The Morning After is the new name for the basketball posts previously known as the Final Word.
This is one of the most exciting Novembers in Ohio Valley Conference basketball I can remember. Competitive games, big wins, and even heartbreaking losses; it really feels like the conference has turned that proverbial corner.
Of course, it could all change by Thanksgiving. That’s part of what makes collegiate sports so great
The Three Point Shot (3 Things We Learned Last Night)
- Belmont isn’t coming to the OVC to play second fiddle to anyone, even Murray State. While the Racers fell to Colorado on a neutral floor, Belmont traveled west and knocked off a Stanford team coming off a 26-win season. It’s too early, and an overreaction, to call Belmont the favorites to win the conference, but they’re easily closing the perceived gap between the two.
- How about the OVC: 5-1 today moves the conference to 20-16 against Division I competition this season. Three teams remain undefeated (all in the East Division) and four others are 3-1 through the first four games.
- Isaiah Canaan can be rattled. I didn’t entirely know it was possible, but he clearly was in the second half last night against the Buffaloes.
Belmont 70, Stanford 62
The name of the game is defense: Belmont forces 17 turnovers, and hold defending NIT Champion Standford to 31% shooting at home, as Belmont pulls off their first win against a major conference opponent since 2006.
Four Bruins finished in double figures, led by, who else, Ian Clark (15) and Kerron Johnson (14).
After Stanford got a 6-4 lead, the Bruins went on a run pushing the lead to eight by halftime. The Bruins hit a three to open the second half, giving them a double-digit lead, before the Cardinal made a run of their own, taking the lead at the under-12 media timeout. From there, the senior backcourt of Clark and Johnson hit three straight shots, putting the Bruins ahead for good.
The Bruins also benefited from an odd sequence to start the 2nd half that led to Dwight Powell fouling out with over 16 minutes to play.
Powell, saddled with two personal fouls early, picked up his third foul with 17:32 left when called for charging into Noack.
43 seconds later, Powell was whistled for his fourth personal foul battling Baker for a rebound. Before Stanford could get a substitute to the scorer’s table for Powell, the Bruins were allowed to resume play. After a Bruins miss on the very next play, Baker swooped in for a rebound, colliding with a recovering and off-balance Powell. Powell was called for his fifth personal foul on the play and was done for the evening with 16:37 left.
For those keeping track, that’s 3 fouls — his final 3 fouls — in :55 of play. If that’s not a record, it has to be close.
Stanford won the turnover battle and shot 16 more free throws than the Bruins, but 2-19 from behind the arc and those 17 turnovers we mentioned earlier proved to be the difference.
Lafayette 74, Morehead State 88
The speed is back in Morehead. The Eagles force 29 turnovers, and shoot 54% from the field, surviving 15 made threes from the Leopards, on their way to their third win of the season.
Milton Chavis led the Eagles with 18 points, but I was more impressed with 18 combined assists from Devon Atkinson (8) and Angelo Warner. (10) Drew Kelly again played just limited minutes, but made the most of them adding 12 points and seven rebounds as well.
There were moments in this game where I really thought that the Eagles were playing too fast, too aggressive, and making too many mistakes as a result, evidenced by 20 turnovers of their own. Their aggressive defense was leaving Lafayette shooters open for three, who too often made them pay. (15-33 on the game) It didn’t help that shots weren’t falling early, as Morehead State shot just 1-9 from 3-point range in the first half. But as the shots began to fall, and the defense tightened up in the half court, the Eagles starting to show just how deadly this new team can be if you’re sloppy with the ball.
The Eagles have one more game before thanksgiving, just down the road in Lexington against No. 5 Kentucky.