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Rocky Mountain men join Montana Tech in NAIA top 25; Carroll leads three Frontier teams in women's poll

Jesse Owens
Posted at 2:23 PM, Nov 29, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rocky Mountain College has joined Montana Tech in the NAIA Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, while Carroll College still leads three Frontier Conference teams in the women's rankings.

The Battlin' Bears were previously unranked but debuted at No. 21 in the latest men's top 25, which was released Wednesday. Tech is ranked eighth after starting the year at No. 6.

Rocky has won five of its first six games to start the season, with the lone loss coming at then-No. 3 Arizona Christian (now ranked fifth). The Bears have won four consecutive games, eclipsing the 100-point mark three times, including 108-point efforts in wins over Valley City State (N.D.) and Dickinson State (N.D.) last week.

Against Dickinson State, Rocky guard Jesse Owens poured in a career-high 29 points and scored the go-ahead basket with 1.2 seconds remaining to help the Bears to a 108-107 overtime win. Owens also scored 23 points in Rocky's 108-80 win over Valley City State. The Billings West High alum averaged 26 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the two wins and was named the Frontier Conference men's basketball player of the week on Monday.

Tech is 6-1 after winning its first five games to start the season. The Orediggers lost to Dickinson State on Nov. 16 but bounced back to defeat Lewis-Clark State (Idaho). Tech has been ranked in 14 consecutive polls and has been in the top 10 in four straight polls.

Grace (Ind.) is the top-ranked team in the poll, followed by College of Idaho, Langston (Okla.), Oklahoma Wesleyan and Arizona Christian. View the complete men's rankings.

The NAIA Women's Basketball Coaches Top 25 Rating, also released Wednesday, has the same top six as the previous poll (in order): Campbellsville (Ky.), Dordt (Iowa), Indiana Wesleyan, Clarke (Iowa), Carroll and Marian (Ind.).

Carroll is 6-2 and has won five consecutive counting games, including a 91-79 win over then-No. 10 Lewis-Clark State and a 60-56 win over Southern Oregon last week. Jamie Pickens scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against L-C State and followed that up with a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double against Southern Oregon, which is now ranked 21st. Pickens, who also had five blocks against Southern Oregon, was named the Frontier Conference women's basketball player of the week Monday.

Joining Carroll from the Frontier Conference in the women's top 25 are Rocky Mountain and Providence. Rocky, which is 7-0, climbed from No. 14 to No. 12. The Bears notched wins over Dickinson State and Valley City State last week. Providence, meanwhile, climbed from No. 18 to No. 17. The Argos are 7-2 after losing to Southern Oregon and Lewis-Clark State last week.

Montana Western also received votes. View the complete women's rankings.