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SMCM men look to keep on racking up the victories


Staff writer

In college basketball, when you see a small number next to your name, that typically means that your program is one to watch and one of the best in the country.

While some basketball teams and programs are surprised by the number, the St. Marys College of Maryland Seahawks mens basketball team is not surprised and not only welcomes the ranking, they expect it.

The 2012-13 season starts no differently for the Seahawks as head coach Chris Harney expects his 19th-ranked program to not simply win a game here or a game there, but to sustain the winning ways on the hopeful quest to a Capital Athletic Conference championship and NCAA Division III national championship.

I think one thing that would make this season special is if we upheld the winning tradition created over the last seven years, Harney said. We have to play well enough to continue the success of all of the teams created by the teams in years past.

Harney, entering his eighth year as head coach, has coached the Seahawks to six winning seasons in the last seven years coached, including six-straight winning seasons, four-straight CAC regular-season championships and three CAC tournament championships.

The Seahawks have also won at least 20 games in each of the last four seasons and had a NCAA Division III national championship tournament Elite Eight appearance in the 2010-11 season.

Continuing that winning tradition will rest primarily on the shoulders of five Seahawks seniors, including sharp-shooting senior guard Devin Spencer, who led the Seahawks in scoring last season with 11.5 points per game.

When asked if his thoughts of the ranking were, Spencer said, Its a tradition here.

He went on to add, At this point, you come in every year with a bulls-eye on your back as far as being in the top 25 or top 20. Its more of an expectation here now. We expect to be [ranked] and we expect to go out there and protect that.

Spencer did admit that going into this year that there is a bit of a different feeling than going into last year, not because of the ranking, but because he is a senior.

Its a nerve-wracking realizing that its your last year, Spencer said. I am excited to definitely get it going and leading the team in the right direction.

Along with Spencer, seniors James Davenport, Chris Hutchinson, Jeff Haus and Therm James will help guide a Seahawks team that Harney describes as deep with a roster full of at least 10 starters.

Hutchinson was third in team scoring last year, pouring in 9.3 points per contest, while Haus was second in rebounding, pulling down 5.6 rebounds per contest.

I think they are doing a good job as far as not only continuing things weve taught in years past, but upholding some of the traditions, setting the tone and setting the example on the right things to do, Harney said of his seniors.

The Seahawks will find out pretty quickly how they stack up against other ranked teams as it will take on No. 24 Randolph-Macon (Va.) on Sunday in the Hoopsville National Invitational Classic, hosted in Owings Mills. They will begin the season Saturday at the same tournament against Catholic of Washington, D.C.

Only days later, the Seahawks will open its CAC schedule at home against York (Pa.), the 2012 CAC tournament champions, on Dec. 1.

I think we are capable of just as many wins as any other team here has had, Spencer admitted. I dont have any doubts that we can win games. Our main focus on winning is winning each game, going on to win the conference and getting that back and then going in the tournament and playing each game like its our last. I dont see any reason why we cant win a conference and national championship.