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Juniata MBB to open 07-08 at home in Mutual Benefit \"Doc\" Greene Tourney

(Posted November 14, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Juniata College men\'s basketball team will open its 2007-08 season this weekend as it hosts the 15th annual Mutual Benefit Group \"Doc\" Group Invitational tournament, Friday and Saturday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center. Washington & Jefferson College and Penn State-DuBois will open the tournament at 6:00 p.m. Friday evening, before Juniata will make its regular season debut at 8:00 p.m. against Lancaster Bible College. The two losing teams from Friday night\'s games will face each other in the Consolation game at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, while the winners will meet in the Championship at 4:00 p.m. \"I think all three teams we could potentially face in this tournament are very well coached, and all of them will show us something a little different on the court that will show us something different about ourselves,\" said Juniata head men\'s basketball coach Greg Curley. \"The common thread is that all these teams play extremely well and will play us extremely hard. I\'ve told our guys the team that wins this tournament is going to be the toughest team - both physically and mentally,\" said Curley. Juniata\'s opening round opponent, the Lancaster Bible College Chargers, went 15-17 last season and earned a berth in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Division II men\'s tournament. Washington & Jefferson struggled somewhat to start off its 2006-07 campaign, but rebounded to post a 14-14 overall record, 8-4 in the Presidents\' Athletic Conference, before falling to Grove City College in the PAC Tournament championship game. Penn State-DuBois posted a 24-7 overall record last season while competing in the PSU Athletic Conference with other campuses in the Penn State system. The Lions went 19-2 in the PSUAC last season, winning the conference championship and finishing as national runners-up for the United States College Athletic Association national championship. Against this field, Juniata will be looking to claim its third consecutive title in the Mutual Benefit Group \"Doc\" Greene Invitational. The Eagles captured last season\'s title with a 76-64 win over Bethany College, and nailed down the 2005 championship with a 91-72 victory over Pitt-Greensburg. The Eagles return only one starter from a 2006-07 squad that set a program record with 17 wins, but boast 10 returning letterwinners on the roster including several who saw significant playing time a year ago Senior forward Brian Cannon led the Eagles in scoring with 14.5 ppg; while he didn\'t start a single game last season, he played in all 29 contests as a reserve and was fifth in total minutes played. Senior guard Kyle Opitz was fourth in scoring last season, second among returnees, and is the top three-point threat with 28 treys (.326 3FG%) last season. Senior guard Brent Ferko averaged 8.4 points last season while shooting .461 from the field, and tallied 23 blocks with 27 steals. Also expected to make key contributions this season are junior guard/forward David Thompson (2.3 ppg, .417 FG% in 2006-07), junior guard/forward Eric Mueseler (2.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 12-35 3FG-A), and senior guard/forward Garrett Bull (1.7 ppg, .700 FG%). \"I think the guys have worked very hard in preseason and are anxious to get going,\" said Curley. \"We have a long way to go, but by the time mid-January rolls around, and we start playing the bulk of our conference schedule, we will have had the chance to give guys some reps and be a pretty good team.\" But can this year\'s squad match the success of the 2006-07 team, which came within one possession of making the program\'s first NCAA Tournament appearance? Curley hopes the answer will start to unfold in this weekend\'s tournament. \"I want to see our guys compete, and I honestly want to see how our guys react to adversity,\" said Curley. \"We\'ll have some ups-and-downs, and how we respond and how we come together is important. \"Having said that, every time we step foot on the court, our goal will be to win.\" -30-

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.