LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Philander Smith) -- Philander Smith College has earned a spot in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Top 25 teams in the nation.
According to the NAIA, Philander Smith is ranked No. 22, is listed in the ranking for the first time since 2000 - 01. Philander Smith brings a nine-game win streak into its next contest against No. 13 Xavier this Saturday.
This has not been an easy journey for the Panthers as they have suffered numerous close calls in the quest for success, recovering from multiple-overtime and double-overtime wins in the last few weeks alone. The Panthers have dug deep and used a combination of offensive and defensive tactics to overcome their competition.
The poll announcement was made on the eve of Philander's overtime win against Talladega College, where the Panthers performed in front a rowdy away crowd, to once again come out victorious. With top offensive performances from Juvon Demerson (22 points, 7 rebounds); D'Alvin Brown (19 points, 5 rebounds); and Clayton Busby (18 points, 5 rebounds), the Panthers used and all-around approach to get the job done.
With less than 20 seconds left in overtime, D'Alvin Brown fearlessly drove to the basket, drawing increased attention from Talladega's defenders. As Brown released the ball towards the rim, the defender stealthily snatched the ball from the iron. Consequently, the defender was charged with a goal-tending offense, placing Philander Smith up by one. Talladega was unable to produce on the offensive end, which led to Philander Smith recording its ninth consecutive win and improving its conference record to 4-0 in GCAC play (13-4 overall).
The Panthers travel to New Orleans Saturday to take on Xavier College. Tip off is at Noon for the men and 2 p.m. for the women's teams.