Dec. 9, 2009

By Amy Farnum
NCAA.com

MIGHTY MULES:
Central Missouri gained its first No. 1 ranking since 1980 after remaining flawless on the year with a pair of Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association victories last week.

Previously No. 2 in the NABC Division II Top 25, the Mules knocked off then No. 7 Southwest Baptist and Missouri Southern for a perfect league start.  Senior guard Alex Moosmann starred for the Mules in the two wins, averaging 22.0 points along with a 60 shooting percentage from the field.  The native of Washington, Mo., tallied a career-best 28 points against SBU, including 6-of-6 from beyond the arc.  

Moosmann, who also netted a game-high 16 points versus Southern, was selected MIAA Player of the Week for his performance.  He leads the league with a three-point field goal percentage of 66.7.

FALCONS FLY: 
Seattle Pacific jumped six spots to No. 12 in the latest national rankings after upending then-No. 1 BYU-Hawaii on Dec. 5 and improving to 6-0 for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

Junior Chris Banchero recorded 20 points on 10-of-14 from the field in the upset, following eight points and five assists in an 86-73 victory over Carroll College in the SPU Tournament opener.  Banchero was named to the all-tournament team, and collected his second Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Week award in the last three weeks.

The native of Seattle, Wash., paces SPU with 17.2 points per game, and is shooting 55 percent from the field.  Banchero, who led the team in scoring last year, is one of four returning starters on the squad.  

SPU first-year head coach Ryan Looney picked up his 100th career victory against Carroll after compiling a 95-55 mark over the previous five seasons at Eastern Oregon.

DOUBLE TROUBLE:
No. 4 Florida Southern won its Sunshine State Conference opener for the first time since the 2005-06 season thanks to a double-double outing by John Thompson in an 83-77 win at Barry last weekend.

Thompson posted his third double-double of the year with 19 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Moccasins rally from an eight-point second-half deficit.  He was tabbed SSC Player of the Week for his efforts.  Thompson leads the Mocs with 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

The Moccasins look to remain unbeaten when they host Ave Maria on Dec. 10.

GOLDEN BOY:
Kutztown University cracked the Top 10 of the NABC Division II Top 25 for the first time in program history as the Golden Bears climbed to No. 8 following wins over Chestnut Hill and University of the Sciences last week.

Senior guard Stephen Dennis garnered Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division Player of the Week after turning in his first-ever triple-double performance (31 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) against Chestnut Hill.  The native of West Chester, Pa., added 30 points and seven rebounds versus USP, finishing the week with 30.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Dennis ranks second in the PSAC in scoring (25.0), tied for first in assists (7.8) and second in free-throw percentage (85.8).

The Golden Bears (4-0) hope to keep up their winning ways at the University of District of Columbia on Dec. 9.

NOTABLE:  Arkansas Tech proved worthy of its No. 10 ranking on Dec. 8 as the Wonder Boys fended off No. 11 Drury University, 68-63, to improve to 8-0 on the year.  It is the program’s best start to a season since the 1952-53 team went 24-0 before a season-ending loss.  It was also Tech’s first home victory against a nationally-ranked team … Columbus State guard Lamar Williams buried a three-pointer - his second in a three-minute span - with 9.4 seconds left on Dec. 7 to give the Cougars their first lead of the game over third-ranked Valdosta State as CSU went on to shock the previously-unbeaten Blazers, 73-71.  It was CSU’s first win over a ranked foe since Jan. 7, 2009 versus then-No. 16 Clayton State.