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We’re 3 days into exhibition season, and we’re almost half way done. 5 games over the past 2 days, including a few that have me questioning my hard stance that the score in exhibition games don’t matter.

Maybe I should amend that to the outcome of an exhibition game doesn’t matter. Because I’m pretty sure that Austin Peay giving up 57 in the 1st half against Central Missouri might be a sign that their defense isn’t quite up to par.

And one OVC team dropped a Butler-esque bomb in exhibition play.

Urbana
Eastern Kentucky
Recap: EKU Stats

If Jeff Neubauer truly has the best shooters in years, they didn’t seem to show up Wednesday night. The Colonels went 3 of 17 from three point range, but shot much better inside the arc, in their only exhibition game of the season.

The starters played for much of the game, with Mike DiNunno, Joshua Jones, and Jaron Jones all playing 30+ minutes. Four Colonels scored in double digits, including 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting from Eric Stutz. DiNunno dished out 8 assists, but also led the team with 4 turnovers. As a team, EKU turned the ball over just 9 times, but only forced 10 turnovers from Urbana. But Urbana was held to 37% shooting from the field.

Player of the Game: Mike DiNunno. Despite 4 turnovers, DiNunno tied for a team high 14 points, dished a game high 8 assists, and 3 steals.

What I learned: Don’t ignore players just because they’re freshman. Eric Stutz and Timmy Knipp scored the first 12 points of the game for the Colonels, and as mentioned above, Stutz tied for a game-high 14 points. Knipp finished with 10 points.

Next Game: The season starts early for the Colonels, who travel to Mississippi State for an opening day game Monday.

Mountain State
Morehead State

A tweet from Anthony Wireman of AllKyHoops.com to former Morehead State star Kenneth Faried after the game tonight read, simply:

“I kid you not. Eagles struggled tonight.”

This is not a good sign. Now, in the Eagles defense, Mountain State is ranked #2 in the NAIA preseason poll. They feature David Nyarsuk, a 7’1″ freshman from Sudan, who has the potential to be a dominant big man. And in the first exhibition game of the season, you can understand why an offense would come out a little flat.

But being out rebounded by 19? Having 2 players foul out? Those facts are a little concerning. That’s playing out of position, and not hustling.

Before we read too deep into this, note the following: 3 of Mountain State’s started played 35+ minutes, and only 6 played 10+ minutes. For the Eagles, 6 players played 20+ minutes, 9 played 10+. The point? Mountain State was playing to win. Morehead State was playing to get better.

Player of the Game: Has to be the big man for Mountain State, David Nvarsuk, who put up a double-double (19 points, 14 rebounds) on 7 of 12 shooting.

What I learned: Size may present a issue for the Eagles this season. But the Eagles did win the turnover battle, forcing 20 from Mountain State while only commi 13.

Next Game: One more exhibition game for Morehead State, against St. Catherine on Wednesday.

Central Missouri
Austin Peay

Paging the Governors Defense. Anyone? Defense?

There’s no doubt that Brad Loos, Central Missouri coach and son of Austin Peay coach Dave Loos, had a good gameplan for trying to beat his father. It involved a lot of running, and a lot 3-point shooting. In the first half, Central Missouri hit 7 of 13 from 3-point range. In the second, just 3 of 17.

So, what are the high points for the Govs? They got to the free throw line for 37 attempts, including a perfect 12 of 12 from Jerome Clyburn. The defense tightened up immensly in the second half after a 57 point 1st.

But here’s the funny thing. Central Missouri went much deeper into their bench than Austin Peay. In fact, every Governor starter played at least 26 minutes, with 3 playing 30+. Maybe it was just dad being competitive?

Player of the Game: Josh Terry hit 8 of 13 from the field, and still dished out a team high 9 assists.

What I learned: When Loos Sr. eventually retires, Austin Peay might want to look at Loos Jr.

Next Game: One more exhibition, hosting Manchester on Monday.

West Georgia
Jacksonville State
Recap: JSU Stats

This is the kind of thing I expect to see from a team playing an exhibition game. 11 players played 10+ minutes, and a player off the bench lead the Gamecocks with 16 points on 5 of 7 shooting, all while holding their opponent to 40% shooting.

All in all, a great start for a team with so many players that have never played together in a game.

The bad? 15 Turnovers, and they did lose the battle of the boards by 1.

Player of the Game: Darion Rackley is playing for a starting spot. Team High 16 points in 16 minutes, and added 2 steals, 2 assists, and 0 turnovers.

What I learned: Steven Hall played well, and will clearly lead this team. But he might have some more talent behind him

Next Game: Another exhibition, hosting Oakwood on Monday.

Blackburn
SIU Edwardsville
Recap: SIUE Stats

Here’s the thing, 2 players played really well for the Cougars. One or two more played okay. But 42% shooting against a Division-III team is a bit curious. At least the Cougars held Blackburn to under 35% from the field.

Those two players that played really well? Jerome Jones, who had a game high 21 points, and pulled down 12 rebounds. Derian Shaffer put up 18 points on 9 of 13 shooting, adding 7 rebounds himself.

But much like Austin Peay, the bench didn’t get many more minutes that you would expect them to get in a regular season game. That leads you to believe that the bench might be a bit weak.

Player of the Game: Jerome Jones with the double-double.

What I learned: I haven’t mentioned how well the Cougars held onto the ball; only 12 turnovers.

Next Game: One more exhibition, Thursday hosting MacMurray.


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SHARE THIS POST
  1. BionicLA:
    Morehead State better learn fast without Kenneth getting out done on the boards by 20 will not get you any wins.
  2. Catlin Bogard:
    Exactly. That's killer right there. I know they're talking about being a guard-oriented team this year, but you've got to be better on the boards.
OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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