Junior guard Ryan McTamney leads Division III Ursinus College in scoring (17.5 ppg).

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Ursinus men's basketball a Centennial Conference force this season

February 05, 2019 - 1:33 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Any college basketball coach will tell you that they want their team to get better as the season gets along and, in a perfect world, peak down the stretch with an eye towards the post-season.

This is a blueprint Division III Ursinus College out in Collegeville seems to be following quite closely.

The Bears are 14-7 overall with four games left in the regular season and they are tied for first in the Centennial Conference with an 11-3 league mark. Ursinus has won seven straight and nine of 10 since the start of the new calendar year. 

"They are a really good bunch of guys, and they've worked very hard," Ursinus head coach Kevin Small said of his team. "I'm really proud of them. Yeah, we're playing pretty good basketball right now."

Ursinus can score the basketball, as the Bears average 80 points a game. They've been even better as of late as in their last six games, the Bears are pouring in nearly 91 points a contest.

"We're scoring the ball right now," Small said. "But quietly we've actually significantly improved the other end of the floor. I think a lot of the reason we're scoring at a higher clip and also with a greater efficiency is the way our defense is playing."
 
Small says the leadership of seniors Matt Williams, Zack Muredda and Eric Williams Jr. (also second leading scorer at 17.0 ppg) has been critical to the team's success this season. The Bears are also getting an outstanding season out of junior guard Ryan McTamney. The La Salle College High School product is averaging a team-best 17.5 ppg. 

"He's an extraordinary scorer," Small said. "But what makes Ryan such a great player is his willingness to be coached. I had him in here for film a couple of times last week, and he's looking at it and just — he's furious with himself. He's like, 'What was I doing?'

"He wants to be great, but I've had plenty of players who've wanted to be great but didn't have the demeanor to accept constructive criticism. Ryan wants the constructive criticism, which is one of the reasons why he's emerging as a really high level Division III player. He's also rebounding and defending. When he was a younger player, he was a really good scorer. He is now a really good two-way player."

The Bears are jockeying for position as the Centennial Conference Tournament approaches, but Small says they are making sure to stay focused on the task at hand — which right now is a game with Washington College on Wednesday night.

"Washington College is a very good basketball team. They're going to be playing for their own playoff stake on Wednesday night," he said. "I think one of the reasons why we've won nine of 10 is because we've worried about what was immediately in front of us. Everybody's human. It's hard for all these guys to do, because they want the playoffs to be here. But I think they're having an awful lot of fun, and that's made it easier to worry about the practice in front of you."

Wednesday night's game gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.