GREENWOOD – The Lander men’s basketball team opens the 2016-17 campaign this weekend by hosting Brevard on Friday at 6:30 p.m., and Carson-Newman on Saturday at 3:00 p.m., in the Bearcat Classic.
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• Lander is meeting Brevard and Carson-Newman for just the second time in program history. The Bearcats knocked off Brevard, 75-63, in Steve Roberts’ debut in last season’s opener before toppling Carson-Newman, 72-65, to go unbeaten in the Carson-Newman Classic.
• The Bearcats have won five of their last six season openers.
• Lander holds an all-time record of 763-645 for a winning percentage of .550.
• The Bearcats tied for fourth in the Peach Belt Conference preseason coaches poll, the highest preseason prediction for Lander since 2009, when the Bearcats were picked fifth in the league’s preseason poll.
• Lander won the PBC Tournament championship for the fourth time in program history last season after being picked to finish 12th in the league. The Bearcats won the regular-season East Division title and notched a pair of one-point wins in the semifinals and the championship.
• Head coach Steve Roberts became the first coach in program history to lead Lander to the NCAA Tournament in his first season at the helm. The Bearcats advanced the tournament last year for the first time since 2006-07.
• Senior guard JR Washington was named to the preseason All-Peach Belt Conference team, becoming the first Bearcat to earn preseason All-PBC honors since Corey Wright in 2012.