Tom Via put it rather well on Twitter last night: In the past 24 hours, the OVC hasn’t won a game, had six SIU Edwardsville players get ejected and Sean Woods gets national attention (and crashes my site) for going off on a player.
If there’s ever been a worse 24-hour period from a public relations point of view in the recent history of the Ohio Valley Conference, I’m struggling to think of what it might have been.
If you’re looking for my thoughts on Woods, head on over to Page 2.
Three Point Shot
- Oh, Eastern Illinois. You did some good things in the Ice Man Classic, winning two of three games. Then you return home, and lose to an NAIA team. Even UT Martin last season didn’t do that. C’mon guys. You’re making the conference look bad. Not that you’re concerned about that right now: You’re concerned because you just lost to a NAIA team!
- 26 turnovers Tennessee State? I only looked back as far the ’05-06 season, but I do know that’s the most turnovers in a game in at least six seasons, and possibly even longer than that. Monmouth doesn’t even press!
- The focus tonight is on Woods, which is sad because Morehead competed with Kentucky, and led a lot longer than almost everyone expected. But 32 fouls? That seem excessive to anyone else? Seemed like it was part of the Eagles strategy. Odd, but you can’t argue it wasn’t effective.
Monmouth 81, Tennessee State 70
New Tennessee State head coach Travis Williams‘ first season isn’t going as expected. A monster night from Kellen Thorton isn’t enough to overcome 26 turnovers, as Tennessee State loses their fifth game of the year.
Thorton scored 27 points, and pulled down 16 rebounds in the loss, both career highs for the senior. Patrick Miller added 15, and Robert Covington‘s struggles continues: he scored 12 points, but on 3-14 shooting, doing most of his damage at the free throw line. He didn’t get in foul trouble, a good sign for the senior who has already fouled out three times this season.
The Tigers struggled again behind the arc, shooting just 2-11 from three. Monmouth hit 9-23 from deep on the night. Tennessee State easily won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Hawks by 22.
Before panic sets in, Tennessee State didn’t get off to a hot start last season if you’ll remember. The Tigers were just 3-6 through their first nine games before rattling off five straight wins.
Rochester (MI) 59, Eastern Illinois 57
Gardner-Webb 72, Austin Peay 62
After a back-and-forth game for the first 29 minutes, a 12-3 run by the Bulldogs broke the game open, sending Austin Peay back under .500 on the season. JUCO transfer Travis Betran led the Governors again on the offensive end finishing with 18 points.
No one seemed to have any answers for Donta Harper inside. The sophomore forward scored 21 points on 9-16 shooting, and pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds. The front court for Austin Peay really struggled on both sides of the ball: Anthony Campbell shot just 2-10 from the field, and Will Triggs played just 22 minutes in his return from injury.
Gardner Webb shot 45% from the field, but poor free throw shooting helped keep the Governors in the game.
There’s a lot of new parts on this year’s team trying to figure out how to work together, so the consistency issues are understandable. But the returning upperclassmen haven’t really stepped up, which is something I always expect to see from well coached team like Austin Peay is. That really is the key to success for the Governors going forward.
Rochester (MI) 59, Eastern Illinois 57
(for real this time)
I guess you probably came here for more than a sigh. The Panthers offense continues to struggle, which may be actually be a kind way of putting it. At home, against an NAIA team, the Panthers shoot just 37% from the field and just as troubling , 9-19 from the free throw line. Josh Piper and Sherman Blandford, who led the Panthers in their two win at the Ice Man Classic, combined for just 21 points in the loss.
The Panthers were also outrebounded by Rochester, despite 15 offensive rebounds. Those 15 rebounds led to just 12 second-chance points. Eastern Illinois forced 2o turnovers, and scored zero points on the fastbreak. I’m all for controlling tempo, but how is it possible to not convert a single turnover into a fastbreak point?
As much as this kind of pains me to say, patience needs to prevail here. (I’m not a patient person, by nature) Jay Spoonhour warned us that the Panthers would struggle to score, and they have and could all year. This is a textbook rebuilding year for a new coach with a very new team. It will (obviously) be frustrating at times, but the season is far from over.