Jan. 20, 2010

By Amy Farnum

Yet another No. 1-ranked team fell last week, making way for a new squad – unbeaten Arkansas Tech -- to grab the top spot in the latest NABC Division II Coaches Top 25.  It is the first time in school history that the Wonder Boys have earned a No. 1 ranking.

Tech’s climb to the top spot comes after previous No. 1 Augusta State’s loss to then-No. 11 Valdosta State on Jan. 16.  The Wonder Boys also posted wins against Henderson State and Harding last week to move to 16-0.  The last time a Gulf South Conference team held a No. 1 ranking was Delta State in 2006.

The Wonder Boys will put its No. 1 ranking to the test on Jan. 21 when they travel to Ouachita Baptist, which is looking for its first GSC victory

Metro State broke into the latest NABC Division II Top 25 at No. 22 on the merits of an eight-game winning streak as it continued to hold on to first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference East Division standings.

Sophomore guard Reggie Evans has been on a scoring hot streak, starting with a school-record 40 points in a 97-79 win over New Mexico Highlands on Jan. 15.  The native of Aurora, Colo., also nabbed a career-best eight steals in the contest.   He followed it up with a team-high 17 points in a win at CSU-Pueblo the next day, and then added a game-high 24 points and a career-high eight rebounds as the Roadrunners extended their winning streak with a 94-75 victory at Regis on Jan. 19.

Evans, who was selected RMAC East Player of the Week for his efforts, leads the Roadrunners in scoring, and ranks fifth in the league, with a 19.1 average.  He also is third in the conference with 2.4 steals per game.

A nationally-televised audience will enjoy a rematch of last year’s Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament title game as Bellarmine travels to defending league champion Northern Kentucky on Jan. 23 at 2 p.m.  The game will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports as the Division II Basketball Game of the Week.  

Bellarmine, which fell in overtime to eventual NCAA champion Findlay in last year’s Midwest Regional final, entered the preseason as the No. 2 ranked team in the NABC Division II Top 25.  The Knights are not currently ranked, but have won seven of their last nine games, including a 71-48 drubbing of Missouri-St. Louis on Jan. 18.  

Junior guard Jeremy Kendle has been a sparkplug for the Knights, earning GLVC Player of the Week honors last week after averaging 18.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  The native of Jeffersonville, Ind., added 24 points and eight rebounds in Bellarmine’s victory on Tuesday.  He leads the Knights with 17.4 points per game.

Fans can access live video of the live broadcast at:

A TOUGH WEEK:  The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team will return to court on Jan. 21 against the University of Indianapolis for the first time since the passing of senior center Jeron Lewis following the squad’s win at Kentucky Wesleyan College on Jan. 14.  

Lewis collapsed on the court with four minutes remaining in the contest, and died later that evening at Owensboro Medical Health Center.  An autopsy revealed that Lewis passed away due to a heart condition. USI’s games with Quincy and Drury were canceled due to the tragedy.  Funeral arrangements have been made for Jan. 23 in Lewis’ hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind.  

“The University community is heartbroken with the passing of this outstanding young man,” said USI President Linda L.M. Bennett. “Jeron was an excellent example of a student-athlete who strove to be the best that he could be. He will be truly missed, not only by his teammates, but by the University community. Our prayers are with Jeron’s family in their time of need.”

The fourth-ranked Screaming Eagles will put their 16-0 mark on the line against UIndy.  The Eagles are one of five unbeaten teams remaining in Division II, joining Arkansas Tech, Kutztown, Minnesota State and Quincy.