Dec. 1, 2009

By Amy Farnum

No. 8 Southwest Baptist travels to No. 2 Central Missouri on Dec. 2 to open Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association action with a match-up of the two top picks in the league’s preseason polls.  The two teams last met in the 2008 NCAA South Central Region final game, which the Mules won by a 35-point margin.

The Bearcats are coming off a sweep at the SBU Thanksgiving Classic where senior center Matt Rogers averaged 32.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.0 blocks per game in wins over Henderson State and Dallas Baptist.  The native of Doniphan, Mo., shot 65 percent from the field and 70 percent from three-point range in the tournament.  Rogers, who was named MIAA Player of the Week for his contributions, leads the MIAA with a 24.3 scoring average.

The unbeaten Mules have their own scoring threat in Sanijay Watts (21.3 ppg), and he is also grabbing 8.5 rebounds per game, good for second-best in the conference.

Augusta State is off to a 4-0 start thanks to the stellar play of Ben Madgen, who continues to be a scoring threat for the Jags in his senior year.

The guard from Williamstown, Australia, averaged 21.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last week in wins over Life and Lenoir-Rhyne, highlighted by a season-high 24 points against the Bears.  

Madgen shot 46.2 from the field as he moved up to third on the school and Peach Belt Conference all-time scoring lists with 1,737 career points.  He needs just 126 points to become the league’s all-time leading scorer, and 158 points to top the ASU career list.

The Jags, who were ranked No. 6 in last week’s NABC Division II poll, return to action against Paine College on Dec. 3.

Stonehill College’s A.J. Rudowitz contributed 21.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game in the Skyhawks’ two Northeast-10 Conference victories last week, earning the league’s Player of the Week award for his efforts.

The senior forward from Monroe Township, N.J., tallied a season-high 24 points and career-best 15 rebounds in the Skyhawks’ 65-60 win over preseason favorite Merrimack, and added 19 points and nine rebounds at Saint Michael’s as Stonehill started 2-0 in league action.  He shot 61.5 percent from the floor in the two games. Rudowitz is the league’s second-leading scorer with 21.5 points per game, and ranks sixth in the NE-10 with 9.3 rebounds per game.  

The Skyhawks look to improve on their unbeaten league mark at Saint Anselm College on Dec. 2.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is off to its best start in program history after posting a flawless record through five games.

Junior guard Ryan Lawrence averaged a double-double for the week in wins against Truman State and Upper Iowa.  The native of DeSoto, Mo., scored 19 points and grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds versus Truman, and followed it up with 20 points and a 77.8 field goal percentage at Upper Iowa.

For his performance, Lawrence garnered Great Lakes Valley Player of the Week, becoming the first UMSL player to win the award since the 1999-2000 season.  The Tritons look to continue their perfect start as they open GLVC play at Lewis University on Dec. 3.

NOTABLE: Arkansas Tech improved to 6-0 with an 89-70 victory over West Georgia on Nov. 30 – the Wonder Boys’ best start since the 1963-64 squad began the season 7-0 … Minnesota State remained unbeaten with wins over Northern State and then-No. 15 Winona State in the NSIC Holiday HoopsFest last weekend behind the play of senior center Travis Nelson who averaged 20 points with a  65 percent field goal percentage in the tournament.  Nelson, who recorded his first double-double of the year against Northern State, was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Week for his contributions.