MILWAUKEE - (November 18, 2010) - The MSOE Raiders men's basketball team plays host to the fourth MSOE All-Engineers Classic, to be held this Saturday and Sunday, at the MSOE Kern Center. MSOE, the 2008 All-Engineers Classic champion, looks to retain the tournament title of the biennial event. This year's field includes Caltech, Carnegie Mellon and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).
In the Saturday opener at 5 p.m., Carnegie Mellon will face USMMA. Last season, USMMA (Kings Point) took home its first-ever Landmark Conference Championship and posted a 24-5 overall record. The 24 victories are the second most in program history. Also, USMMA advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. USMMA head coach Danny Nee, returns to Milwaukee where as a college student, he was a member of Al McGuire's first recruiting class at Marquette University. Nee, who compiled 410 wins as a head coach on the Division I level, is in his first year as head coach at MMA.
The Mariners are led by All-Landmark First Team selection Matt Hueber (Alexandria, Va./ Gonzaga College High School) and second team honoree Tom Izzo (Bridgeport, W.Va./ Bridgeport). Hueber, a senior forward, has double-double potential in every game, while Izzo averaged 10.3 points per contest last season and led the team with 51 steals.
Carnegie Mellon is coming off a 5-20 season last year however, they are off to a good start this season. The Tartans won their home opener, a 65-61 defeat of the Juniata Eagles Monday night. The Tartans return eight players from a year ago. They will have an even mix of veteran players, returning three starters and eight letter winners along with a talented group of newcomers. Seniors Matthew Pettit (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) and Shane Rife (Greencastle, Pa./James Buchanan) look to lead the Tartan frontcourt this year. Last season, Pettit finished as the team's leading rebounder with 7.6 boards per game and was second on the squad in scoring with 11.4 points per contest. Rife, who started 14 games in 2009-10, averaged 9.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and led the team with 22 blocks.
In the Saturday night cap, the Caltech Beavers face host the Raiders at 7 p.m. Caltech finished the 2009-10 season 0-25 but return all five starters that helped the Beaver defense hold opponents to 33% shooting from the 3-point line and account for a Caltech record 3.7 blocked shots per game.
Beaver senior Ryan Elmquist (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) led the SCIAC in blocked shots (two per game) on his way to breaking the all-time season mark in that category set by Ben Turk in 1998. With a career-high five blocks against nationally ranked Chapman University and four blocks in five other contests, the 6-5 forward ended up 38th in the country in blocked shots. The leading scorer from last year returns in the form of 6-7 sophomore Mike Edwards (Canyon Country, Calif./ Canyon). Edwards, who set six Caltech records last year, including 3-pointers made in a game (seven) and season (62). Furthermore, he shot 78 % from the free throw line. For much of the season, Edwards drew double- and triple-teams and still finished just ten points shy of breaking Caltech's single season scoring record of 479.
MSOE finished the 2009-10 campaign with a 17-10 overall and 10-6 in NAC play and return three starters from last year's squad. Senior Austin Meier (Oshkosh, Wis./Oshkosh West) is the Raider mainstay and was named an ESPN Academic All-American for the 2009-10 season. Other honors for Meier include being a First Team All-NAC selection for the second straight season and NABC All-District Second Team. Meier led all Raider scorers as he averaged 16.4 points per game and was ranked nationally in steals (48th) and field goal percentage (51st).
Senior guard Bennett Deacon (Burlington, Wis./Burlington Catholic Central) will be asked to handle the ball again this year and pick up some of the scoring from last year's seniors Jeremy Off (14.7 PPG last season) and Luke Larson (9.4 PPG). Junior guard Rob Linzmeier (Valders, Wis./Valders) worked his way into the starting lineup near the end of last season and will continue to provide a long range option for the Raiders.
The MSOE All-Engineers Classic brings four universities known for their engineering and educational success and tests their skills on the basketball court. Host MSOE originated the tournament in 2004 where they lost in the tournament's championship to Rochester Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The 2008 tournament witnessed a great championship match with WPI defeating MSOE 74-71. In 2008, the Raiders defeated Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to win the tournament. Caltech returns to the Kern Center Arena for the first time since 2004 where they placed fourth in the tournament's inaugural year.
The tournament begins Saturday, Nov. 20 as MMA opens with Carnegie Mellon at 5 p.m., while host MSOE takes on Caltech at 7 p.m. The consolation game at 1 p.m. opens Sunday's action while the championship game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. tip off.