Mercer, Young Harris having best seasons in state

mlough@macon.comJanuary 26, 2014 

The race for who has the best college basketball programs in the state for the season remains tight, with Mercer and Young Harris moving into first in Division I and Division II.

In late December, Georgia and Valdosta State led the respective divisions in the state.

Since then, Mercer’s men have gone 9-1 and the two Young Harris teams 9-5 while Valdosta State’s teams cooled off to go 7-9 for 20-12 overall.

Georgia College fell from second to 10th, still at 58.8 percent overall, while Fort Valley State jumped from tied to last to ninth, thanks to the men’s resurgent season and a hot SIAC start. FVSU is 21-14, the men 12-5.

Races are close in both divisions, with 4.4 percentage points separating the top three in Division I and 5.2 points the top three in Division II. Only 3.2 percentage are between the third and fifth programs in Division II.

In Division II, the logjam starts after Young Harris and Georgia Regents-Augusta. There are 16 Division II programs in the state. Morehouse has only a men’s team.

Mercer’s men are the best bet to reach 20 regular-season wins first, at 17-5. Georgia Southwestern’s men are next at 16-3 with Georgia Regents-Augusta’s men 15-3. Georgia State’s men, atop the Sun Belt, are 14-6.

Georgia’s women fell to 14-6 with Sunday’s loss to Alabama. North Georgia’s women are 14-3, while Georgia College and Clark Atlanta are both 13-4.

A rough homecoming

At one point, Corey Williams stood on the sidelines talking to an official, nicely, because both smiled and laughed.

There wasn’t much else for the Stetson men’s head coach to do, since Mercer got off to a tremendous start and took white-knuckle control en route to the 87-49 win Saturday over the Hatters.

After the game, William spent almost an hour visiting with the few dozen family and friends who were part of the capacity crowd and stayed to talk to the Northeast graduate. Then came the bus ride of about six hours or so back to DeLand, Fla., as the Hatters get ready for the A-Sun’s No. 2 team, Florida Gulf Coast on Friday.

But Williams said his team just got done playing the best in the conference.

“I’ve said it all along,” Williams said of the Bears. “I think they’re the best basketball team in our conference, I really do. They can hit you from a number of spots. One through five, they’re very good, and they’ve proven that.

“We’ve got to get that type of personnel that allows us to be on their level.”

Baseball jamboree

Some of the past and present will converge when Middle Georgia State welcomes Southern Union in the baseball season opener Saturday.

New president Christopher Blake as well as former head coach Robert Sapp are among those who will take part in a postgame Diamond Club Jamboree Dinner.

Also expected to attend are a few members of old Middle Georgia College’s national championship teams. Kal Daniels was on the 1982 team, while Jeff Treadway and Ernest Riles were on the 1980 title team.

Daniel played in the majors with Cincinnati, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. Treadway, who coaches softball at Stratford, was part of the Atlanta Braves’ NL championship team of 1992 while also playing with Cincinnati, Cleveland, the Dodgers and Montreal Expos.

Riles was drafted by Milwaukee and played with San Francisco, Oakland, Houston and Boston.

Admission to the game is $5. The dinner cost $20 for non-Diamond Club members and $10 for children 10 and under.

For more information, contact the Middle Georgia State Foundation at 471-2732.

Division I

School Men Women Total Pct.

Mercer 17-5 10-9 27-14 65.9

Georgia 10-8 14-6 24-14 63.2

Georgia Tech 11-9 13-6 24-15 61.5

Georgia State 14-6 9-10 23-16 59.0

Savannah State 7-13 11-9 18-22 45.0

Georgia Southern 9-12 6-13 15-25 37.5

Kennesaw State 4-18 4-15 8-33 19.5

Division II (top 5)

Young Harris 11-5 12-4 23-9 71.9

GRU-Augusta 15-3 9-7 24-10 70.6

Columbus State 10-7 12-4 22-11 66.7

Clark Atlanta 8-7 13-4 21-11 65.3

Albany State 8-8 12-3 20-11 64.5

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