Jan. 5, 2010

By Amy Farnum
NCAA.com

NEW NO. 1: 
With so many unbeatens falling in the top five last week, including previously top-ranked Washington (Mo.), Randolph-Macon jumped up to the No. 1 spot in the latest D3Hoops.com Top 25.  It is the first time since the final regular season poll in 2003 that R-MC is ranked at the top.

The Yellow Jackets’ No. 1 ranking was immediately tested on Jan. 4, but passed with a 74-53 road win at Bridgewater in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play, improving to 11-0 on the year and 2-0 in league action.  R-MC has knocked off three Top 25 opponents during the stretch.

Stifling defensive play has keyed Randolph-Macon’s winning streak as the Yellow Jackets lead the ODAC in scoring defense (60.5 ppg), field goal percentage defense (36.5) and rebounding margin (10.5).

The Yellow Jackets are back in action at archrival Hampden-Sydney on Jan. 6.

ON A ROLL:
Anderson University vaulted six spots to No. 18 in the most recent D3Hoops.com Top 25 after stretching its winning streak to eight games with an upset of then-No. 8 Howard Payne University in non-conference action on Jan. 2.
 
The victory moved to the Ravens to 11-1 on the year, the program’s best start to a season through 12 games.  Anderson, the lone remaining unbeaten squad in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, returns to league action against Franklin on Jan. 6.

WORKING OVERTIME: 
It took four overtimes and almost three hours, but Wheaton (Ill.) finally pulled out a 102-100 victory over Pomona-Pitzer on Jan. 2.  There were 13 lead changes and 13 ties during the contest.  

“That's the best small college basketball game I've ever seen," said Wheaton head coach Mike Schauer. "The number of plays that our kids made tonight under pressure was remarkable."

Ben Panner netted 22 point and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Thunder, including a game-tying three-pointer at the end of the third overtime.

Following its three-game California road trip, the No. 14 Thunder will turn to College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin play, opening league action against Carthage on Jan. 6.  

SAINTLY PERFORMANCE:  Thomas More College’s sophomore guard Daniel Neely turned in a career week as he helped the Saints to a pair of victories, improving their record to 8-4 on the year.
 
The native of Warsaw, Ky., began the week with a career-best 24 points, including 22 in the second half and the game-winning basket in the Saints’ upset of then-No. 10 Wilmington College on Dec. 30.  He followed it up with a career-high 26 points as Thomas More cruised to a 104-82 win over Geneva College on Jan. 2.  He buried four three-pointers in the contest as the Saints nailed a school-record 15 field goals from beyond the arc.

Thomas More resumes play at Washington & Jefferson on Jan. 9 for a Presidents’ Athletic Conference contest.

ON FIRE: 
Illinois Wesleyan’s Jordan Zimmer garnered CCIW Player of the Week after his MVP performance at the Trinity/Southwestern Classic on Dec. 28-29 in San Antonio, Texas.

The sophomore guard from Delavan, Ill., averaged 31.5 points on 74.2 shooting from the floor as the Titans downed Southwestern and Trinity (Texas) in the tournament.  For the week, he connected on 12-of-20 (60 percent) three-point attempts.  

On the strength of a four-game winning streak, the Titans cracked the D3Hoops.com Top 25 at No. 25 this week.  They will now travel to North Central on Jan. 6 for their CCIW season opener.