CARTERVILLE -- Rankings don't technically mean a whole lot, but they produced a big crowd and added some luster to John A. Logan College's game against Olney Central on Wednesday night.
Logan is currently ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA Division I national poll and Olney Central recently moved to No. 18 in the same list. Both teams came into the matchup with 17-1 records and Olney owns a win over No. 4 Vincennes, which handed Logan its only loss.
The actual game lived up to the hype and Logan picked up its 14th straight victory by knocking off the Blue Knights, 102-94, in front of a packed Brewer Gymnasium.
"What a great atmosphere," said Logan coach Kyle Smithpeters. "Our guys came out and stepped up to prove what they can do."
The Vols are now 18-1 overall and 9-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, while Olney is 17-2 and 8-1.
Logan's two biggest stars certainly shone very bright.
Sophomore point guard David Sloan erupted for 31 points, 11 assists and five rebounds, while freshman forward Jayden Scrubb had 23 points and eight rebounds.
Vonnie Patterson added 17 points and eight rebounds and Jonah Jackson had 14 points, including four 3-pointers.
Olney's standout players were pretty good, too. Jalen Moore scored 33 points, including some highlight-reel dunks, while Nathan Scott had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Logan led 48-38 at halftime and built a bigger lead in the second half but never could put away the Blue Knights, who pulled as close as 96-90 with 1:35 left.
But the Vols iced it at the foul line, where they went 14 of 23 for the game. They were actually better from 3-point range, where they made 12 of their 22 attempts.
"Our guys did a really good job of showing some resilience down the stretch," Smithpeters said. "They were driving right at us and it seemed like they didn't miss a shot for 10 straight minutes and the clock was moving slower."
Logan got a boost from Marion's Justin Saddoris, who returned from an ankle injury for the first time since Christmas break and provided five points and steady guard play. He also filled in down the stretch for Chris Harris, who fouled out after scoring eight points.
"It was good to see Justin back on the floor," Smithpeters said. "He showed great confidence like he'd never missed a beat. He did a great job of handling the ball and getting it where it needed to be."
In the early game, the Logan women had their five-game win streak snapped with a 70-69 loss to the Lady Knights.
The Lady Vols (11-8, 6-3 GRAC) led 29-19 at halftime and 54-49 after three quarters, but gave up the lead in the final frame.
Lyric Campbell led Logan with 19 points, while Alicia Hornbuckle had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Marion's Nia Marshall had nine points and nine rebounds.
Both Logan teams now travel to Vincennes on Saturday.