Men’s basketball team makes history as USCAA Division II National Champions
Led by USCAA Coach of the year, LeShawn Hammett, Penn State Wilkes-Barre men’s basketball team captured their first-ever national championship.
Led by USCAA Coach of the year, LeShawn Hammett, Penn State Wilkes-Barre men’s basketball team captured their first-ever national championship on Wednesday night, with a dominating 86-64 performance over Johnson & Wales (Charlotte, NC) to win the USCAA Division II title in the main arena on the campus of Penn State Fayette. The no. 3 seeded Mountain Lions capped the historic season by finishing 25-5 overall, including an 18-1 record in the PSUAC.
On their way to the championship, Wilkes-Barre won its quarter-final game over no. 6 seed NHTI, 70-68. Although the Mountain Lions relinquished a 21-point second-half lead, Jordan Williams led with 18 points and 18 rebounds. In the second semi-final match-up, Wilkes-Barre defeated no. 10 seed Vermont Tech 80-74, earning their way to the National Championship game. Wilkes-Barre was once again led by senior Jordan Williams with 19 points; junior Khalil White added 17 points.
In the championship game, Wilkes-Barre was led by tournament MVP Jordan Williams with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Wilkes-Barre teammates Ameer Biddle, Dominique Stevenson, and Levaugn Knight-Soules all contributed double figures in the win. Knight-Soules earned USCAA All-Tournament honors by adding 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Wilkes-Barre led by as many as 23 points in the first half; the Wildcats got no closer than 15 points during the second half. Biddle finished the game with 17 points, while Stevenson added 13 points off the bench as Wilkes-Barre shot 48 percent from the field.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre men’s basketball coach LeShawn Hammett was named USCAA Men’s Basketball National Coach of the Year at the USCAA National Championship Banquet on Saturday, March 2, 2019. In the 2018–2019 season, Coach Hammett led the no. 3 seed Penn State Wilkes-Barre Mountain Lions to an 18–1 PSUAC conference record and a 25–5 overall record. Coach Hammett is in his fourth season as head coach, leading the team to a Division II USCAA National Championship. The Mountain Lions are the first Penn State University Athletic Conference men’s basketball team to capture a national title.
“The USCAA National Tournament is an amazing experience for our student athletes,” said Penn State Wilkes-Barre Athletic Director, Scott Miner. “Coach Hammett’s cultivation of a family atmosphere, along with his hands-on leadership, kept our players together even during times of adversity,” Miner said. “Our men’s basketball team and coaches represented themselves, their families, and the campus with class and dignity.”