EAST STROUDSBURG - East Stroudsburg University is ranked No. 20 in this week's NABC Division II Coaches Poll, achieving a national ranking for the third season in school history, it was announced Tuesday.
ESU (15-2, 12-1 PSAC), which has won nine straight games and 13 of its last 14 going into Wednesday night's game at Bloomsburg, was ranked for six straight weeks during the 2009-10 season and for one week during the 1991-92 season.
The Warriors were first among others receiving votes last week, and fifth among others receiving on January 15, before moving into the poll on the strength of convincing PSAC East wins over Millersville (68-52) and Shippensburg (99-56) last week.
Head coach Jeff Wilson, who has a 176-122 record in his 11th season, has been a part of all three nationally-ranked teams. He was an assistant coach under Sal Mentesana on the 1992 team, and led the 2010 team to a school-record 24 wins, the second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the first of three straight trips to the PSAC Final Four.
The Warriors were ranked as high as No. 12 in 2010, when they started 19-1. They were ranked No. 20 (in a top 20 poll) for one week in 1992.
Along with this week's national ranking, the defending PSAC champions are riding their longest PSAC win streak (nine games) in 70 years and have won a school-record six straight PSAC games by double figures. They also own a school-record nine-game road winning streak at PSAC opponents, including a perfect 7-0 mark this year.
In this week's NCAA Division II rankings, ESU is ninth (of 286 schools) in turnover margin (+5.5 per game), 19th in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.0), 20th in scoring margin (+12.1) and 22nd in steals per game (9.8).
In the PSAC, the Warriors lead the conference in turnover margin and turnovers forced (19.8 per game), and are second in fewest turnovers committed (14.3 per game). They are also second in scoring offense (77.3 ppg) and offensive rebounds (14.9 per game), and fourth in three-point percentage (34.7) and rebounding margin (+3.9 per game).
Sophomore guard Whis Grant is seventh in the PSAC in scoring with 17.2 points per game and is averaging 22.7 points over the last six games. He also remains the conference leader in three-point percentage (45.6, 41-90), is third in three-pointers per game (2.4) and tied for fifth in steals per game (1.8).
Senior forwards Duane Johnson, Terrance King and Gerald Bridges have helped the Warriors to a 75-32 record in their four years - one win from tying 2010 and 2012 seniors for the school record of 76 victories. ESU has played in the NCAA Tournament in two of their first three years (2010, 2012).
Johnson has played more than 2,900 minutes in his ESU career, the most by a Warrior since 1990 (the first year the statistic is available). A two-time All-PSAC East selection, he is second on the team in scoring (13.3), rebounding (6.1), steals (1.7) and blocks (0.8) per game, ranking in the top 25 in the PSAC in all four categories.
King is fourth in the PSAC in blocks (1.2 per game) and field goal percentage (57.8), leads the Warriors in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and is the third-leading scorer (12.9 ppg). Grant, Johnson and King have all been named the PSAC East Player of the Week this season.
After Wednesday's game at Bloomsburg, the Warriors head to West Chester for a rematch of last year's PSAC championship game. ESU prevailed, 90-85, at WCU's Hollinger Field House for the second PSAC title in school history.
NABC Division II Coaches Poll (previous ranking)
1. Metropolitan State (Colo.) - 17-0, 397 points (13 first-place votes) (1)
2. Western Washington - 18-0, 387 (3 first-place votes) (2)
3. West Liberty (W.V.) - 17-1, 365 (3)
4. Seattle Pacific (Wash.) - 15-2, 348 (4)
5. Cal Poly Pomona - 15-1, 342 (5)
6. Bellarmine (Ky.) - 15-2, 317 (8)
7. Minnesota State - 16-2, 261 (7)
8. IUP - 15-2, 259 (9)
9. Florida Southern - 14-2, 249 (14)
10. Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) - 14-2, 240 (12)
11. Alabama-Huntsville - 14-3, 231 (13)
12. Barton (N.C.) - 14-2, 203 (15)
13. Southern Indiana - 14-3, 191 (10)
14. Fort Lewis (Colo.) - 14-2, 171 (20)
15. Indianapolis (Ind.) - 14-3, 162 (11)
16. Winston-Salem (N.C.) - 15-3, 139 (19)
17. Winona State (Minn.) - 18-3, 137 (25)
18. Kentucky Wesleyan - 14-3, 113 (3)
19. Rollins (Fla.) - 14-3, 87 (17)
20. East Stroudsburg - 15-2, 86 (NR)
21. Washburn (Kan.) - 12-4, 77 (24)
22. Saint Anselm (N.H.) - 14-3, 76 (NR)
23. Adams State (Colo.) - 13-6, 66 (18)
24. Harding (Ark.) - 16-3, 57 (NR)
25. Wayne State (Mich.) - 13-3, 54 (22)
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