River No. 12 in NJCAA Division I hoops poll

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POPLARVILLE Pearl River Community College Wildcat basketball team is ranked No. 12 in the NJCAA first regular-season Division I poll that was released Tuesday. Head coach Richard Mathis undefeated squad entered the season at No. 25 in the preseason balloting and has rolled off five 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, and a hard-fought 81-76 win over Mississippi Delta. We been in the poll a few times over the years, said Mathis. In fact, we finished 25th in the final poll last season after winning the (MACJC) state championship. But weve never been ranked as high as 12th. Weve just got to keep on winning. Pearl River is joined in the poll by MACJC non-division rival East Mississippi, which is tied for No. 16 with Southeastern CC (Ia.), while Midland College (Tex.) is the No. 1 ranked team in the balloting. 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.

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