Dec. 2, 2008

By Amy Farnum Novin

GRAY AREA:  University of Southern Indiana’s Marvin Gray capped off a stellar week for the Screaming Eagles as he led them to an upset of then-No. 3 Florida Southern in the final game of the Bill Joergens Memorial Tournament, while the squad won its sixth straight contest.

The junior guard from Freeport, Bahamas, began the week with 13 points in an 83-39 win over Missouri Baptist, and then scored 14 in an 87-64 win over King in the tournament opener.  Gray concluded the week with 26 points against FSC, scoring 20 points in the first half, and then connecting on two free throws in the final three seconds of regulation to seal the victory for USI.

Gray was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week after leading the tournament in scoring and averaging 17.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals in the three wins.

USI opens GLVC play against Lewis on Dec. 4.

STARTING STRONG: The University of Central Oklahoma tied its best start in school history at 7-0 after posting a pair of victories as the Bronchos hosted the OSSO Thanksgiving Classic last weekend.

The sixth-ranked Bronchos have now won 18 consecutive games at home with their wins over Langston (Okla.) and Washburn in the tournament.

Senior Lance Harper contributed a game-high 23 points against Washburn as he led UCO in scoring for the fifth time this season.  Harper paces the Bronchos with 17.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

MVP RETURN:  After opening the season with an 0-4 mark in four road games, Chico State was definitely happy to return home for the Carl’s Jr. 49th Annual Mac Martin Tournament.

Senior forward Andy Bocian, who was making his first appearance in a home contest since taking last year off, led all players with 19 points and nine rebounds in the Wildcats’ win over Colorado-Colorado Springs, and followed it up with 35 points in a 77-49 victory versus St. Cloud State the next day.  He drilled five three pointers and was 8-for-8 at the charity stripe against the Huskies.

The native of Pleasanton, Calif., averaged 27.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as he earned Most Valuable Player honors of the tournament, and was named Wilson California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week for his performance.  Bocian tops the CCAA with 24.8 points per game.

NOTABLE:  No. 17 Kentucky Wesleyan is off to its best start (6-0) during the four-year tenure of head coach Todd Lee after the Panthers downed King, 56-44, on Nov. 30 … Minnesota Duluth junior forward Brian Sykora garnered Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Week after averaging 19.3 points and 11.3 rebounds during a 2-1 week for the Bulldogs.  The native of Bloomington, Minn., netted 22 points in wins over UW-Superior and Wayne State, while posting 16 rebounds against UW-Superior.  Sykora, who leads UMD in scoring and rebounding – averaging 16.9 points per contest and 8.6 rebounds per game – ranks third among scorers in the NSIC and fourth in rebounding … Lynn University’s Michel Vidal averaged a double-double in a pair of victories at the Eckerd Thanksgiving Classic, earning Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week honors.  The sophomore from Miami, Fla., registered 17.5 points and 13.0 rebounds while shooting 77 percent from the floor against Franklin Pierce and Puerto Rico-Bayamon.