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Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Summit League power rankings 2-2-09

1. North Dakota State (16-5, 10-1 Summit) — The Bison picked up their first-ever win over Oakland thanks to a late run and then dominated IPFW last week. Senior Mike Nelson had a huge 21-point effort against the Grizzlies, his first 20-point game since Nov. 29, and played solid defense on Erik Kangas. Nelson followed that up with 10 points in 24 minutes against IPFW. NDSU has a big road trip this week to Western Illinois and IUPUI and might be able to gain some ground on Oral Roberts with a pair of wins.
2. Oral Roberts (11-11, 9-1) — The Golden Eagles remain undefeated in 2009 and their victory at Centenary was their eighth straight. The Gents had no answer for Marcus Lewis, who had 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting. Lewis is 21-for-27 from the field in his last two games. The Golden Eagles are now .500 for the first time since the second game of the regular season. Oral Roberts remains in the hunt for its fifth-straight regular-season league title and have two big road games this week, at Oakland and at IPFW.
3. Oakland (13-11, 6-5) — It was not a good week for the Golden Grizzlies, who were swept on their trip to the Dakotas. Oakland was tied 64-64 with North Dakota State with less than six minutes left before the Bison went on a 13-0 run to earn their first-ever win over Oakland. The Grizzlies then blew a 17-point second half lead at South Dakota State and fell in overtime. Oakland’s big men continued their hot play. Sophomore Keith Benson broke the single-season school record for blocks and averaged 15.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game last week and shot 14-for-17 from the field. Sophomore Will Hudson averaged 14 points and 5.5 rebounds, and shot 12-for-15 from the field.
4. Centenary (7-15, 5-5) — The Gents 71 points against Oral Roberts broke the Golden Eagles’ nine-game streak of holding opponents under 70 points, but the Gents still lost their 12th straight to Oral Roberts. The loss also snapped Centenary’s four-game winning streak. Leading scorer Nick Stallings (16.4 per game) scored just five points in the loss to ORU. Sophomore Gary Redus scored a career-high 23 points in the game, his first 20-point game since he scored 21 against Troy back on Nov. 20.
5. IUPUI (12-10, 5-6) — The Jaguars picked up a pair of road victories last week and have now won three-straight to pull themselves out of the league cellar. IUPUI is currently in a three-way tie for fifth place and has two home games this week. The Jaguars won easily at Southern Utah, which is typically a tough place to win, but the Jaguars have won six of their last seven trips there. Junior Robert Glenn is averaging 19 points and 7.3 rebounds during IUPUI’s three-game win streak.
6. South Dakota State (10-13, 5-6) — The Jacks protected their homecourt nicely last week with a pair of wins. SDSU rallied from 17 down in the second half to beat Oakland in overtime. It was the Jacks third overtime game in their last four, but their first overtime victory. Junior Kai Williams became the first SDSU player to score 1,000 points all at the Division I level with his 15 points against Oakland Saturday. Garrett Callahan is just 45 points away from becoming the second player to do so. SDSU hits the road this week still looking for its first Summit League road victory in school history.
7. Southern Utah (7-15, 5-6) — The Thunderbirds split a pair of home games last week. SUU led by as many as 15 in the second half against Western Illinois, but had to hold on late to win by one. Dave Marek hit all seven of his 3-point attempts against IUPUI and finished with 23 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Thunderbirds fell by 14. SUU hosts UMKC Saturday, but then plays four of its last six on the road.
8. Western Illinois (7-15, 4-7) — The Leathernecks snapped their six-game losing streak with a wild win at UMKC. WIU trailed by four with 42 seconds left, but UMKC committed four turnovers and the Leathernecks capitalized on each one to win by five, 56-51. WIU almost stole a second one at Southern Utah, but David DuBois missed a shot at the buzzer. It would have been the Leathernecks first win in Cedar City, they are now 0-12 all-time. WIU leads IPFW by one-game for the final conference tournament spot and host two home games this week.
9. IPFW (8-14, 3-8) — The trip to the Dakotas did not go well for the Mastodons. IPFW fell at South Dakota State by six, the same team it beat by 34 at home. The Mastodons then got embarrassed by 31 at North Dakota State and scored just 43 points, with senior David Carson scoring 22 of them. IPFW hosts two league games this week against Centenary and Oral Roberts and likely needs at least one win to stay in the conference tournament hunt.
10. UMKC (6-18, 2-9) — The Kangaroos are in disarray. UMKC lost second-leading scorer Reggie Hamilton, who asked to be released from his scholarship last week and was granted his request. Leading scorer Dane Brumagin missed both games last week with a sore Achilles’ heel. The Kangaroos somehow turned a four-point lead with 42 seconds against Western Illinois into a five-point loss. UMKC has lost five straight and now have three-straight road games and five of its last seven are on the road.

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