February 10, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College men’s basketball team broke into the national rankings Tuesday for the first time this season, coming in at No. 24.

The Volunteers have put together a 20-4 record to date under third-year head coach Kyle Smithpeters and will host the nation’s top-ranked junior college team, Vincennes, Ind., Wednesday night at the Donald L. Brewer Gymnasium and Convocation Center on the JALC campus. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Logan dropped a 71-70 decision in Vincennes on Jan.7. No other team has played the Trailblazers that close this season.

Smithpeters said he doesn’t have to say anything to motivate his team for the match.

“I think that says a lot about where we are as a team that I don’t have to say anything,” he said. “I’ve really been proud of our kids’ maturity level this season. We have kids who have stepped up into leadership roles. The culture (chemistry) with this club is very good.”

Smithpeters said the key to beating Vincennes is playing hard and effectively for 40 minutes, rather than in spurts.

“What makes them so good is that they play extremely hard and that they have both good outside shooters and post players. There’s a reason why they are the only undefeated team left in the nation. We have to defend well. We have to challenge their jumpers and keep them off the offensive boards,” Smithpeters said. “We also have to prevent them getting lay-ups off us in transition. We have to make them do things they don’t want to do.”

Smithpeters added that win or lose, his ballclub needs to maintain its composure as there are still games left in the regular season, as well as a regional tournament to play.

“Sure, it would be a feather in our hat if we can beat Vincennes, but what we can’t do is let one game affect how we prepare for Saturday’s game with Rend Lake or beyond that. We can’t let our emotions get the best of us.”