Men's Basketball Season Recap

By Laura Tome

The Southern Virginia University men's basketball finished its inaugural season in the Capital Athletic Conference 6-16 overall and 4-14 in the CAC. As first-year members of the league, the Knights showed well and earned their first CAC victory against Penn State Harrisburg on Jan. 8, 2014 at Knights Sports Arena.

The Knights defeated a top United States Collegiate Athletic Association competitor, Apprentice School, 76-69 while on the road as well as St. Joseph's 69-54 while at home. The Knights contended well with Capital Athletic Conference opponents as they suffered four close losses. The Knights lost to Marymount University 83-82, Salisbury University 72-70, York College 86-82 and previously No. 19 Mary Washington 103-97. Mary Washington went on to win the 2013-14 CAC Men's Basketball championships and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA DIII Tournament..

Lone returner Wesley Evans proved key to the Knights success early on. Evans received W&L Tip-Off Tournament All-Tournament Team honors after scoring a season-high 25 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field, four three-pointers, 7-for-7 from the free-throw line and a season-high 13 rebounds.

Evans ended the season with a team high of 6.7 rebounds per game an average of 10.2 points per game, the third most on the team.

Junior transfers Preston Eaton and Chris Baker had successful seasons with the Knights as they led the team with 358 and 303 points, respectively.

Eaton was named the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Division I Basketball Player of the Week on December 3, 2013 after recording a season-high 28 points against St. Joseph's in the Knights' first win of the season. Eaton continued to tie his season-high 28 points in the victory against CAC foe Penn State Harrisburg.

Eaton, a Mapleton, Utah native, was named to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association All-America Second Team after averaging 16.3 points per game this season, fourth most in the Capital Athletic Conference. Eaton ranked 13th in the league in three-point percentage (36.4) after registering 40 treys on the year. Also known for his strong drives to the basket, his 98 free throw conversions were third-most in the CAC and his 77.8 free-throw percentage ranked ninth in the CAC.

Baker recorded a season-high 23 points in the loss to CAC competitor St. Mary's (Md.) on February 15. Baker had a season high of five three-pointers against Marymount early on in the season. He ended the season leading the Knights with 87 assists and 77.9 percent on free throws, as he was perfect from the stripe in seven contests.

Senior transfer Kenrick Hart led the Knights with a career high and team high of 32 points against No. 19 Mary Washington, as he was 7-7 on free throws, 5-7 from the arc and 10-14 from the field.

Sophomore center Ben Canevari earned a season-high 20 points to lead the Knights as he went 8-for-9 from the field, and 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the loss to No. 15 Mary Washington. Freshman guard Michael Price recorded a season-high of 15 points against two CAC foes and led the Knights with 41 steals. Price recorded a season-high of four steals in the victories over three CAC opponents Penn State Harrisburg, Frostburg State and York College.

Price averaged nearly 70-percent from the free-throw line and was 100 percent from the stripe in five straight games, all against CAC competitors. After seeing his elevated level of play each game, the Knights will be eager for Price's return from a two-year Spanish-speaking mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bogotá, Columbia.

The Knights will await the return of four other team members Ryan White, Brandon Caputo, AJ DeMond and Michael Ward, who will also serve two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. White will serve in Frankfurt Germany, Caputo will serve in Federal Way, Wash., Demond will serve in Los Angeles, Calif., and Ward will serve in Billings, Mont.

The Knights struggled to maintain momentum throughout the season as they suffered a six-game losing streak, but easily defeated top USCAA teams and competed well with fellow CAC conference foes. Southern Virginia University men's basketball will look to learn and improve from its inaugural season as a CAC member.