POPLARVILLE Pearl River Community College Wildcat basketball team is ranked No. 11 in the NJCAA second regular-season Division I poll that was released Nov. 23; moving up one spot in the first regular-season ballot. Head coach Richard Mathis undefeated squad, the defending MACJC state champions, entered the season at No. 25 in the preseason balloting and has rolled off seven straight victories to open the year. The Wildcats bombed Southern Sports Academy 116-75 to open their season Nov. 1, then followed with an 80-68 win over Baton Rouge CC, a 65-50 win over Holmes, a 67-62 decision over the Loyola University junior varsity, a hard-fought 81-76 win over Mississippi Delta, a 56-49 victory over Holmes, and a 72-62 win in a rematch with Loyola. Pearl River is joined in the poll by MACJC non-division rival East Mississippi, which remains tied for No. 16 with College of Eastern Idaho, while 8-0 North Idaho College took over the nation No. 1 Division I ranking, moving up from No. 3 after previous first-place team Midland College (Tex.) dropped to 8-1 overall. Mathis, who is amidst his 20th season with the Wildcats, has guided Pearl River to five MACJC state titles 1994-95, 1997-98, 2003-04, 2004-05, and last year. In addition, he has won two other state championships a men title at Northeast Mississippi in Booneville and a women title at his alma mater East Mississippi in Scooba. Pearl River women and men squads return to action Tuesday when Baton Rouge CC (La.) visits Shivers Gymnasium in Poplarville for 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men) contests before hosting rival Copiah-Lincoln to open their MACJC South Division schedules Monday, Dec. 6, at the same game times. Delgado (La.) visits Thursday, Dec. 9 (same game times), to wrap up the pre-Christmas holiday portion of PRCC schedule.
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