Milestones in sight for two Vulcans
CALIFORNIA -- As Cal U gears up for a late-season run at a PSAC West playoff berth, two team members are zeroing in on personal plateaus.
Captains Boris Mesnager and Travis Eisentrout are on the threshold of joining the 1,000-point club. Mesnager needs 35 points to become the 32nd player in the university's history to reach 1,000 career points. Eisentrout, needs 47 to hit 1,000.
The Cal duo will edge closer to those goals tonight when the Vulcans (16-7) close out their non-conference slate with a game at Pitt-Johnstown (tip-off 7:30).
In last year's 86-80 loss to the Mountain Cats, Mesnager scored a team-high 22 points.
Pitt-Johnstown (18-5) has won the last two games against Cal. And while Cal has lost its last three road games, UPJ is riding a 10-game home winning streak.
UPJ's top offensive threat is Chris Gilliam, who averages 19 ppg. Mesnager (16.2 ppg) and James Petty (15.8) are the Vulcans' top scorers.
Incidentally, Cal was knocked out of the NCAA Division II East Regional rankings at No. 10 and was replaced by UPJ in the poll.
And while the Vulcans can't afford to look past the Mountain Cats tonight, it is understandable to think the team could be looking forward to its final three PSAC West conference games, needing one win to clinch a playoff berth.
Cal is third in the West with a 6-3 conference slate and has games remaining against Clarion (3-5, 11-11) Saturday, Shippensburg (8-0, 194) Feb. 22 and Lock Haven (1-8, 3-20) Feb. 25.
If the Vulcans win at Clarion Saturday, they will wrap up a playoff berth.
The Vulcans will again be without Coach Bill Brown tonight. Brown, who has spent several weeks in the hospital for an undisclosed illness, has missed the last six games.
The team has been guided by Brown's top assistant, Dale Bandy, a former head coach at Ohio University and a fourth-year Vulcan assistant.
CAL CLIPS: Cal leads the overall series with UPJ, 16-9 É The latest regional rankings are set to be released this evening.
É In other PSAC West contests tonight, Shippensburg visits Lock Haven, Clarion is at Slippery Rock (1-8, 2-22) and Edinboro (6-2, 15-8) goes to Indiana (5-4, 16-7).