Did I call it, or did I call it?
If you missed this morning’s First Word (it’s here by the way) I basically ranted about the poor quality of non-conference games, and how they are too often blowouts.
And while one Ohio Valley Conference team made things interesting for a half, for the most part the day went as scripted.
No drama. No excitement. Just two games. With two very different results.
Don’t get me wrong, predicting neither team would be close wasn’t exactly difficult. It in no way required me to go out on a limb.
But I got it right. And I’m proud of myself for that. Because between now and March, I’ll get many, many more wrong. And I know you’ll point those out every time. Here’s tonight’s Final Word:
SIU Edwardsville 69, Missouri 83
For about 18 minutes, it looked like SIU Edwardsville was going to give Missouri a pretty major scare to open the season. That is, until Missouri ended the first half on a 10-0 run, and stretched their lead through the second half. In the end, the Cougars simply couldn’t deal with the Tigers size, part of the reason SIUE hit just 28% of their shots taken inside the 3-point arc. They were much better from deep, hitting 11 threes and shooting 42% from deep.
Mizzou’s two 6’9″ players, Alex Oriakhi and Tony Criswell, combined for 25 rebounds on the night, just 7 shy of the Cougars total 32.
On the plus side, the Cougars only turned the ball over 8 times in the game, an absolutely fantastic number, and forced 12 from the Tigers. Also, the three point shooting, as mentioned above, was outstanding, led by a 5-8 effort from Jerome Jones, who finished with a team-high 17 points. Three other Cougars, Maurice Wiltz, Kris Davis, and Michael Messer finished in double digits.
On the negative side, Mark Yelovich did not finish in double digits. Nowhere near. The preseason all-OVC selection was held to 0 points on the night, as the Cougars were held to 33% shooting from the field.
Crowley Ridge 32, Tennessee Tech 107
If you’re wondering why I stopped previewing games against non Division-I opponents last season, games like this are the reason why. Just an absolute mismatch, in what amounts to little more than an exhibition for the Golden Eagles.
As if the score wasn’t bad enough, (and, it was) Crowley Ridge was held to just 18% shooting, converting just eight field goals. Tennessee Tech shot 62%. The Golden Eagles forced 29 turnovers, (and committed 15 themselves, which is somewhat surprising) won the battle of the boards 47-20, and blocked 8 shots.
Whatever you do, just don’t read too much into this. Dominating? Well, yes. But Crowley Ridge has about 300 students. Just putting it in perspective.
Crowley Ridge will get a second crack at the OVC when they travel to Richmond later this season…