D-III event highlighted by McDaniel-St. Mary's

Provident Pride

November 25, 2008|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

McDaniel College or Johns Hopkins? Frostburg State or St. Mary's?

Basketball bragging rights are at stake tonight as eight of the state's Division III men's teams begin competition in the Provident Pride Tournament.

It's the fourth year for the event, which has produced three different champions so far.

The tournament "is a celebration of D-III basketball in Maryland and a festive occasion for all of the schools," said Bill Nelson, the Johns Hopkins coach and an organizer of the program. "There's talk of getting the women's teams involved in the future, too."

Stevenson - formerly Villa Julie - took home honors in 2005, followed by Hopkins (2006) and McDaniel last year.

In first-round play, McDaniel (1-0) plays at St. Mary's (3-0), Hopkins (1-1) travels to Frostburg (1-1), Salisbury (0-3) visits Goucher (0-1), and Washington (0-1) hosts Stevenson (0-3).

Stevenson will host the tournament semifinals Saturday and the championship Sunday. Every year, one of Maryland's nine Division III schools sits out. This year Hood, the 2007 runner-up, won't compete.

Tonight's best game pits McDaniel, which won its opener by 45 points, against a St. Mary's team that is undefeated in three games. McDaniel defeated Penn State York, 100-55, its largest winning margin in 28 years. In its debut, St. Mary's upset Bowie State, a Division II school, 82-75, at the Verizon Center.

Never mind last year, when McDaniel dispatched St. Mary's by 20 points in the regular season, Green Terror coach Kevin Curley said. St. Mary's followed that loss with eight straight victories.

"We've got a tall order here" tonight, he said. "St. Mary's has been picked as a possible 'breakout' team in Division III."

The fact that McDaniel is defending tournament champion "gives our guys confidence," Curley said.

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