You wouldn’t be blamed for things the OVC is off to a ho-hum start to the season. There haven’t been a lot of surprises, and even the wins haven’t been amazing yet. We’re just two days in to the season, though. It’s a little early to try to read too much into the relative strength of the conference just yet.
Last Night’s Scores
Eastern Kentucky 68, Kennesaw State 60
It wasn’t really the dominant performance everyone expected. The Colonels led throughout the second, but couldn’t ever pull away from the Owls. Corey Walden, Marcus Lewis and Glenn Cosey combine for 55 of the Colonels 68 points. Eric Stutz plays just 13 minutes, and the Colonels were beat badly on the boards for the second straight night.
Tennessee Tech 62, South Florida 72
Here’s a name you might need to learn: Ty Allen. The Golden Eagles guard and JUCO transfer puts up 25 points on 9-17 shooting in a losing effort. Seven turnovers by Jeremiah Samarrippas alone, plus a tough night defending the interior led to the loss. It could have been much worse: The Bulls hit just 25-40 from the free throw line.
Mid-Continent College 60, Morehead State 107
Morehead State committed only 15 fouls. I don’t care that it was against an NAIA opponent, that’s substantially better than at any point last season. Seven Eagles score in double figures in the rout.
Eastern Illinois 55, Northwestern 72
Outside of about a five minute or so span late in the first half, Northwestern really dominated the Panthers. EIU shoots just 30% from the field, but get 19 points from Reggie Smith on 4-16 shooting. The Panthers commit just seven turnovers on offense, but could not find the bottom of the bucket.
Tennessee State 55, New Mexico State 70
I just don’t know where the Tigers find the offense. Patrick Miller has another great night, scoring 30 points and hitting more shots from the field then the rest of the team combined. The Tigers attempt just seven three point shots, and lose big despite winning the turnover battle 17-9.
Three Point Shot
- Wondering why the spread was so low for Eastern Kentucky today, and is tomorrow as well? It might have as much to do with playing three games in three days as the opponent. Offensive production almost always drops on the second day, and it’s usually even worse on the third. A win’s a win, and I wouldn’t read too much into their inability to pull away from the Owls, who were playing at home.
- I watched a good portion of the Eastern Illinois game, and the offense is definitely looking for shots earlier in the shot clock than last season. They missed a host of open shots on offense, and foul trouble didn’t help on defense. As we saw in last night’s Murray State game, the strategy of “just drive it and hope for a foul” is fairly effective. Teams are going to have to adjust, and maybe even get out of the way of driving players. If you have a play, go for the block, or the steal, because you’re not going to get a lot of charge calls this year.
- On a non-OVC related note, Google the boxscore for today’s Seton Hall – Niagra game. In regulation, there were 73 fouls called, and 102 free-throws shot. A few more games like that happen, and expect the volume to raise a bit from the national media on the new foul rules in NCAA basketball.
Player of the Night: Marcus Lewis, EKU. Not only did Lewis put up 19 points, he did so on extremely efficient 8-11 shooting from the field, and added three steals. The only thing he could have done better: hit more than 2-4 from the free throw line.
Player of the Night in a Loss: Ty Allen, TTU. The Golden Eagles need an offensive infusion. He may be able to help provide it.
Unsung Hero: Kareem Story, Morehead State. He only scored four points in the win, but dished out 15 assists. Again, I don’t care that the opponent was an NAIA opponent, that’s impressive.
Team Trending Upwards: Tennessee Tech. South Florida is a good team, and that’s not a bad loss on the road. The turnovers needs to be fixed, but they’re already looking much more dynamic than a year ago.
Team Trending Downwards: Eastern Illinois. Tempo is one thing (68 possessions tonight, a solid middle-of-the-road number) but it doesn’t matter if you can’t score. They need to get more than just Reggie Smith involved in the offense.