Dec. 16, 2008

By Amy Farnum Novin

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE:  DeSales University's men's basketball team will enter the holiday break with a perfect record (8-0) for the first time in program history following the Bulldogs' 71-65 win over Elizabethtown College on Dec. 13.

Sophomore Brian Hunter played a key role in DSU's two victories last week, averaging 21.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.5 steals per game.  The native of Allentown, Pa., began the week with a season-high 22 points against Centenary in the Bulldogs' school-record seventh straight road victory, and followed it up with 20 points against Elizabethtown. Hunter, who shot 66.7 percent from the field last week, was named Freedom Conference Player of the Week. 
On the merits of the flawless start, DeSales broke into the Top 25 at No. 25.  The Bulldogs will return to action on Jan. 3 as they host John Jay College in the Casa Mia Holiday Tournament.

GETTING HIS DUE: UMass Dartmouth's Brandon Shelton picked up his first Little East Conference Player of the Week award after sparking the Corsairs to a pair of wins last week.

The junior forward from Cambridge, Mass., netted a season-high 27 points against Johnson & Wales, and then added 19 points and nine rebounds in a win over Southern Maine.  Shelton, a transfer from UMass Lowell, has started only three games for the No. 24 Corsairs, but leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg).

"Brandon did an outstanding job last week," said UMass Dartmouth head coach Brian Baptiste. "He is a great scorer, and did a nice job on the boards. For a first year player, he's doing a fantastic job."

NO SMALL ACHIEVEMENT:  New Jersey City University's Rashawn Smalls garnered New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week honors for the fourth time in five weeks this season after leading the Gothic Knights to an 80-46 win over Berkeley last week.

The freshman forward from Jersey City, N.J., scored a game-high 17 points with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in just 20 minutes of play.

Smalls paces the conference in scoring with 18.5 points per game, and tops the league with 2.33 steals per game. 

RISING COMETS: Texas-Dallas cracked the Top 25 at No. 24 this week after opening the season with an 8-0 record and defeating opponents by an 18.4-point average margin of victory.

Senior point guard Termaine Wright paces the Comets with 15.4 points per game, while senior Ernie Lowery adds 12.5 points per game.  UTD has held all but one foe to 40 percent shooting or less, and is outrebounding opponents by seven rebounds per game.

UTD began the 2006-07 season with an 11-0 mark, but went on to lose seven of its final 15 games to finish 19-7.   The Comets look to close out the first half of the season on a good note against Austin College on Dec. 18.

NOTABLE:  Elms College is off to its first 9-0 start in program history following a 77-61 win over then- No. 19 Worcester Polytech last week.  The Blazers have won 19 consecutive regular season games dating back to last year ... Third-ranked UW-Platteville heads up a group of three Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference squads in the Top 25's top six teams.  UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater are No. 4 and 5, respectively.   The Pioneers are off to their best start since 1999-2000, and are 3-0 in the WIAC for the first time in nine years ... Defiance College's junior guard Mike Floyd set a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference single-game record with 15 assists in the Jackets' 86-72 win over Manchester, earning the league's Player of the Week award.  The native of Toledo, Ohio, tops the HCAC with 9.00 assists per game.