At one point, OVC teams led all four games last night. They came away with two wins.
Here’s the Final Word:
Murray State 72, St. John’s 67
This year’s Racers team is completely different than last, but their ability to pull out tough wins remains. Down double-digits in the first half, and as much as 8 in the second, the Racers rally behind 23 points from Stacy Wilson to advance to the finals of the Charleston Classic.
Against the St. John’s 3-2 zone (which is usually run to stop teams from shooting 3’s) the Racers took 30 shots from behind the arc, and it was mostly feast or famine. A lot of missed shots in the early going led to long rebounds and fastbreak opportunities for the Red Storm, but makes down the stretch helped seal the game for Murray State.
The Racers had just 8 turnovers on the night, forcing 14 from St. John’s, and held their own on the glass. D’Angelo Harrison had a game high 27 points for St. John’s, but shot just 8-21 on the night.
Next up is Colorado, who upset Baylor in the other semifinal.
Arkansas State 77, UT Martin 72 (3OT)
UT Martin’s Jeremy Washington hit a 20-footer with 0.3 seconds to go to force overtime. Arkansas State’s Ed Townsel hits an off-balance 25-footer with 2.2 seconds to go to force double overtime. Neither team scores during the entirety of the 2nd overtime! And the Red Wolves finally get the advantage in the third, pulling out a tough win on the road.
The Skyhawks struggle again shooting from the floor, hitting just 34% on the night, but are able to stay in the game thanks to an 18-19 performance from the free throw line. The Skyhawks also controlled the boards, outrebounding Arkansas State 54-35.
Myles Taylor put in his second straight double-double, with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but it was Justin Childs leading the Skyhawks scoring with 21 points, more than he scored in the first three games combined.
All in all, I called tonight a “benchmark game” and the Skyhawks looked much improved in the loss.
Kennessaw State 71, Eastern Kentucky 85
We’re only two games into the season, but this EKU team looks completely reformed on the offensive side of the basketball. Four Colonels score in double figures, as the Colonels move to 2-0 on the season with the win over Kennessaw State.
Eastern Kentucky wasn’t as hot from three, but still manage to shoot 53% from the floor on the game. The Colonels forced 18 turnovers from Kennessaw State, versus just nine of the own. Glenn Cosey again breaks the 20-point barrier, and is looking like an offensive leader early in the season for the Colonels.
Two knocks on this game: the defense (Kennesaw State also better than 50% from the field) and fouls. The Owls go to the line 31 times, but thankfully go just 21-31 from the charity stripe. Despite 10 fewer attempts, EKU outscored from the free throw line by just 3 (going 18-21 on the night)
Eastern Illinois 52, Eastern Michigan 60
From today’s first word: “First team to 55 wins.”
I love it when I’m right.
A 12-0 second half run put the Eagles up for good, as Eastern Illinois remains winless on the young season.
While this sounds like a broken record when talking about the Panthers, once again Eastern Illinois struggles to score, shooting 37% on the night. They also struggled to get to get to the line, and didn’t even hit them once they were there, finishing just 5-10 from the charity stripe. Alex Austin, who I raved about before tonight’s game, joined in the struggles tonight, finishing with just 6 points.
The Panthers had trouble identifying Derek Thompson, who took 12 three point attempts on the night, half of Eastern Michigan total. Thompson scored a game high 22 points, and Daylen Harrison added 18, going 11-11 from the charity stripe