Sports

Best start has GU 8th in both polls

Men’s College basketball: Gonzaga University moved up one spot to eighth in the Associated Press Top 25 and remained eighth in the USA Today balloting of coaches in the latest polls released Monday.

The Bulldogs received their highest AP ranking since Dec. 22, 2008, when they were seventh.

Gonzaga had just one game last week, downing West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary’s 83-78 at home.

The Zags, off to their best start in school history at 16-1, are 3-0 in the WCC heading into a Thursday game at Portland.

Gonzaga will play its final non-conference game of the season Saturday at legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler University campus when the Zags face 13th-ranked Butler.

Butler announced Monday that leading scorer Rotnei Clarke will miss the next two games – Wednesday against Richmond and Saturday against Gonzaga. Clarke sprained his neck on Saturday when he crashed into the basket support after being fouled during a 79-73 victory at Dayton.

Louisville moved into the top spot in both polls following Duke’s first loss of the season last week, unseating the Blue Devils after six weeks in the No. 1 spot.

Indiana, which held the top spot prior to Duke, moved into second as previous No. 2-ranked Michigan also lost last week.

Whitworth climbs to No. 4 ranking

Men’s college basketball: Continuing a steady climb up the national rankings, Whitworth moved up another step to No. 4 in this week’s D3hoops.com poll, its highest showing in the national poll since reaching No. 1 in the 2010-11 season.

Last week’s No. 1-ranked team, North Central (Ill.), suffered its first loss of the season, 64-53 at Carthage, and fell to fifth. The only team to beat Whitworth, St. Thomas, took over the top spot, with Rochester and Middlebury No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.  Whitworth is the highest-ranked team in the nation with a loss.

The Pirates (14-1) entered the 2011 NCAA Division III tournament ranked No. 1 and lost to Wooster in the sectional final, 76-66. Whitworth has been ranked in the Top 25 for 43 consecutive polls, a stretch that dates back to the 2009-10 season.

The Pirates host Willamette and Linfield Friday and Saturday.

Steve Christilaw



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