By BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
The Quincy University men's basketball team has landed its first high school recruit of the 2013 recruiting class.
Springfield Southeast senior guard Herman Senor II announced his verbal commitment to QU on Monday night.
Senor is averaging 16.9 points per game for the Senators, who are 20-5 and currently ranked No. 10 in Illinois Class 3A.
"I just try to start early offense with defense," Senor said in describing his game during a phone interview Monday night.
Senor said he mainly plays two-guard at Southeast but played point guard during summer AAU ball. Senor said he'll come to QU prepared to play point guard.
Senor, who was the starting quarterback on Southeast's football team for two seasons and also plays baseball, made an official visit to QU on Saturday and watched the Hawks beat Missouri S&T 71-66 at Pepsi Arena. He said the scholarship offer from QU was his only Division II offer but that he received interest from several Division III schools.
With Senor's commitment to QU, that leaves one available scholarship remaining for the Hawks. Signing day is April 17. Senor would join Scott Bruxvoort in the 2013 recruiting class. Burxvoort transferred to Quincy from Division I Albany at the start of the semester and is redshirting this season.
Thompson probable, Des Jardins doubtful: QU men's basketball coach Marty Bell expects senior forward Tyler Thompson to be able to play in Thursday's game against Missouri-St. Louis at Pepsi Arena.
During Monday night's "Marty Bell Show" on ESPN 1440, Bell called Thompson probable to play Thursday, which is Senior Night and QU's final regular-season home game. Thompson sprained his left ankle during the second half of QU's 64-44 loss to Drury on Thursday. He did not return in that game and did not play Saturday.
Thompson is QU's second-leading scorer at 12.9 points per game and leading rebounder at five per game.
Thompson hasn't practiced since the injury, and Bell said getting Thompson cleared to practice and evaluating how his ankle holds up during practice would be imperative to him playing Thursday.
The outlook doesn't look as good for freshman backup point guard Nate Des Jardins, who separated his right shoulder during the second half of Saturday's game and did not return. Bell said it's the first time in Des Jardins' career that he's separated his shoulder. Bell said during Monday's radio show that Des Jardins is doubtful for Thursday.
Des Jardins has seen his playing time pick up substantially since mid-January. Sophomore Jordan Wilson has served as the backup point guard to starting point guard Grant Meyer at times this season, but Wilson has been playing off-guard lately. Sophomore T.J. Riggs also spent some time as QU's backup point guard, but he has played only 10 minutes total since playing 16 minutes against Kentucky Wesleyan on Jan. 10.
Drury coach hospitalized in Quincy: The Drury men clinched the West Division title with their head coach two hours away.
Assistant coach Ja Havens guided the Panthers during their 68-54 victory Saturday at Illinois-Springfield because head coach Steve Hesser was at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, where he was recovering from pneumonia. Drury beat QU on Thursday with Hesser on the sideline, but he didn't continue on with the team to Springfield.
Hesser was admitted to Blessing a couple hours after Thursday's game, according to Drury's athletic website, and was expected to remain there through early this week.
"I told our guys this win was a credit to Coach Hesser for the way he always has them prepared to face whatever we were going to see," Havens said in a game report Saturday on Drury's website.
The No. 18-ranked Panthers (19-4, 13-2) have won 11 straight games and hold a three-game lead over Maryville for first place in the West. GLVC teams have three games remaining, but because the Panthers swept the Saints this season, Drury would hold the tiebreaker should it need to invoke it.
"We grabbed ... the West title (Saturday), but we are not done," Havens said. "It's an accomplishment, but we have a lot of opportunities ahead of us."
Rangers close in on East title: The magic number is now one for the Wisconsin-Parkside men after the No. 21-ranked Rangers beat No. 13 Bellarmine 74-72 on Saturday. It was UWP's eighth straight win and seventh of the season against a ranked opponent.
UWP holds a two-game lead over Southern Indiana for first place in the East Division, and the Rangers swept USI this season. That means one more UWP win or one more USI loss will seal UWP's first East title in program history.
Against Bellarmine, UWP senior forward Jeremy Saffold blocked Chris Dowe's layup attempt at the buzzer to preserve the victory for the Rangers. Saffold made 5 of 6 3-point attempts and scored a game-high 27 points.
UWP (18-5, 13-2) went 1-17 in the GLVC last season.
"It was another huge victory," Saffold, who scored only three points in UWP's 65-58 loss Jan. 17 at Bellarmine, told the Kenosha (Wis.) News. "I've been waiting four years for this. We just have to keep working."
Wild finish lands on SportsCenter: The Missouri-St. Louis women won Thursday's home game 71-69 over William Jewell in such dramatic fashion, the ending of the game was played as a highlight on the Friday morning editions of ESPN's SportsCenter.
WJC's Chelsea Meeks raced down the court and made a 3-point heave from the left wing to put WJC ahead 69-68 with a second remaining. After UMSL called a timeout with six-tenths of a second to play, Jessica Zavoral inbounded a long pass to Angela Johnson, who banked in a shot from just inside half court at the buzzer.
Weekly honors: Southern Indiana senior center Keith DeWitt was named the GLVC Men's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday. In a pair of wins last week, the transfer from Division I Southern Mississippi averaged 20.5 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game. He made 56.7 percent of his field-goal attempts. DeWitt also earned the weekly honor on Feb. 4.
UMSL senior forward Devonna Smith was named the Women's Basketball Player of the Week. Smith averaged 16.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and three steals per game in a pair of Tritons wins last week.