Pitt-Greensburg men return experienced lineup | TribLIVE.com
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Pitt-Greensburg's Marcus Thomas takes the ball to the hoop against Carnegie Mellon on Nov. 15, 2014.

Fourth-year coach Sean Strickland will implement a new philosophy on defense for the Pitt-Greensburg men’s basketball team.

Strickland hopes to carry over the team’s high-tempo offense to the defensive side of the ball. This philosophy comes with high-risk and high-reward, which Strickland hopes allows his team to be on the positive side.

“I just think experience since last year we were mostly freshmen and sophomores. I think another year of playing that style of play for another year will be a lot easier,” Strickland said.

“I expect for us to be a lot better on both ends of the floor. I think we will allow a lot of points because of the tempo of the game. But I expect for us to be on the positive end of things.”

The Bobcats, who finished 12-14 overall and 10-8 in AMCC action a season ago, will return their full starting lineup from last season. The Bobcats will carry only one senior: forward Brian Heinle. But they will look for big contributions from two juniors, forwards Jerell Figueroa and Rocco Contristano, and sophomore forward Marcus Thomas.

Also, junior point guard Jarrett Shannon, who has been nursing an ankle injury, will return to the starting lineup once healthy.

Strickland hopes the team’s experience will help the Bobcats improve from their first-round AMCC tournament exit after a 90-73 loss to Hilbert.

“We were ranked in the top four of our preseason rankings. You can’t put a lot into the rankings but if you are able to get yourself in the top four in our conference you have a chance to win it,” Strickland said. “You have to catch some breaks, and we can’t have injuries. But there is no doubt in my mind that we have as much talent as the other teams to win this conference.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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