Bunch's 18 blocks beats NCAA record


Randallstown alumnus boosts Lincoln University


December 24, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

John Bunch, a 300-pound sophomore center for Lincoln University, used his 7-foot-2 1/2 height to block 18 shots against Valley Forge Christian College 10 days ago in a game that appears to be headed for the NCAA record books.

The performance by the former Randallstown High basketball player should soon be documented by the NCAA as an all-time single-game record for all three divisions. Lincoln (Pa.) is a Division III school located 60 miles north of Baltimore. Valley Forge is a Division II school.

The 2004 edition of the NCAA record book lists the previous record as 16 blocks, set by Troy Black of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in February 1997. NCAA officials have requested a copy of the scorebook from the Lincoln-Valley Forge game to validate Bunch's performance.

The 18 blocks were part of Bunch's third triple double of the season. He also scored 13 points and had 22 rebounds in a 68-58 victory in the consolation game of the Rowan Heritage Classic in Glassboro, N.J.

When Bunch was asked if the 18 blocks may attract some attention from Division I schools, he said: "I don't think they've ever heard of Lincoln."

In other words, Bunch isn't looking to suddenly become a rags-to-riches basketball story.

He still sees himself as something of a project for Lincoln coach Robert Byars, although Bunch is averaging eight blocks, 11 points and six rebounds for the Lions (3-8).

"I need to improve my endurance and quickness," said Bunch, 19, who was a mop-up player in high school. "I played two minutes a game" at Randallstown, despite being 6-11 as a senior.

Byars, who lives four miles from Randallstown High, was aware of Bunch and always figured he would probably become a project for some Baltimore-area coach. Byars was surprised when his wife, Kimberly, informed him she had discovered Bunch was still available.

"I have to say he is Kimberly's recruit," said Byars.

Valley Forge Christian coach Jon Mack said after the 18-block effort against his team: "He needs a lot of work on his footwork, but he catches the ball well. We had to keep on challenging him, but he never got in foul trouble."

Mack said the average height of his team was 6-3.

As a freshman, Bunch averaged four blocks a game to lead Division III.

Tilley scores in classroom

Grove City (Pa.) College's all-time women's soccer leader in goals (68) and assists (38), Meg Tilley (Hammond), has added a major academic award to her resume.

Tilley, a senior, has finished second nationally among all Division III players in the voting for the CoSIDA College Division Academic All-America first team.

She was second only to Academic All-American of the Year Jenny Bruce of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Tilley is Grove City's first first-team Academic All-American since swimmer Doug Fullerton in 1996.

Tilley had a team-leading 17 goals and 41 points this season, earning the Presidents' Athletic Conference MVP award and helping lead Grove City (16-5-1) to its second straight NCAA D-III tournament berth.

A four-year starter with a 3.97 grade point average, Tilley was the driving force behind Grove City's march to the first 10-0 regular season in Presidents' Athletic Conference history this year.

Neal still tops

La Salle sophomore guard Gary Neal (Calvert Hall) is leading the Explorers (3-6) in scoring for the second straight season. He's averaging 20.1 points a game.

Neal scored 14 Monday in a 55-54 loss to Virginia Commonwealth, after posting 30 points Saturday in a 74-55 win over Mount St. Mary's.

The 6-4 guard was the team's top scorer as a freshman last season with an 18.6 average, earning second-team All-Atlantic 10 honors.

Et cetera

Randolph-Macon sophomore men's soccer sweeper Jamie Flynn (Perry Hall) has been selected to the All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference second team, and sophomore goalkeeper Nick Warner (Dulaney) has been chosen the team's MVP after finishing second in the league in saves (93), tied for second in shutouts (five), and fourth in goals-against-average (1.03).

Sophomore linebacker Devin Conwell (Long Reach) led Ashland (Ohio) University this season in tackles (121), tackles for losses (17 for minus 56 yards) and tied for the team lead in sacks (five). He was second in interceptions (three), had four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and was a second team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference choice.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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