Men’s and women’s basketball teams with the best records, longest winning streaks and highest national rankings suffered losses this week. Those losses tightened up races in each of the conferences and set up some interesting showdowns this week.
The men of Morehouse and women of Virginia Union were ranked in the Top Ten of their respective Div. II national polls going into this week’s play.
Morehouse was the only undefeated Div. I or Div. II men’s team in the nation at 19-0 and was ranked eighth in last week’s NABC Div. II national poll but fell on the road last Wednesday to head coach Ricky Jackson’s Claflin Panthers 85-72.
Jackson’s troops came back Monday to end Clark Atlanta’s 15-game winning streak by knocking off head coach Darrell Walker’s Panthers, 85-80. CAU was 21st in last week’s NABC poll.
The week’s results leaves Morehouse (20-1), after an 88-79 win over Benedict Monday, at 13-1 in SIAC play and Clark Atlanta (20-2) at 14-1 in conference play. The pair is tied in theloss column for first in the SIAC East.
Claflin (19-5) is now in third place in the East with a 12-4 conference record.
Morehouse and Clark Atlanta stage the first of their showdown battles for the SIAC East lead Thursday (Feb. 8) at Epps Gymnasium at CAU. The return date is Feb. 22 at Morehouse.
The Virginia State men fell out of the Top Ten to 13th in last week’s NABC national poll after a loss to Bowie State and suffered a second straight loss to Shaw, 50-47 in overtime, last Wednesday. The Trojans have fallen to 18-3 overall, 8-3 in CIAA play and tied with Bowie State atop the Northern Division at 4-1.
Johnson C. Smith (15-7, 8-2 CIAA), winners of seven straight, leads the South Division with a 5-0 mark.
VSU had a return match with Virginia Union on Wednesday (Feb. 6) and hosts Chowan Saturday.
For the women, Virginia Union was fourth in the WBCA national poll but fell to CIAA N. Div. foe Chowan, 85-79 Saturday. The Lady Panthers, winners of 20 straight since an opening season loss to Edinboro, dropped to 20-2 overall, 10-1 in CIAA play and tied with Chowan in first in the CIAA North at 4-1.
Chowan, under head coach LaToya Jones, is 16-4 overall and 8-2 in the CIAA. VUU fell to ninth in this week’s WBCA Coaches poll. Edinboro (18-2) is now 13th in the WBCA poll. Virginia State (19-2 overall, 9-2, 3-2 N) is just behind VUU and Chowan in the N. Div. and is 23rd in this week’s WBCA poll.
A&T got wins over Hampton and Delaware State while SSU topped the century mark for the fifth straight game in a 111-99 win over South Carolina State. The Aggies and Tigers have a two-game lead over North Carolina Central, Bethune-Cookman and Norfolk State, who all are 6-3 in MEAC play.
A&T plays at South Carolina State Saturday before a showdown with Savannah State on Monday. Savannah State hosts Morgan State Saturday.
In the MEAC women’s race, Bethune-Cookman (18-4, 9-0 MEAC) has a one-game lead over North Carolina A&T (13-8, 8-1). The Lady Aggies suffered their first conference loss to Hampton Saturday (63-51). B-CU is hosting Maryland-Eastern Shore Saturday and NCCU Monday.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s men (9-16, 9-2 SWAC) suffered its second loss in conference play, 65-59 to Alabama State Monday, and now leads Grambling State (12-12, 8-3) by just one game in the men’s SWAC race. Grambling has its Houston trip to Prairie View Saturday and Texas Southern Monday while UAPB travels to Southern (Sat.) and Alcorn State (Mon.).
Southern’s (9-2 SWAC) lead is down to one game over Grambling (8-3) and Texas Southern (7-3) in the SWAC women’s race. Grambling beat Southern 79-71 Saturday to pull within a game of the Lady Jags. GSU and TSU meet Monday.