Jan. 27, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

TOMMIES ON TOP:  St. Thomas University claimed the No. 1 spot in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 after surviving last week as the lone unbeaten team in Division III men’s basketball.

The Tommies are the first team west of St. Louis to ever earn a No. 1 ranking in the D3hoops.com poll, although St. Thomas did boast a No. 1 preseason ranking by The Sporting News.

At 17-0, St. Thomas is off to the program’s best start since the 1994-95 squad began the year 27-0 before finishing 27-1.  The Tommies rank fourth in the nation in both field goal percentage (52.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.46).

UST is looking to capture its' fourth straight Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title, and is off to a 12-0 start in league play.  The Tommies have held 11 of 12 conference foes to 65 points or less.  They travel to Augsburg on Jan. 28 for their first contest as a No. 1 ranked team.

THE RIGHT CHOICE:  Colby College extended its winning streak to four games with a pair of road victories in New England Small College Athletic Conference action, sparked by the outstanding play of junior forward Adam Choice.

The native of Newport, R.I., poured in a game-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds in an 85-75 defeat of Tufts, and then added 17 points in a 65-59 victory over Bates.  For the week, Choice averaged 2.5 steals per game while shooting 57 percent from the field.  He was named NESCAC Player of the Week for his efforts. Choice, who reached 900 career points over the weekend, ranks fifth in the NESCAC with 15.4 points per game.

Colby has won nine of its last 10 games, and shares first place in the NESCAC standings with Middlebury and Williams.

SUPER SUB:  Elmhurst junior guard Chris Childs garnered College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Player of the Week after coming off the bench to help the Bluejays to a pair of league wins, including an upset of then-No. 1 Wheaton (Ill.).

The native of Barrington, Ill., began the week with 10 points and seven assists in Elmhurst’s 72-66 victory versus North Central, and then exploded for a career-best 24 points in the Blujays’ 70-57 upset of Wheaton.  Childs connected on six-of-eight three point attempts and finished the week shooting 65 percent from the field. 

With the victories, Elmhurst moved to two spots in the D3hoops.com Top 25 to No. 17.

NOTABLE:  Trinity University (Texas) stretched its winning streak to 15 games with a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference win over Oglethorpe on Jan. 25.  The No. 8 Tigers are the only unbeaten team (8-0) remaining in the league standings … Puget Sound became the first Northwest Conference team in 21 years to begin league play 8-0 following a 100-62 win over Willamette on Jan. 24.   The only other squad in NWC history to accomplish the feat was Willamette’s 1987-88 team … Ithaca College’s Jordan Marcus was selected Empire 8 Rookie of the Week after propelling the Bombers to a come-from-behind win over Stevens Tech on Jan. 25.  He came off the bench to score 16 points, including five three-pointers, with five rebounds and three steals.  The Bombers (15-1) moved up to No. 11 in the national poll this week with their third straight victory … Middlebury’s Ben Rudin became the school’s career leader in assists as the Panthers extended their school-best winning streak to 12 games in a 67-60 victory at Wesleyan.  The senior guard from Scarsdale, N.Y., now has 415 career assists.