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I didn’t have time for a full First Word yesterday (apologies for that) but I did throw out a Twitter friendly version, saying that the OVC should easily go 4-0.

They did go 4-0. But it was far from easy for one team.

Three Point Shot

  1. Get ready Racers fans, 80+ point games are going to be the norm. While that’s exciting to watch, it’s not best for winning games. Their struggles to stop Lipscomb (and ODU before that, and Colorado before that) show how a once mighty defense isn’t so mighty anymore.
  2. I still can’t wrap my mind around Morehead State yet. I know what they want to do, I just can’t tell how effective they’re going to be doing it. They have proven they can speed teams up, and they haven’t lost to a team outside a major conference, but I’m just curious how they’ll fare against some of the OVC teams notorious for playing half court basketball.
  3. Robert Covington is alive and well. At least, for now. But maybe I’ve been a bit hard on him as well. He actually has one more double-double than he had at this point last season, and struggled similarly in November then as well.

Norfolk State 67, Morehead State 73

Just two days after Eastern Kentucky manhandled the Spartans, Morehead State didn’t find as smooth of a road in front of them. The Eagles go dry from three point range, and struggle to contain Norfolk State’s rebounding as the Eagles win a back-and-forth game on their home floor.

Milton Chavis has blossomed early under head coach Sean Woods’ offense averaging 18.5 points a game, more than double last year’s total under Donnie Tyndall. He’s doing it with 55% shooting, 50% from behind the arc, and averaging over 5 points a game. Maurice Lewis-BriggsJarrett Stokes, and Kahlil Owens also finished in double digit scoring on the night.

Fisk 53, Tennessee State 92

Robert Covington puts up a game high 29 points and 14 rebounds, Kellen Thorton adds 22 points as Tennessee State runs up the score on non-Division I Fisk in their home opener. The Tigers shot a 57% from the floor in the win, and held Fisk to 29%.

As we see often in these kind of games Tennessee State turns the ball over 21 times on the night, but make up for it by forcing 21 Fisk turnovers, and outscoring Fisk on points off turnovers 24-10.

Despite their 92 points, the Tigers didn’t get a whole lot from behind the arc, going 3-14 in the first half, and finishing 6-19 on the game. For the season, the Tigers are hitting just 26% behind the arc, well behind their 34.5% from last season.

Murray State 88, Lipscomb 79

If there was any doubt that Isaiah Cannan was deserving of being named a preseason All-American, that should be gone by now. Cannan puts up 32 points, his second straight game with more than 30, and Murray State avoids a scare on the road against Lipscomb.

Stacy Wilson and Ed Daniel added 21 and 20 respectively, marking the first time in 15 years that three Racers scored 20 or more points in the same game. Daniel continues his tear on the glass, pulling down 18 rebounds in his 4th straight double-double. Daniel is now averaging 11.3 rebounds a game, tied for 9th best in the nation.

Last year, the Racers were one of the best at forcing turnovers, tonight anything but. Murray State forces just 7 turnovers from Lipscomb, while turning it over 13 times themselves.

Depth also continues to be an issue for Murray State with just 2 points coming off the bench.

Hannibal LaGrange 55, Southeast Missouri 96

Five Redhawks score in double-figures, led by 24 points from A.J. Jones, as Southeast Missouri easily handles non-Division I Hannibal LaGrange.

SEMO’s offense found little resistance, shooting 64% from the floor and 69% from behind the arc in the win. For the first time all season, head coach Dickie Nutt was able to go deep into his bench, with 10 players seeing significant minutes in the runaway win.

The lower division opponent also seemed to be a cure-all, albeit temporary, for the Redhawks inability to force turnovers. They forced 16 on the night, the same number they committed.


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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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