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MADISON, NJ (Gloucestercitynews.net)--(05/30/2019)-- The Drew University men's basketball team earned a trio of major awards from the Landmark Conference.

Junior guard Riley Collins was named Player of the Year and senior forward Nate Aldrich earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Each distinction was a first for Drew.

In addition, Head Coach Darryl Keckler became Coach of the Year for the second time.

Keckler guided the Rangers to string of firsts this season. The team placed first among Landmark teams for the first time with a conference record of 12-2--a school record for most conference victories. The Rangers also earned back-to-back conference playoff appearances for first time and beat Scranton in the semifinals to reach the the finals of the Landmark championship--another first. Finally, Drew earned its first regional ranking when it became the eighth seed in the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Region.

Collins, of Lanoka Harbor, N.J., was a tremendous all-around performer, leading the team in scoring (16.8 points per game), assists (5.4 per game), steals (2.3 per game) and free-throw percentage (81 percent). He also was second in three-pointers made (48). Within the conference, he ranked first in assists and steals and second in scoring.

Collins capped the regular season with a spectacular performance versus Catholic University. He finished the game with 34 points and eight assists and sank the game-winning free throws with three seconds left, as the team notched a record 20th win of the season.

In addition, Collins scored a career-high 35 points in a victory against Washington and Lee in the Larry Horner C'48 Rose City Classic, earning tournament MVP honors. He scored his 1,000th career point early in the season and is Drew's ninth leading scorer all time.

Aldrich, of Franklinville, N.J., led the team and conference with 10 rebounds per game and was Drew's No. 2 scorer, at 14.1 points per game. Also, in shot blocks, he ranked second on the team and third in the conference at 1.3 per game.

In six games, Aldrich grabbed 14 or more rebounds, including a career-high-tying 20 in a win against Elizabethtown. He also recorded five 20-point games, including a season-high 24 points in a win over Juniata in which he shot 11-for-15 from the field.

With his final rebound in the Landmark championship game--the 877th of his career--Aldrich became the all-time leading rebounder in conference history. In addition, he became Drew's 19th 1,000-point scorer and currently ranks 12th all-time.

Drew University, a Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts university, includes the College of Liberal Arts, the Drew Theological School and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. Drew is located on a beautiful, wooded, 186-acre campus in Madison, New Jersey, a thriving small town close to New York City. It has a total enrollment of more than 2,000 students and has 145 full-time faculty members, 94% of whom hold the terminal degree in their field. The Theological and Caspersen schools offer MA and PhD degrees and the College confers BA degrees in more than 30 disciplines.

Drew is dedicated to exceptional faculty mentorship, a commitment to connecting the campus with the community and a focus on experiential learning. Particularly noteworthy opportunities for undergraduates include the Charles A. Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (RISE), home of 2015 Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine and Drew Fellow William Campbell, the Drew Summer Science Institute (DSSI), the Center for Civic Engagement, as well as New York City semesters focusing on Wall Street, the United Nations, Contemporary Art, Theatre, Social Entrepreneurship and Communications and Media and several international semester programs. Drew also houses the Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, the Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, an independent professional theater, as well as the United Methodist Archives and History Center and one of the country's leading concentrations of materials on Willa Cather.

published Gloucestercitynews.net | May 31, 2019

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