FVSU women ranked nationally

mlough@macon.comJanuary 10, 2010 

It only took nine straight wins, but Fort Valley State’s women cracked the USA Today/ESPN Division II women’s college basketball poll Tuesday.

The Wildcats of veteran head coach Lonnie Bartley made their season debut in the poll at No. 21.

FVSU is one of nine unbeaten teams in the poll, and is the second team from Georgia in it. Clayton State of the Peach Belt is No. 11, with an 11-1 record.

The Wildcats are the only team from the SIAC to get a vote.

FVSU is 11-0 overall and 7-0 in conference play after beating Albany State 61-56 on Saturday in a tough road game. ASU is only 2-10 and 2-5.

The Wildcats remain on the road for their next five games before hosting Miles in a doubleheader Jan. 26.

FVSU won again Saturday, beating Albany State 61-56. The FVSU men also won, 96-96 in double-overtime.

GCSU in top 30

If it’s the preseason, Georgia College & State’s baseball team must be ranked.

The Bobcats are No. 27 in the Collegiate Baseball Division II preseason poll.

Head coach Tom Carty’s group went 37-19 last season, 16-11 in Peach Belt Conference play. The Bobcats advanced to the Southeast Regional for the third time in four years.

GCSU, one of five PBC teams in the top 40, has won at least 33 games in Carty’s two seasons.

The Bobcats have two of their top three starting pitchers back as well as five position players.

Relief pitcher Martin Dewald and center fielder Sean Harrell were named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II preseason All-America team.

GCSU has four Middle Georgians on the roster: junior pitcher Tyler Brown of Stratford, senior pitcher Kyle Cravey of Fullington Academy, senior outfielder Andrew Evans of Baldwin and junior pitcher Eric Pettepher of Baldwin.

The Bobcats have six opponents on their 2010 schedule ranked in the top 40: No. 6 USC Aiken, No. 7 Tampa, No. 15 Indianapolis, No. 24 North Georgia (24th), No. 26 Valdosta State and No. 40 UNC Pembroke.

The Bobcats host Tampa on Feb. 5 in the season opener.

Buzzer beaters

It was in the books, so Jeff Smith confessed.

Yes, he may have walked and no, he doesn’t think his shot that was ruled good in Mercer’s 75-74 win over Jacksonville on Jan. 2 was let go in time.

It was rule good, although a scoreboard replay at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena indicated otherwise.

“Well, see, the pump fake, and then (Jacksonville’s) Ben Smith went flying past me,” the junior guard from Mercer said. “Then I was like, my feet weren’t set, so I was like, ‘I don’t want to take a crazy shot.’

“So I think I, well, people say I was like,” he said, shuffling his feet. “I looked at the Youtube video, and it was like a sliiide step, and then I let it fly.”

Did he think the shot would count?

“Noooo, oh no,” he said. “I look at the Youtube video, and the ball was just about to leave my hands.”

Smith said it was only fitting, since he thought a few calls that afternoon against the Bears might’ve been made in error.

“So,” he said, “that’s cool.”

It was the second controversial A-Sun buzzer beater in a few weeks.

Lipscomb’s heart-breaking and controversial last-second loss on Dec. 21 to Arizona didn’t go away all that quickly.

Lipscomb athletics director Philip Hutcheson expressed concern to A-Sun commissioner Ted Gumbart after a controversial call went Arizona’s way in the 83-82 overtime win.

Lipscomb led 82-80 after Hodzic made one of two free throws with 4.7 seconds left. Arizona pushed the ball downcourt, and Nic Wise unloaded a straight-up but off-balance shot.

Camera angles from behind Wise indicated the shot was late, that the ball was still in his hand as the backboard lit and the clock above the backboard showed 0:00.

A side angle was less clear, and another clock shown appeared to be a fraction of a section behind the clock on the backboard.

Officials huddled and re-huddled after looking at replays, and ruled the shot good.

Two days before Christmas, Gumbart told the Arizona Daily Star he and the conference believed that officials went through proper protocol.

“We were satisfied that all the procedures were in place and it was all done properly,” Gumbart told the paper. “There’s no other issue.”

More angles than not showed that the ball was still in Wise’s hand.

An Arizona official, according to the paper, disagreed with concerns that the clocks weren’t all synchronized, although the different photos may indicate otherwise.

Bill McCabe, the Pac-10’s head of officials, told the Daily Star that side-angle replays are more accurate, and that officials are to stick with the original call if no replays are deemed conclusive.

There was also a debate if the clock started late after the missed free throw that set up the final play.

Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson had no comment after the game, and was still a little unsettled a few days later.

“I don’t want in any way, shape or form to sound like there’s sour grapes on our behalf, but the clock showed 0:00 and the ball was still in (Wise’s) hands,” Sanderson told the Nashville Tennessean. “The red light on top of the backboard was on. We looked at it frame-by-frame.”

A picture on the Lipscomb Web site appears to back that up.

The loss overshadowed a 34-point, 13-rebound night for Hodzic.

On the road

If you’re interested in catching an area college basketball game for a while, your options are minimal.

GCSU hosts Georgia Southwestern — and Damayrius Adside of Wilkinson County — in a women’s/men’s doubleheader on Wednesday, and that’s about it for a while.

The Bobcats then travel to Armstrong Atlantic, Columbus State, Montevallo and Flagler before returning to the Centennial Center on Jan. 29 against Francis Marion.

And Mercer’s women, in a scheduling tweak for television, host Kennesaw State at noon on Saturday. But then they’re traveling until Jan. 30.

Mercer’s men are gone until Jan. 27, visiting USC Upstate, Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast.

FVSU’s men and women will squeeze in five road games — ranging from Orangeburg, S.C., to Jackson, Tenn., and Frankfort, Ky., — between Monday and Jan. 30.

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