So I know I’ve promoted the site on Facebook, and do so daily on Twitter, but if you haven’t checked out OVC Boards yet you should. We’ve already got a few good conversations going, including one about the still perfect Eastern Kentucky Colonels.
I still don’t think we should read too much into EKU’s start, but there is something to say about having your best start since 1947. I’m just amazed they haven’t been 6-0 in 65 years.
And here’s the thing, we’re talking about it. Not just me, but the Courier Journal, who had a story on it earlier this week. And the OVC itself made mention of it tonight on Twitter. There’s something to be said for starting off your schedule the way EKU has this season. While they haven’t gotten a resume making type win, winning six in a row is a challenge, even against “lower” competition. Let’s remember, last season many people considered the Colonels “weaker” competition.
So while I don’t know if EKU’s early season run will mean much when conference season starts in late December, I think it was right move for the school to assemble the schedule the way they have.
Three Point Shot
- Eastern Illinois just put together their best offensive output of the season, turned the ball over just 9 times, hit more free throws than their opponent…and lost. All I can think to do is shake my head.
- To win in any offense, you need to limit turnovers, and limit fouls. Morehead State is doing too poorly on turnovers, especially given the pace they like to play, but the fouls? Their opponents are in the double bonus seemingly every half. Tonight, Marshall reached the single bonus with 12+ minutes left in the 2nd. It cost them again tonight.
- Coming into tonight’s matchup, Tennessee Tech’s Matt Marseille had made eight shots all season. He made eight tonight in a losing effort.
Morehead State 67, Marshall 70
Last night’s free throw statistics:
Morehead State: 8-16
Ignoring the fact for the moment that Morehead State hit just 50% of their foul shots (Kahlil Owens is now below 50% from the charity stripe this season) this kind of discrepancy is nothing new. Kentucky shot 41 free throws to Morehead State’s 16. Maryland shot 29 to the Eagles 8. And Long Island shot 33 to just 8 for Morehead State.
To be fair, some of those free throws tonight were in the final minute as Morehead State looked to come back from eight down. Some, but hardly all.
Morehead State held Marshall to 33% from the floor, and 2-17 from behind the arc, but a combination of free throws and allowing 22 offensive rebounds proved just too much for the Eagles to overcome. Dennis Tinnon pulled down 16 rebounds for the Thundering Herd, more than any two Eagles combined.
The Eagles struggled to score as well, shooting just 37%, but managed 18 offensive rebounds of their own. Jarrett Stokes had his best offensive performance of the season, scoring a team high 14 points.
Delaware State 51, Eastern Kentucky 84
Of the Colonels six wins, to me this is their most impressive: 53% shooting, plus-12 in turnovers, Eastern Kentucky won the battle of the boards,and kept Delaware State off the line. And Delaware State is one of the tougher teams they’ve faced this season, according to Sagarin rankings.
The Colonels ability to force turnovers this season has been fantastic, and what’s even more amazing is that it’s been consistent. Last season, Murray State was 11th in the nation in forced turnovers, with 16.3 a game. EKU has over 18 per game. How? They’ve forced at least 17 in every contest so far this season. This is one time I don’t care about how good their opponents have been. EKU doesn’t play up-tempo like Morehead State, they don’t press all game long; they just consistently force turnovers in the half court.
Glenn Cosey is my early pick for Newcomer of the year. 21 points tonight, his 4th 20+ point night of the season. Add 3 assists and 3 steals a game; he is invaluable to the Colonels this season. It’s everything they could ask for after the departure of last year’s surprise of the season, Jaron Jones.
Berea College 53, Austin Peay 108
Normally when you see a team post 100, they have a big first half, and then the bench comes in the second and the numbers cool off. this wasn’t a normal game. The Governors put up 63 points in the second half on 75% shooting on their way to a blowout over non Division I Berea College.
Five Governors scored in double figures, including 20 from Anthony Campbell, who scored his 1,000th point tonight on a free throw after a Berea technical foul, really just adding insult to injury.
Central Arkansas 74, Eastern Illinois 72
The good news here is that EIU broke 70 for the first time this year, despite just 4 points from the Panthers leading scorer, Josh Piper.
The bad news is that EIU lost in Charleston, again, this time on a buzzer beater from the Bears after a scramble for a loose ball. EIU trailed most of the night, but made a big rally in the second half to pull even, shooting 70% after the break. If only they shot better than 27% in the first half.
It’s easy to knock Eastern Illinois, even though we all know this is a rebuilding effort. So there are encouraging signs: All 10 players scored tonight, the Panthers had just 10 turnovers, the second half rally was fantastic, and EIU had just 10 fouls all game. But regardless of the positives, I know fans have a hard time swallowing losses, especially on their home floor.
Just give it time before you judge Jay Spoonhour too harshly.
Loyola (Ill.) 81, Tennessee Tech 78
Another comeback effort falls short tonight for the OVC, as the Golden Eagles lost despite shooting 50% from the field, and four players scoring in double-figures.
In this morning’s First Word, I somewhat challenged other players to step up and tonight Lanerryl Johnson and Jeremiah Samarrippas did, both shooting better than 50% from the floor and scoring 12 and 15 points respectively. But you’re not going to win many games with 20 turnovers, and you’re not going to win many when your opponents shoot 49%.
Tennessee Tech is another team where patience could be required this year by the fanbase, as this is a very young team. But unlike Eastern Illinois, which is a defensively minded team, we know the Golden Eagles can score, which from a fan’s point of view can be entertaining. It will just be frustrating because their opponents so far this season can score as easily.
By the way, if the game wasn’t dramatic enough for you, the recap from TTUSports.com is very dramatically written. I usually don’t point these kinds of things out, but this one is…something. No doubt these guys love the Golden Eagles.