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Ferrum News

Men's Basketball Team Ranked in Top 20

2/8/2011

Ferrum, Va. (February 8, 2011) – The Ferrum men’s basketball team continues to enjoy one of its best seasons ever.  Sixth-year Head Coach Bill Tharp’s team is currently 19-2 overall and holds a ½-game lead in the USA South over North Carolina Wesleyan College.  The Panthers are 8-1 in league play, while the Bishops are 7-1.

Ferrum is currently ranked #19 in the nation by D3hoops.com.  The Panthers made their debut in the poll Jan. 11 at the #22 spot.  Tharp’s team improved to #19 in the Jan. 25 poll and has held that spot the past three weeks.

This is Ferrum's first national ranking in men’s basketball since February 25, 1993.  The Panthers at the time were 18-6 and tied with Emory & Henry College for the #12 spot in the National Basketball Coaches Association Top 25 poll.  Coach Bill Pullen's squad was ranked #1 in the South Region at the time, but fell from the regional and national rankings after suffering a 56-52 setback to N.C. Wesleyan in the semifinals of the Dixie Conference (now the USA South) Tournament.

Ferrum’s two losses this season are to Eastern Mennonite University and Christopher Newport University.  Eastern Mennonite was ranked #10 at the time, and currently holds the #16 spot.  CNU is the defending USA South Tournament champion and competed in last year’s NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.  Tharp’s team was picked to win the USA South in this year’s preseason poll.

Senior forward Derek Mitchell has earned USA South Player of the Week honors three times this season, Nov. 29, Jan. 10 and Jan. 25.  He became the first men’s basketball player at Ferrum to post 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career points.  Mitchell is currently fourth on Ferrum’s career scoring list with 1,467 career points.  He helped Ferrum win the 2010 Dick Leftwich V Foundation Classic at Roanoke College earlier this year, earning Tournament MVP honors in the process.

Senior guard Keith Crump joined the 1,000-Point Club during Ferrum’s 73-59 win at Covenant College, Dec. 30.  Crump is the 14th player to reach the scoring milestone, and currently holds the #8 spot with 1,160 career points.

The USA South has changed its postseason tournament venue policy for the 2010-11 season.  The higher seeded team will host each game and Ferrum hopes to be selling tickets to home USA South Tournament games in late-February.  Quarterfinal round games are Tuesday, Feb. 22, semifinal action will take place Friday, Feb. 25, and the championship game is set for Sunday, Feb. 27.