Last week, the Hawks (11-0) enjoyed their highest ranking since the NAIA began its Top 25 Poll during the 2000-01 season, coming in at No. 5 in the country after beginning the season ranked 12th.
Shorter acquired 282 points in this week’s national rankings to grab the No. 4 slot.
The Hawks are one of two SSAC programs to appear in the Top 25. Southern Poly moved up six spots to No. 13 after its 82-77 overtime upset of then No. 4-ranked Georgetown (Ky.) on Saturday night.
The Hawks responded well to their first-ever top-five ranking last week by reeling off a pair of wins at the Bryan College Classic in Dayton, Tenn.
Shorter downed Tennessee Wesleyan 86-77 on Friday before blowing out host Bryan 80-53 on Saturday night.
The Hawks are 11-0 for the first time school history, besting the program’s previous best start to a season.
Shorter previously set the record last year, when the Hawks opened the season with 10 straight wins.
Shorter welcomed the addition of two new players last week at Bryan as juniors Anthony Banks and C.J. Davis laced up their sneakers for the first time as Hawks.
Both players averaged 14 points a game in Shorter’s two victories, with Davis, a 6-2 combo guard, netting 19 points and Banks, a 6-7 power forward, adding 18 in Friday’s win over Tennessee Wesleyan.
Junior Walter Hill continued his strong start to the season with 15 points, eight rebounds and five steals against Tennessee Wesleyan. Hill led all scorers with 18 points and hit three 3-pointers in Shorter’s rout of Bryan the next day. The 2010-11 SSAC Newcomer of the Year and NAIA All-American paces the Hawks and ranks fifth in the SSAC at 18.3 points a game.
Shorter plays four games before the next set of rankings are released on Jan. 9 and could make a case for a top three rating pending several outcomes over the next three weeks.
The Hawks travel to Brunswick, Ga., on Thursday night to tangle with Coastal Georgia then return home on Dec. 30 for a second showdown with 17th-ranked Freed-Hardeman, whom Shorter dealt a 92-78 defeat on Nov. 12 at Freed. Shorter then hosts a pair of SSAC games on Jan. 6 and 7 against Belhaven and current SSAC West Division leader William Carey, respectively.
No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) and No. 2 Robert Morris (Ill.) are set to square off this Saturday, Dec. 17, potentially opening the door for movement at the top of the polls.
Shorter’s game Thursday night at Coastal Georgia is set for a 7:30 pm tip. That game will not be aired on 95.7 The Ridge.