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UPike men now in the top five

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The University of Pikeville moved up five places in the nation's first regular-season men's basketball poll this week.

As a result, the Bears are tied for fourth in the nation and are one of three Mid-South Conference teams listed among the Top 10 in the country in the first regular-season poll.

Pikeville is one of three 11-win teams in NAIA Div. I, compared to only one loss. That setback came on Nov. 15 when the Bears lost on a last-second three-point shot at Campbellsville by a 90-87 final in overtime.

Cumberlands is 10-0 and moved up from 25th to No. 2 in the country, leading four MSC teams in the Top 25. The Patriots trail only Oklahoma Baptist, 9-1, in the ratings. OBU got nine of the 11 first-place votes. Cumberlands got one.

Lee (Tenn.) is 9-0 on the season and moved from 15th in the preseason to No. 3. Pikeville is tied for fourth with Rogers State (Okla.), 9-1. The Hillcats were fifth in the preseason poll.

Columbia (Mo.) is ranked sixth this week after recording a 9-0 record. The Cougars got the other first-place vote. Westminster (Utah) is seventh at 9-1, while the third MSC team in the poll, Lindsey Wilson, used a 9-1 record to check in at No. 8.

Cal State-San Marcos, the only team in the Top 10 with multiple losses at 7-3, is ninth, while the remaining unbeaten team, 10-0 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), rounds out the Top 10.

Campbellsville, 7-2, is the fourth Mid-South team in the Top 25. The Tigers are tied for 18th with Pikeville's next opponent, Life (Ga.). Life is 6-3, with all three setbacks coming to MSC teams – Cumberlands, Pikeville and Georgetown.

Speaking of those Tigers, they are leading the list of teams outside the poll but receiving votes. Standing 8-3 overall and 1-3 in the league, Georgetown is out of the Top 25 for the first time since Jan. 11, 2006.

Two football-only members of the Mid-South are also in the poll – No. 17 Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 24 Bethel (Tenn.) – while former MSC team WVU Tech is getting votes.

Pikeville won its first seven games before opening league play with the overtime loss at Campbellsville. Since then, the Bears have won four straight again, including handing Lindsey Wilson its only defeat.

The Bears, who lead the nation in blocked shots, are in the Top 10 in 14 different categories, including being first or second in six of them.

UPIKE will return to action on Dec. 15 when it hosts No. 18 Life at the East Kentucky Expo Center. That game tips off at 11 a.m.

The next poll will come out on Tuesday, Dec. 11. After that, weekly ratings will begin January 8 and run through the final poll March 6.

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