The Colonels (14-9, 8-2 SLC) sit in the driver’s seat and control their own destiny in chasing a Southland Conference championship with no other two-loss teams remaining. Nicholls battles Abilene Christian (14-10, 6-5 SLC) tonight at 7 p.m. CT on the road before Houston Baptist visits Thibodeaux, La., on Saturday at 3 p.m. FRISCO, Texas – Nicholls enters week seven of Southland Conference men’s basketball play in sole possession of first place, coming off an 81-64 win over New Orleans on Saturday. New Orleans (12-11, 9-3 SLC), Sam Houston State (14-10, 8-3 SLC), Southeastern Louisiana (14-10, 8-3 SLC) and Stephen F. Austin (18-5, 7-3 SLC) are within reach of the Colonels. Additional Storylines: The Privateers’ lone game of the week is at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (8-12, 5-5 SLC) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Bearkats get a chance at stopping the hottest team in the league, the Islanders, hosting them tonight at 6:30 p.m. Corpus Christi is currently on a four-game win streak after starting the league season 1-5. Sam Houston also competes at home Saturday against Lamar (14-10, 6-5 SLC) at 6:15 p.m. All three games will be available on ESPN3. The Lions hit the road with games against UIW tonight at 7 p.m. and McNeese on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Lumberjacks, who fell in Beaumont 76-54 on Saturday, contest the Cowboys in Lake Charles, La., on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and return home to take on Northwestern State (3-19, 0-11 SLC) on Saturday at 6 p.m. • Standing Alone: Nicholls reclaimed the top spot in conference on Saturday with an 81-64 victory at home over defending conference champion New Orleans (12-11, 9-3 Southland). The Colonels are now the only two-loss conference team.• I’ll Take That: Stephen F. Austin, Nicholls and Lamar rank in the top eight nationally for three key defensive categories: Steals per game, total steals and turnovers forced. The Lumberjacks are second in steals per game and total steals and first in turnovers forced. The Colonels are fourth, sixth and seventh for the same three categories, respectively. The Cardinals are seventh in steals per game and total steals and eighth in turnovers forced.• Island of Their Own: After beginning Southland play 1-5, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has strung together four consecutive wins to move to .500 in league action. The Islanders visit Sam Houston State on Wednesday, who they lost to earlier this season, 82-50.• Oh Home, Let Me Come Home: SFA is one of 27 teams that are undefeated at home this season. The Lumberjacks are 12-0 at Johnson Coliseum this season and hold a tie for the 11th best home win streak nationally (14 games).• Bear With Me: Central Arkansas senior guard Jordan Howard ranks third in the nation for points per game (25.5 ppg). Teammate Hayden Koval is 10th in NCAA Division I for blocked shots per game (2.87).
Andy Murray claimed his 11th Masters 1000 title when he ended an eight-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic in the Rogers Cup final on Sunday, but when it comes to the game’s top brass he is still the odd man out.Of the so-called Big Four of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, twice grand slam champion Murray is the only member never to have topped the ATP rankings.Federer, winner of 17 grand slams, has spent 302 weeks at the summit, Djokovic 160 and counting and Nadal, down at eight now, 141.Murray, 28, moved up above Federer to second in the ATP’s latest rankings on Monday, courtesy of his dazzling displays in Montreal culminating in 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory over Serb Djokovic in an absorbing three-hour duel.Also read: Murray ends drought against Djokovic with Montreal winBut the Briton still trails Djokovic by nearly 6,000 points in the standings — a huge gap that Murray has no realistic chance of closing until next year.”It’s incredibly tough,” Murray, who would love to add the number one ranking to his Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Olympic titles, told The Tennis Podcast.”The points I’ve accumulated this year would sometimes be enough to get to number one in the world, at a different time.”Whereas just now I’m still almost 6000 points behind Novak. The consistency that he’s shown over the last couple of years has been phenomenal and before that, Roger and Rafa were exceptional.”I’m trying my best. I’ll just keep doing that. I still feel like I have a good few years left in me, hopefully I can stay healthy and I’ll give it my best shot.”advertisementMurray will hope to continue the form he showed in Montreal when he begins his assault on the Western and Southern Cincinnati Open this week — a year after losing to Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.Then, Murray was still working his way back up after a rankings slide, but this time he is playing some of the best, most attacking tennis, of his career as he looks to win the Cincinnati title for the third time.His first opponent will be 33-year-old American former top-10 player Mardy Fish, who recorded his first win for two years on Monday when beating Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.