|Quentin Shields scored a career-high 21 points.
UW-Platteville athletics photo
Teams that were high in the regional rankings continued to climb -- in most cases -- because of the results of Wednesday night's Division III men's basketball games.
In a scheduling oddity, the top ranked teams in the Central (Washington U.), East (Hobart), Middle Atlantic (York, Pa.), Northeast (Middlebury) and West (Whitman) all did not play on Wednesday night. However, two No. 1 teams and two No. 2 teams each picked up wins.
Being newly minted the top team in the Great Lakes Region didn't seem to affect Wittenberg much, as the Tigers remained undefeated with an 84-72 win vs. Wabash. The Little Giants (11-11, 7-8 North Coast Athletic Conference) got as close as six points on a handful of possessions in the second half, but Chad Roy scored 14 of his game-high 22 points after halftime to keep Wabash at bay. He shot 6-for-7 from the floor and 10-for-10 from the line to help the Tigers move to 22-0, 15-0 NCAC.
UW-Platteville took a big jump up the Top 25 this week and entered the first Central Region rankings in the No. 2 spot. Then on Wednesday night, the Pioneers handed UW-Stevens Point just its second conference loss, downing the Pointers 56-47 to improve to 19-3 overall and move into a tie for first in the WIAC at 9-2 in conference. Canon O'Heron scored a team-high 14 points for No. 18 Stevens Point (15-7, 9-2), but the rest of the team shot a combined 13-for-45 (28.9 percent) in the defeat. Quentin Shields led the Pioneers off the bench with 21 points, while Robert Duax added 10 off the bench. UW-Stevens Point is ranked fourth in the Central.
New Jersey City, the No. 1 team in the Atlantic, got a key win in what seems like a tightly packed regional ranking by defeating Montclair State 84-76. Sam Toney had a double-doouble with 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in the win as the Gothic Knights assured themselves of at least one home game in the NJAC's conference tournament. It was a two-point game (56-54) with 10:30 left before the Knights put together a 14-2 run to build a 70-56 lead with 5:21 to play and NJCU (18-5, 12-4) was not challenged again. Montclair falls to 16-7, 10-6.
Randolph-Macon was the only No. 1 or No. 2 in a region to fall, as the Yellow Jackets' trip east to Virginia Wesleyan ended in a 56-54 defeat. The Marlins (14-8, 8-5 ODAC) led by as many as seven points twice in the final minute, including with just 30 seconds left, but Luke Neeley and Korey Turner each hit 3-pointers, sandwiched around a missed layup by Virginia Wesleyan. That, plus a missed free throw gave Randolph-Macon (16-6, 10-3) a heave at the buzzer, which missed. Tim Fisher led the Marlins with 14 points off the bench.
The ODAC didn't play to expectations elsewhere, either, as Marcus Curry scored a game-high 23 points in Guilford's 79-64 victory at Emory & Henry. The Wasps (18-4, 10-3 ODAC) had entered the evening third in the NCAA's South Region ranking. Guilford (13-9, 9-4) handed Emory & Henry its third consecutive loss after an 18-1 start.
No. 6 St. John's, the highest ranked team in the West Region in action on Wednesday night, won its second consecutive game after Saturday's defeat, taking down Carleton 78-57. Patrick Strom scored a team-high 17 and Tyler Weiss and David Stokman added 16 apiece to lead a balanced attack for the Johnnies (20-2, 16-1 MIAC), who were third in the NCAA's first West Region poll. Carleton (12-10, 10-7) countered with 25 points from Kent Hanson in the loss.
An emotional day at Johns Hopkins University spilled over into the night's men's basketball game. A night after longtime women's basketball coach Nancy Funk died of cancer, the Blue Jays' men's basketball team took No. 20 Franklin & Marshall to double overtime and came away with an 89-86 win. Michael Gardner hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the first overtime and Harry O'Neil came up with a block in the closing second to force the second extra period. In the final frame, Conner Delaney hit a free throw to give Johns Hopkins (18-4, 12-3 Centennial) an 83-82 lead, then extended the lead with a layup with 26 seconds left. Mike Rice scored twice for the Diplomats (18-4, 12-3) but the Blue Jays made all of their free throws down the stretch to ice it. JHU trailed by 14 points at halftime but shot 51.9 percent from the floor, including 6-for-12 from 3-point range to get back into it. The teams are tied for second in the Centennial behind Swarthmore, which handled Ursinus 84-62.
Aston Francis outdueled Brady Rose, and their teams saw the same result as Wheaton (Ill.) avenged an earlier loss with a 107-95 win at No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan. Francis scored a game-high 36, including going 6-for-13 from 3-point range in the win. Rose hit for 27 points, going 9-for-15 from the floor and 8-for-9 from the line. The teams shot a combined 69-for-132 from the floor, or 52.2 percent.
Collin Olmscheid scored 28 points, and Booker Coplin added 24 points and 10 boards as Augsburg snapped a four-game win streak for St. Thomas, winning 79-66 and moving past the Tommies into third place in the MIAC at 17-6, 12-6. Carleton currently sits in the sixth spot, one half-game ahead of Gustavus Adolphus in the MIAC, which has a six-team tournament.
Freshman Andrew Jaworski scored a game-best 16 points and was joined in double figures by the rest of the Babson starters as the Beavers held off WPI, 68-59. Babson improved to 9-2 in the NEWMAC, 14-8 overall, while WPI fell to 13-9, 7-4.
Franciscan matched its win total from the previous two years combined as the Barons won at Pitt-Greensburg 60-57 in overtime behind 15 points from Keoni Sablan. Franciscan improved to 5-17, 4-11 in the AMCC.