various game stories including the 2007 D-III sectional triple-OT game between Guilford and Lincoln. In the past, he has also written articles for SLAM magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan, a graduate of Lincoln and is from Chester, Pa.
Previous columnists:
2010-13: Brian Falzarano
2010: Marcus Fitzsimmons
2008-2010: Evans Clinchy
Before 2008: Mark Simon

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