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Ever have one of those holidays that leave you more exhausted than if you had just been at work?

Because I just did.

But basketball went on without me, so let’s play some catch up on these recaps, starting with the day before thanksgiving.

Although to warn you, not much really changed…

Wednesday, November 23rd

[Hampton 68, SIU Edwardsville 64] The Cougars blow a 9-point halftime lead, on their way to their 4th straight loss on the year. Mark Yelovich, and to a lesser extent, Jerome Jones continue to establish themselves as consistent scores, on a team that desperately needs consistency on the offensive end. Once again, SIU Edwardsville can’t get to the free throw line with the frequency of their oppenents, as Hampton gets twice as many shots from the charity stripe as the Cougars. SIU Edwardsville does go 10-22 from 3-point range, and shoots 45% from the field in the loss.
[Austin Peay 93, Detroit 94 OT] They just cannot get a win. Austin Peay comes back from a 17 point deficit, and has a chance to win it in regulation, but instead fall in an overtime period in which they never led. All 5 starters score in double digits, with Melvin Baker pulling down a double-double thanks to 21 points and 10 rebounds, but Detroit hits 57% from the field. Even with the extra 5 minutes, the Governors commit just 12 turnovers, compared with 20 from the hot-shooting Titans. The Governors had a rough game from 3-point range, hitting only 4-13.
[Eureka 56, Eastern Illinois 87] Recap So my “why is James Hollowell coming off the bench” question is probably not going away any time soon, despite just a 4 point performance against Eureka. That’s because while he didn’t score, he pulled down a team high 10 rebounds (6 off the offensive glass) in just 20 minutes. Having not seen this team play yet, there may be a very reasonable reason (i.e. defense) for his coming off the bench that I haven’t seen yet, so I’ll wait to reserve judgement until I get to see the Panthers in action. Oh, and Mike Miller played all 14 players.
[Hannibal-LaGrange 72, SEMO 82] It took 5 games, but we might finally be seeing some production from the Redhawk guards not named Marcus Brister. Nick Niemczyk scores 22 points off the bench, and Lucas Nutt adds 15 in the win. Arii Meuel helped keep things close for Hannibal-LaGrange, finishing the game with 29 points off 10-12 shooting. SEMO hosts Miami (OH) on Saturday, and I’ll in Cape to see the Redhawks in action.
[Murray State 64, Alaska-Anchorage 62] After this game, I probably saw at least 10 people on Twitter talk about how bad Murray must be to only beat a Division II team by 2. This is actually pretty standard for teams heading to the Great Alaska Shootout. The Seawolves are notorious for close matches against Division I competition, and this one was another example of why almost any team is tough to beat on the road. Alaska-Anchorage shoots 57% from the field, 53% from 3-point range, and still fall by 2. Isaiah Canaan leads the way for the Racers with 19 points and 4 steals as the Racers stayed perfect on the season.

Thursday, November 24th

No Games

Friday, November 25th,

[Tennessee State 89, Mississippi Valley State 90, 2OT] Remember what I just said about winning on the road? Well, that doesn’t apply here, because the two teams played in Vegas. The Tigers come from 9 down with just under 5 minutes to play, but fall in double overtime. Despite playing 10 extra minutes, Mississippi Valley State plays just 7 players, the least of which played 25 minutes in the win over the Tigers. Jordyn Cyphers scores a game high 22 points off the bench for the Tigers, who drop to 2-4 on the year.
[Morehead State 62, West Alabama 51] This score scares me a bit if I’m an Eagles fan. Morehead State shoots under 40% from the field, and can’t out rebound the Tigers, but do get the win by 11 on a neutral court in Pennsylvania. Ty Profitt and Terrance Hill have good games for the Eagles, but starter Kahlil Owens plays just 6 minutes after getting into serious foul trouble. (4 fouls in that little playing time) What I am encouraged by if I’m an Eagles fan is another solid performance from freshman Angelo Warner off the bench, who put up 10 points on 3-5 shooting and pulled down 5 rebounds in 10 minutes of play.
[UT Martin 50, Mississippi State 76] Quick anecdote time: After the Martin / Lamar game, Martin head coach Jason James told me that something I wrote about his team was on his whiteboard in the locker room. After last year’s game against the Racers in Murray, and again in the ridiculously early season-preview, I wrote that last season, the Skyhawks defense was “atrocious”. Watching them against Lamar, I could see that it was better, but I would stop short of calling it good. My guess is that Mississippi State wouldn’t call it especially good either. For the second straight game, the Skyhawks opponent shoots over 59% from the field, as the Bulldogs cruise over the Skyhawks. Mike Liabo does not have a great game off the bench this time, hitting 2-12 from the field.
[Lamar 85, Tennessee Tech 65] So it’s probably a good thing for the OVC that Pat Knight and Lamar isn’t in the OVC. The Cardinals take down their second OVC opponent, thanks to a 56 point second half. Normally, I would look at TTU’s 12 turnovers and say how good that is, until I look over and see Lamar’s 7. Rebounding a big difference in this game, and the Golden Eagles lose the battle of the boards by 14, and have 7 shots blocked by the Cardinals. Kevin Murphy the only starter in double digits, although guard Zach Bailey puts up a team high 17 off the bench. Much like in the Martin game, no one has an answer for Anthony Miles, who puts up 31 points on 8-14 shooting (also going 12-14 from the free throw line)
[Jacksonville State 61, Northwestern State 66 OT] You may remember I was recently complimenting the Jacksonville State offense in a previous Final Word. No such compliment today. The Gamecocks were on the wrong side of the free throw equation, as Northwestern State shot 38 free throws versus just 15 for the Gamecocks in the loss. But one thing I will praise the Gamecocks on is ball control. Last season, turnovers were a huge problem for the Gamecocks, but they seem much improved in this area so far; just 13 turnovers against Northwestern State. Jacksonville State did have a 9-point 2nd half lead before the Demons closed the gap and forced overtime.
[Murray State 70, San Francisco 67] This one almost slipped away from the Racers. After building a 13 point lead early in the second half, the Dons push the Racers to the wire. The staring 5 for the Racers score all but 5 of the teams points, led by 22 from Donte Poole and 21 from Isaiah Canaan. The Racers forced only 15 turnovers from the Dons, who shot 51% from the field. But the win leaves the Racers as the only undefeated team in the OVC at 6-0.

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OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24