It has been a banner season for Indiana University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball — and it’s not over quite yet.
Stephen Troese Jr reports that right after winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference on Sunday, the IUP men also found out that they are once again the top seed as they head into the hosting duties for the 2022 NCAA Division II Championships tourney.
It’s the third straight PSAC tournament championship win for the Crimson Hawks, secured with a 63-52 victory over Millersville. The team brings a 29-2 overall record to the NCAA tourney, with first-round games starting March 12.
The PSAC title is the 12th all-time for the program, as well as the sixth under head coach Joe Lombardi. Ethan Porterfield, the sophomore forward, was named the tournament MVP, averaging 15 points as well as 8.7 rebounds over three games.
The Crimson Hawks will start their tournament run against No. 8 Fayetteville State, which claimed the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship last week. It is the IUP men’s 18th appearance in the NCAA tournament.
IUP Women’s Basketball Enter NCAA Tourney
It’s not just the IUP men getting attention going into the NCAA Division II championship tourney. The IUP women’s basketball program is ranked No. 7 as first-round games begin March 11, followed by March 12 semifinals and the regional championship on March 14.
The team will start the tournament with a bang, playing Cal U, the No. 2 seed and the team’s rival. It’s the team’s seventh straight NCAA tournament appearance with head coach Tom McConnell. It won Atlantic Region titles in 2018 and 2019. The team has a 21-9 record.
In addition, two members of the women’s basketball team earned all-conference honors heading into the postseason. Justina Mascaro was selected for the first time, while Rajah Fink went with the second team, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference announced at an awards ceremony last week.
IUP has had at least two players named to all-conference teams for seven straight years.
Two IUP Athletes Named to Indiana County Hall of Fame
Two former IUP athletes are among eight sports stars to be inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame in May.
The nods go to Joe Saffron, who played football and baseball at IUP after lettering in four sports at Laura Lamar High School, graduating in 1959.
Saffron was a freshmen pitcher on the IUP baseball team that set a school win record in 1960, going 14-5 and winning both the NAIA District 30 and PSAC championships before going on to the NAIA World Series. He played quarterback and went 5-0-1 as a starter in 1962.
Mindy Sawtelle-Zottola, who excelled in cross country in IUP as an eight-time All-American is another inductee. A member of the IUP and Pittsburgh Marathon hall of fames, Sawtelle-Zotolla won nearly 40 major marathons and half-marathons between 1999 and 2019. She also qualified for the Olympic Trials in the marathon in 2000.
Other standout inductees, set to be recognized at a banquet on May 22, include Phillies veteran Bob Carmo, Indiana and NFL coach Frank Cignetti Jr., and 12-time cross country, track and field, and cross-country letterman David Whitesel.