A Georgia Baptist Institution
January 10, 2012 - KANSAS CITY -- Undefeated through 15 games for the first time in program history, the Shorter University men's basketball team is now equipped with its highest-ever ranking.
The Hawks (15-0, 6-0 Southern States Athletic Conference) gathered 298 points and one first place vote en route to a No. 2 ranking in the latest NAIA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll released by the organization on Monday night.
Shorter, which began the season ranked No. 12, is one of three teams from the Southern States Athletic Conference to appear in the most recent Top 25 ratings. Southern Poly, winners of eight straight including an upset of No. 5 Georgetown (Ky.), comes in at No. 10. Previously unranked Lee University, which recently upset 11th-ranked Mountain State in West Virginia, surged into the Top 25 at No. 21.
But despite the presence of Southern Poly and Lee, it is the Hawks who are carrying the torch for the SSAC thus far into the 2011-12 season.
Shorter has risen to the cusp of a No. 1 national ranking behind an offense that ranks as one of the most efficient in the country and several players that are having career seasons.
The Hawks rank No. 3 in the NAIA in 3-point field goal percentage, knocking down treys at a 42 percent clip, and are ninth in the country in overall field goal percentage at just under 50 percent.
Junior All-American Walter Hill leads the Hawks and ranks third in the SSAC in scoring at 19.4 points a game and is shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc, which also ranks No. 3 in the league. Hill has excelled on the defensive end of the floor as well, leading Shorter in both steals per game (2.4) and total blocks (11).
Junior transfer Anthony Banks has burst onto the scene in his first six games with Shorter since the end of the first semester. Banks, who came to Shorter from NCAA Division I Florida Gulf Coast, ranks second on the team in scoring at 15.5 points a game while also averaging 6.0 rebounds per outing.
Banks exploded for a career-high 25 points to go along with six rebounds as Shorter topped SSAC West Division leader William Carey by 11 on Saturday at the Winthrop-King Centre.
Junior Dante Harvey and senior Eric Nix are having exceptional seasons for fifth-year head coach Chad Warner.
Harvey is one of four Hawks averaging double figures (11.7 ppg) and leads Shorter in rebounding (6.5 rpg). His three double-doubles are tops on Shorter's roster.
Nix ranks 10th in the nation in total assists (86) and 11th in assist average (5.7). The Ider, Ala., native, who is putting up 9.1 points a night, has been a potent scorer in conference contests, averaging 11.0 points in Shorter's six SSAC matchups, including back-to-back games of 20 and 21 points in Shorter's December victories at Loyola and Mobile.
Due to losses by the previously top two ranked teams in the NAIA, Concordia (Calif.) and Robert Morris (Ill.), unbeaten Oklahoma Baptist (14-0) moved up two spots to No. 1. It is Oklahoma Baptist's first No. 1 ranking since Dec. 10, 2002.
Shorter's fellow SSAC member Spring Hill appears in the receiving votes category to give the conference four representatives in the poll.
The Hawks continue SSAC play this Thursday night as they play host to Southern Wesleyan University at 8 pm at the Winthrop-King Centre. Shorter travels to Emmanuel for a 4 pm tip with the Lions on Saturday, Jan. 14.
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christian university committed to excellence in education. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 48 major areas as well as undergraduate degree programs for working adults, the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Education and the Master of Arts in Leadership. General education and calculus courses are offered in an online format, and Shorter recently launched online programs that lead toward the Associate of Science, the Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Master of Accountancy degrees. For more information, visit www.shorter.edu.
| SHORTER UNIVERSITY • 315 Shorter Avenue • Rome, Georgia 30165 • Phone: 800-868-6980 • www.shorter.edu
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