Division III Notebook: New No. 1, Streaks and Top Performers
From Amy Farnum, NCAA.com
GREAT SCOTS: With the top three teams in the nation falling last week, previously fourth-ranked Wooster took over the No. 1 spot in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25.
The Scots are ranked No. 1 for the first time since 2006, and fifth time in the last 11 years. The 2006 squad held onto the top spot for four weeks before falling, but eventually advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Wooster is 6-0 after notching a pair of North Coast Athletic Conference wins over Hiram and Denison last week as senior guard Ian Franks combined for 39 points on 14-for-27 field-goal shooting, and added eight rebounds and six assists. He totaled a game-high 25 points versus the Terriers, and then added 14 against the Big Red. The Scots are back in action on Dec. 8 in a league contest at Allegheny College.
FALCONS FLYING: After upending then-No. 1 Wisconsin-Stevens Point over the weekend, Wisconsin-River Falls earned some much-deserved rewards.
Senior guard Jontae Koonkaew netted a game-high 20 points in the win against the defending NCAA champion Pointers, and also tallied nine points in a defeat at Wisconsin-Superior as the Falcons collected two wins in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action. For the week, the native of Apple Valley, Minn., shot 45.8 percent from the field and 66.7 perfect from 3-point range. Koonkaew was named WIAC Player of the Week for his contributions.
The two wins propelled the previously unranked Falcons to No. 18 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25. They will test their new ranking against Wisconsin-Eau Claire when the Blugolds visit on Dec. 8.
MAKING IT LOOK EASY: Williams College jumped three spots to No. 2 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 as the Ephs went 3-0 on the week behind the stellar play of senior guard James Wang.
The product of Sydney, Australia, averaged 20.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, while shooting 58.3 percent from the field in wins over Rensselaer, St. Joseph’s (Vt.) and Vassar. Wang was named New England Small College Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his efforts, including a game-high 29 points against RPI while making 5-of-5 field-goal attempts at Vassar.
The Ephs are defeating opponents by an average of 27.6 points per game, and boast three scorers averaging double-figures, including Wang’s 19.6 points per game.
Williams hosts Hamilton on Dec. 7 as the Ephs look to remain unbeaten on the season.
THUNDER ROLLS: Trine University is off to its best start since joining NCAA Division III in 2003 after improving to 6-1 on the season with a pair of victories last week.
Sophomore forward Ian Jackson posted 21 points in a 71-70 win over Ohio Northern and followed it up with 33 points and six rebounds as the Thunder downed North Park. Jackson, a native of Indianapolis, shot 58 percent from the field, and made half of his 3-pointers as the Thunder stretched their winning streak to six games. Jackson also picked up his first-ever Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Player-of-the-Week award for his performance.
JUMP SHOTS: University of Chicago’s Matt Johnson scored a career-high 28 points as the Maroons stunned then-No. 2 Illinois Wesleyan, 83-78, on Dec. 4… Randolph-Macon snapped then-No. 3 Eastern Mennonite’s 16-game home winning streak with a 73-68 defeat of the Royals in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play on Saturday… Emory University sophomore Alex Greven netted a career-best 31 points in an 88-82 win over Methodist last weekend for his fifth double-digit performance of the season. Greven, who was named University Athletic Association Player of the Week, helped the Eagles (6-0) into the latest national poll at No. 24.