In our first Tempo-Free Thursday, we looked at just how important free-throw production is, and we saw it again last night in Morehead. If the Eagles don’t get to the free-throw line, and in turn hit their free-throws, they lose against Wright State. Morehead State is 14th best in the nation, and tops in the OVC, at getting to the free-throw line. Just how important is that? The Eagles turn the ball over on 23% of their possessions, the 15th worst in the nation, don’t shoot the ball amazingly, (44.9% from the field, which falls in the middle nationally) and are 7-3. Their defense, which nearly forces as many turnovers as they cough up, helps. But make no mistake, Morehead State is winning in part because they know how to draw fouls. SIUE could use a lesson. (302nd in free-throw production nationwide, 11th in the league, only ahead of UT Martin)
- After SIUE’s win last night, Cougars head coach Lennox Forrester said, “The last three games we played where it came down the stretch, we didn’t do a great job finishing the game off. Tonight we did a much better job of finishing and winning the game.” Really? Much better? Wright State came back from a 16-point second half deficit to take the lead. Yes, you did make enough buckets down the stretch to get the win, which is a different outcome from the previous three close games. But your team still didn’t do a great job finishing the game. It never should have come down to the final minutes to begin with. Forrester did add, “It wasn’t pretty, but we’re still learning as a team.” I agree with that part.
- Today’s Slate:
Belmont (7-2) at Middle Tennessee (6-1, C-USA) Evan Bradds and JJ Mann will anchor the backcourt due to injuries, and they’ll have their hands full with a Blue Raiders team that forces 13 turnovers a game and shoots 37% from 3-point range. MTSU struggled in a win last week over South Alabama, but held the Jaguars to 27% shooting in the win.
Alabama A&M (1-4, SWAC) at Tennessee State (0-8) Is this the Tigers best chance to get into the win column? The Bulldogs struggle to score, but don’t turnover the basketball. TSU should be able to score, but the game could be won on the boards, which has been a struggle for the Tigers all year. With three of the next four on the road, TSU could really use a win tonight.
FEATUREDPredicting the OVC race…in mid-December