Jan. 6, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin
NCAA.com

Wheaton (Ill.) moved up to No. 1 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 after opening the season with an 11-0 record this season.  It is the Thunder’s first No. 1 ranking since the 1995-96 season.

Senior guard Kent Raymond played a key role in the Thunder’s perfect week, guiding Wheaton to a trio of victories and earning College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Player of the Week for his efforts.  The native of Cumberland, Ind., averaged 22.3 points and seven assists per game as the Thunder won Wittenberg’s Charles B. Zimmerman Classic title by defeating Mount St. Joseph and Taylor.  He was named Most Valuable Player of the holiday tournament. 

Raymond ranks second in the CCIW with 23.2 points and 4.36 assists per game.

Wheaton looks to defend its top ranking against No. 19 Illinois Wesleyan on Jan. 7 in the team’s CCIW opener.

GOING GREEN:  Fresh off a stunning upset of then-No. 1 UW-Platteville last week, St. Norbert has cracked the D3hoops.com Top 25 at No. 23 this season. 

The Green Knights handed UW-Platteville its first loss of the season in the championship game of the Nicolet National Bank Holiday Tournament behind a 15-point performance by senior Tom Katzfey.

St. Norbert has won seven straight contests and is off to its best start season the 1982-83 season. 

STRETCHING IT OUT: Roanoke College stretched its winning streak to nine games with a narrow 84-82 double-overtime victory at the Domino’s New Year’s Classic on Jan. 3.

Senior guard Drew Gaeng netted a career-high 11 points and dished out five assists, while connecting on 3-of-4 attempts from three-point range.  The native of Frederick, Md., was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

The Maroons lengthy winning streak also placed them in the D3hoops.com Top 25 at No. 22.

COAST TO COAST:  UMass Dartmouth continued its stellar play with a pair of victories during a holiday road trip to California as the Corsairs climbed up four spots to No. 20 in the latest national rankings.

Junior forward Brandon Stephens averaged 15.5 points in wins over Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental, including a 20-point performance in the first contest.  He shot 51.9 percent from the field with eight assists and seven steals for the week.  The native of Dorchester, Mass., was named Little East Conference Player of the Week for his efforts.

The Corsairs host Roger Williams on Jan. 7 for a non-conference match-up before returning to LEC action over the weekend.

NOTABLE:  Ithaca College remains the only unbeaten team in the Empire 8 after defeating Alfred, 75-64, to move to 10-0 on the year.  It is the Bombers’ third-longest winning streak in program history … After starting the season with a 0-3 mark, Willamette has won five straight contests, including an 88-70 victory at Pacific Lutheran to open Northwest Conference play on Jan. 2.  Junior Cameron Mitchell averaged 24.5 points and 15.0 rebounds over the week to earn NWC Player of the week honors.  The native of Portland, Ore., is averaging 21.9 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.