Joshua Mccoy, senior on the UMSL men's basketball team

Senior Joshua McCoy is the UMSL men's basketball team's top returning scorer, averaging 14.4 points last season while leading the team with 56 steals and draining a team second-best 57 three-pointers. He also added 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Coming off the most successful season in over a decade, the University of Missouri–St. Louis men’s basketball team will open the 2012-13 campaign this weekend with high hopes of another strong season.

Last year, the UMSL Tritons posted a 19-9 overall mark and captured its first Great Lakes Valley Conference West Division title outright, going 13-5 in league play.

The 19 wins were the most since the 1990-91 team posted 22 victories. The squad also strung together 10 consecutive victories – the second longest in program history and secured back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1994-95 and 1995-96.

Head Coach Steve Tappmeyer was named the Co-Coach of the Year by both the GLVC and the National Association of Basketball Coaches in the Midwest Region.

While the Tritons did lose three players from that team, including top scorer and first team All-GLVC player Troy Long, several other players return, including Second Team All-GLVC honorees Joshua McCoy and Charlie Woods.

McCoy is the top returning scorer, averaging 14.4 points last season while leading the team with 56 steals and draining a team second-best 57 three-pointers. He also added 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Woods led the Tritons with 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots per game last season, while also averaging 10.6 points and 1.1 steals per game.

UMSL also returns three other players who saw stints in the starting lineup, including senior Isiah Nunn and sophomores Jack Connors and Aareon Smith.

Nunn started 11 games, averaging 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game and shot a team-best 53.5 percent from the field, while Connors earned eight starts, averaging 6.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He also drained 38 three-pointers, shooting 38.9 percent from long range. Smith moved into the starting lineup for five of the final six games of the season and averaged 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

Other returning letterwinners include seniors Ibou Fall and Vinnie Raimondo, juniors Kevin Dwyer and Eli Weigley and sophomore Neil Branham. Freshman Ben Reuther also returns after redshirting last year.

Fall appeared in 14 games, averaging 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, while Raimondo also saw action in 14 games, starting five contests. Dwyer played in 20 games, averaging 1.7points and 1.8 rebounds, while Weigley came off the bench in eight games, averaging 1.8 points per game. Branham averaged 2.4 points per game, seeing action in 24 games, while starting eight.

Tappmeyer also welcomes the addition of three newcomers, including senior Justin Jones and juniors Darian Cartharn and Michael Weber.

Jones comes to UMSL for his final season from fellow conference rival Drury University (Springfield, Mo.), where he averaged 5.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He previously spent two seasons at Lewis & Clark Community College (Godfrey, Ill.).

Cartharn played one season at Wright State University (Fairborn, Ohio) before transferring to Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake County, Utah) last season, where he averaged 9.5 points, 2.0 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game.

Weber comes to UMSL following two seasons at Kirkwood (Iowa) Community College, where he earned National Junior College Athletic Association Second Team All-American honors as a sophomore after averaging 11.8 points, 2.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. He was also a first team all-region selection and was named the Region XI MVP.

UMSL opens its 47th season of intercollegiate play this weekend, hosting the Coca-Cola GLVC/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Challenge. The Tritons will face Lake Superior State University (Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. before the University Illinois Springfield and Northwood University (Midland, Mich.) meet in the second game of the night at 7:30 p.m. UMSL will then battle Northwood University  at 5 p.m. on Saturday with UIS and Lake Superior State University opening the twin bill at 3 p.m.

The Tritons will have plenty of help from its home crowd this season they will play 14 of their 26-game slate in the friendly confines of the Mark Twain Building.

Click here to view a video interview with Steve Tappmeyer, head coach of the UMSL men’s basketball team.

Click here or below to meet the 2012-13 UMSL men’s basketball team.

Mary Ann Mitchell

Mary Ann Mitchell