By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- They have been fixtures in the Bridgewater State University men's basketball starting lineup since the start of the 2015-16 season.
Point guard Rocky DeAndrade has started 76 straight games over three years after coming off the bench as a freshman.
Forward Joseph Carty has started 60 of the 62 games he's appeared in since transferring from Goldy-Beacom College, a Division 2 school in Delaware, following his freshman year.
Now seniors, DeAndrade and Carty might be playing their final home games for the Bears on Thursday night.
Second-seeded BSU is hosting Mass. College of Liberal Arts in the semifinal round of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at 7 p.m.
The winner advances to the championship game on Saturday, which would be held at top-seeded Salem State, unless the Vikings are upset in the semifinal round.
DeAndrade and Carty have helped the Bears compile a 24-12 record in MASCAC regular-season games the past three seasons.
"Those are big shoes to fill,″ said coach Joe Farroba of his co-captains.
DeAndrade, a standout at Mansfield High, recently became the 28th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.
He reached that milestone on Jan. 25 and now ranks 24th with 1,102 points.
DeAndrade is averaging a career-best 16.2 points (third in the MASCAC) after scoring 10.4 points as a sophomore and 13.8 as a junior.
"He's had a great four years,″ said Farroba. "He's fulfilled every expectation. His leadership skills are unquestionable.
"He's getting everything that he deserves because there's nobody that trains like him. When one of your best players is the hardest worker at practice every day, it's a great example.″
DeAndrade averaged 3.3 points in 13.5 minutes off the bench as a freshman, then took over at point guard as a sophomore.
His scoring has improved each season along with the ability to run the offense. DeAndrade is second in the conference in 3-point shooting at 42 percent.
"He had the potential to score, 1,000, especially the way we play,″ said Farroba. "He has the ball in his hands a lot.
"I have a rule when it comes to shooting the 3-ball: if you're not 40 percent or plus, you shouldn't take them in transition. He can pull up in transition and shoot them because he's good at it.″
Carty, who played at Natick High and St. Andrew's School in Rhode Island, averaged around 10 minutes in 13 games for Goldy-Beacom before moving back to Massachusetts.
He went right into the BSU starting lineup as a sophomore, averaging 11.7 points and 9.8 rebounds and had 11.7 points and 8.5 rebounds as a junior.
This season, Carty is averaging 15.7 points (sixth in the MASCAC) and leads the conference with 12.6 rebounds (sixth nationally in Division 3).
He has missed the past three games due to an injury, and the Bears are hoping to have him in the lineup for the MASCAC tourney opener.
"He can really rebound,″ said Farroba. "I think he's got a real tenacity to go after the ball. (Teammate) Ray Ward sometimes will say, 'Coach, I was going to get a rebound but Joe takes it from me. I'm trying to get them, but Joe takes them right out of my hand.'
"He has a real nose for the ball and he's had some real phenomenal games with big numbers.″
A third senior on the BSU roster is Mike Wiederkehr, a native of Switzerland who has played limited minutes. Wiederkehr has started during Carty's absence.
"He's done a real good job,″ said Farroba. "He's a real good program player. He hasn't gotten the minutes maybe he wanted, but he's great for the program.″