|Elizabeth City’s Angelo Sharpless is currently second in the CIAA in scoring and first in rebounding. (Daily Advance Photo)|
It’s hard to tell much from the first six weeks basketball season. Strength of schedule between teams can vary widely, making a pretender look like a contender and vice versa.
However, if current records are any type of indicator, it looks like the overall competition level of the CIAA will be high in 2013. As of Jan. 1, 10 of the conference’s 12 teams are sporting winning records.
Defending men’s champion Winston-Salem State currently sits atop the conference with an 8-2 mark. After suffering losses to D1 UNC-Greensboro and ranked D2 opponent USC-Aiken, Coach Bobby Collin’s teams is currently riding a seven-game winning streak. That streak includes their conference-opener against Virginia Union.
As well as WSSU has played, they are just one game ahead of Livingstone. The Bears are led by guard Mark Thomas who has started the season shooting a sizzling 57 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range while scoring 18.6 points per game. Newcomer Jody Hill has scored just under 18 points per game while helping the Bears to an 8-1 record.
The race for the top spot in the Northern Division is a tight one as well. Just one game separates Lincoln and Elizabeth City. Lincoln (7-2) has been perfect on the road so far this season. Big man Will Cole has been a presence down low, shooting 70 percent from the field and averaging just over 11 points and 7 rebounds per game.
ECSU has been a terror on both ends of the court in the early part of the season, as they lead the conference in total points and hold their opponents to a league-low 38 percent shooting from the floor. Their offense gets a big boost from Angelo Sharpless, who appears to be an early front-runner for Conference Player of The Year. Sharpless is currently second in scoring (24.7 ppg) and three-point shooting (51.9 percent) , while leading the league in rebounding (9.6) and placing fifth in field goal percentage (60.4).
St. Aug @ Elizabeth City 1/3
WSSU @ Lincoln 1/5
Livingstone @ Lincoln 1/7