Last year, the Medaille men's basketball team learned it could win in the Division III Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.
This year, the Mavericks are proving that they can handle that success.
The Mavs, 19-6 overall and 14-4 in their league, won the regular season title for the first time and will host the AMCC Tournament this weekend.
Medaille will play No. 4 Frostburg State at 5 p.m. Friday and No. 2 Penn State-Behrend will play No. 3 Pitt-Bradford at 8 p.m. in the semifinals. The championship game will be 3 p.m. Saturday.
"We had some bumps in the road after some early success, but the players have always believed and felt like we could be pretty good," said coach Mike MacDonald, who is in his third season with the Mavs. "People sometimes overlook us. We always felt that as long as we played as a team, we had a chance to be successful.
"Now we're on a new stage being the favorite. This year, we're the No. 1 seed and teams are coming to Buffalo. It's different to handle. We've been preaching that our next game is the most important game. I know that's coach-speak, but the guys have bought into it and accepted it and practiced and played that way."
And you can't argue with the success. The 19 wins is a program record, surpassing last year's 15-3 record.
The Mavericks are on a six-game winning streak and have won 11 of their last 12.
Keith Hack leads the Mavs in scoring, averaging 13.6 points a game, and is second with 4.7 rebounds. Ricky Reed is averaging 12.5 points while Bill Gersitz leads the team in rebounding average with 5.2.
The idea of "team effort" resonates with Medaille as 10 players are averaging at least 10 minutes a game.
"Without a doubt depth has been a strength and we've done a good job playing on our depth," MacDonald said. "We've got two guys at each position and if one guy has an off night, there's usually a teammate able to pick him up.
"These guys all genuinely like each other and that's neat for me to coach. Guys who are lower in the rotation, our 8-9-10 guys, when they come in and hit shots our bench erupts. They like playing for each other."
Overlooked in the stat line has been starting point guard Chris Moscato, who struggled early while recovering from a hamstring injury but has played well over the last few weeks. Also key are Jake Reisdorf, a member of the successful Mavs soccer team, and Ron Malicki, who provides 8.7 points a game off the bench.
The Mavs are 10-1 in the Sullivan Center, their home court.
Frostburg (17-9) poses a challenge in the semifinals. The teams split their regular season meetings.
Penn State-Behrend enters the semifinals at 17-8 overall while Pitt-Bradford is 16-10.
"These teams are winning 16-17 games out of 25," MacDonald said. "That's a pretty good percentage. . . . Bradford, Frostburg and Behrend are all teams that own multiple AMCC championships. Medaille is still the new kid on the block. It will be really good, quality basketball."