BUENA VISTA, Va. – In Tony Caputo's final year as head coach, the Southern Virginia men's basketball team finished with an 11-14 overall record in 2017-18 and a 6-12 mark in the CAC. The 11 victories improve on last year's win total by six games, and the Knights ended up at eighth place in the conference.
"It was an up and down season as we built confidence in the preseason, struggled during conference play by losing six straight at one point, but then finished the season strong by winning four of our last seven games," Caputo said. "The growth of our team came through its maturity as we went from having 11 freshmen last year to only three this season."
The Knights improved in many statistical categories from 2016-17, including scoring about seven more points per game, dishing out three more assists per game, and pulling down about six more boards per contest.
Just a few of the many highlights from the team this year are beating Shenandoah at home in overtime in the first game of the year, taking down conference foe Wesley by 30 points, and beating St. Mary's (Md.) on Senior Day by two. Southern Virginia played especially well at home, posting an 8-4 record in the Knight Sports Arena.
Seniors Aarun Rumbaugh and Cale Thornton stepped up big for the Knights this year, with Rumbaugh leading the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, while Thornton was second on the team in points and rebounds, and first in blocks while shooting 64.1% from the field. Rumbaugh was named to the All-CAC Second Team, becoming just the third player in program history to be voted to an All-CAC Team. Thornton had some monster performances this year, posting 30 points and eight boards against Frostburg State, and 26 points on 12-13 shooting in just 23 minutes at Salisbury.
Also making an impressive contribution was sophomore Justin Prisbrey, who averaged 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, while second-year guard Alec Johnson scored 6.1 points, 4.2 boards, and 3.2 assists per contest. Defensive specialist Kellen Winslow rounded out the starters, averaging 4.4 points in just over 20 minutes a game.
Guards Jaron Anderson and Sam Armstrong provided a solid scoring punch off the bench, scoring 7.9 and 6.1 points per game, respectively. Center Tyler McCreadie was off to a good start to the season, scoring almost seven points per contest, but saw his season end after suffering a foot injury just 12 games in.
The Knights will definitely miss the presence of their seniors, Rumbaugh, Thornton, and Casuan Caudle, but will look to keep improving and make the CAC Tournament in 2017-18 with many players returning
"Next year, the team should have the best continuity its seen in a long time with 10 veteran players returning," Coach Caputo concluded. "Rumbaugh, Thornton, and Caudle are key losses as they knew the league and our system, so it will be up to the returners to fill their voids."