HELENA  Carroll’s men’s basketball team tied its highest-ever ranking in program history, rising two spots to No. 2 in the latest NAIA coaches’ top-25 poll released on Wednesday. The Saints were last ranked that high nationally in the Jan. 29, 2019 poll and held that position for two weeks.

Carroll was also ranked No. 2 for a pair of weeks during the 2017-18 season.

Currently 12-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play, Carroll is off to its best start under head coach Kurt Paulson and has won the most games to begin a season since the Saints were victorious 15-straight times to start the 2017-18 campaign.

Carroll received 538 total points in the latest top-25 poll, 22 less than No. 1 Loyola who received all 20 first-place votes.

Carroll is led by senior Jovan Sljivancanin who is averaging 19.8 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. Four Saints are scoring, on average, double digit points per game.

No other Frontier Conference schools joined Carroll in the men’s top-25 poll, but Montana Tech was represented as the top “receiving votes” team.

On the women’s side, and for the second-straight poll, Carroll’s women’s basketball team was ranked No. 5. The Saints received 511 total points, 21 less than No. 4 Southeastern.

Carroll is currently 11-2 with both of its losses coming against teams ranked inside the top-5. Dani Wagner is scoring 16.8 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting this season. She has knocked down 43 3-pointers in just 13 games and is shooting just under 49 percent from long-range.

Jamie Pickens (12.8) and Christine Denny (12.5) are also averaging double digit points per game for the Saints.

Montana Western joined Carroll in the top-25 at No. 21, rising three spots while sporting a 7-2 record. Rocky Mountain College slotted into the “receiving votes” category on the women’s side.

Carroll is the lone NAIA program with both basketball teams ranked inside the top-5 nationally.

Carroll’s men’s team will put its undefeated record on the line Friday against No. 10 Arizona Christian at the Cactus Classic in Chandler, Arizona. The Saints women will face Menlo College in Mesa, Arizona, on Monday.

Email Daniel Shepard at daniel.shepard@406mtsports.com or find him on Twitter @IR_DanielS.

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