Cowboy hoopsters 10th in region

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NMHU has won last three games

By Dave Kavanaugh

On the heels of its third consecutive victory, the New Mexico Highlands University men’s basketball team checks in at No. 10 in the NCAA Division II Central Region rankings.

The rankings, the first of the season, were released Wednesday afternoon by Amber Feldman, assistant coordinator for championships with the NCAA.

The Cowboys, coached by Joe Harge, are 13-4 overall and 9-4 within the Central Region. They are 9-4 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Most recently, NMHU dusted Western New Mexico 115-99 on Saturday night; Thomas Manzano earned league player-of-the-week honors after amassing 34 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in that game.

The team plays road games at Colorado State-Pueblo and Colorado-Colorado Springs this Friday and Saturday.

Six RMAC schools are in the Central’s top 10, joining four from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The RMAC’s Fort Lewis (14-3) tops the rankings. Metro State (12-3), Colorado School of Mines (11-3) and Adams State (10-3) rate third through fifth, respectively. Mesa State (10-6) is seventh and Highlands is 10th.

None of the RMAC’s teams made the most recent National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II poll, released Tuesday. Colorado Mines did receive two votes in that poll.

Regional ranking will loom large in a little bit more than a month, when the postseason hunt begins.

Harge led the Cowboys to their first-ever NCAA basketball regional appearance in 2010. After reaching the final of the RMAC Shootout, they were a No. 6 seed and lost to the Augustana College (S.D.) Vikings in the opening round of the regional tourney.