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Several scenarios still could land SIU on top

by Danny Carpenter

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

With its last-second 68-67 loss to WVU-Tech on Saturday, Salem International fell to No. 8 in the NABC/Division II Bulletin Weekly Top 25.

Tech, which received consideration last week, was unable crack the Top 25 with its three wins. The Golden Bears have the nation's fifth longest winning streak at 11 games.

Last Saturday's game between two of the top teams in the West Virginia Conference also could play a role in this week's East Region rankings.

The Tigers (19-3, 12-2 WVC) may fall from the top spot after No. 2 Queens (N.C.) won both contests last week. SIU should fall no farther than the second spot with No. 3 Pfeiffer (N.C.) losing both its games last week. No. 4 Longwood (Va.) already has five losses in the region, which plays a factor in the rankings.

Tech (16-6, 13-1), which was No. 8 and has a one-point loss to Longwood, should make a push for the top six. Only six teams reach the regional, including the winners of the WVC, Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference tournaments.

n IN THE NUMBERS: WVC associate commissioner Will Prewitt will be a busy man the final two weeks of the regular season.

Prewitt handles the power rating system for the league and said there is not a clear-cut favorite in the men's regular season race yet. In the women's, West Liberty and Shepherd have a big lead over the rest of the conference.

"There are too many scenarios," he said. "Everything will be clearer after this week."

The Tech men's team could hold a strong lead if it wins its two games this week. The Golden Bears defeated Fairmont State (16-9, 10-4) last night and look to avenge their only conference loss to Charleston (16-6, 12-2) on Saturday.

n ONE TOUGH SEASON: For second-year West Virginia State coach Brian Poore, wins have been hard to find.

Before last week's road losses to SIU and Fairmont State, State (7-15, 3-11) had came up short in close games. Eight of the Yellow Jackets' 11 losses have been by less than 10 points, including a two-point overtime loss to Concord, a two-point loss to West Liberty last night and one-point losses to Alderson-Broaddus and Davis & Elkins.

"Going into (the SIU contest), we're eight or nine possessions away from being 9-2, but instead we're 3-8," Poore said. "Over time, it's going to balance out. I think.

"The hard part of it is the seniors are not going to get a chance for it to balance."

Poore's seniors may get their chance -- they play the league's top two teams, Tech and Charleston, each one more time.

n STREAKING: The Glenville State and West Liberty women's teams own two of the nation's top home winning streaks.

Glenville has won 28 straight home games, second in the nation, and West Liberty has won 20 straight at home, third in the nation

GSC (15-8, 11-4) continued its streak last night with a 56-40 win over Alderson-Broaddus (12-10, 7-7).

West Liberty (18-4, 13-1) gets its chance on Thursday to extend its streak. The Hilltoppers face Salem International (14-8, 10-4).

Assistant sports editor Danny Carpenter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at dcarpenter@exponent-telegram.com.

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