We’re close enough to the season to relaunch our Daily 3 — which if you’re new to OVC Ball, is our look at stories and stats that don’t make the headlines. We don’t cover exhibition games for a few reasons here, the biggest of which is simply: they don’t mean anything. They’re organized practices against another team. They’re much more valuable to coaches than they are to fans.
So, Austin Peay fans shouldn’t be too concerned with the Governors narrow win last night over NAIA Bryan College. Yes, Austin Peay only scored 62 points. Yes, they trailed at halftime. Yes, they were out rebounded. But there’s a lot of reasons why most of those things are not important:
- For Bryan College, it wasn’t an exhibition at all. It was a regular season game — their fourth of the year, and their first loss. In their three wins, Bryan College averaged 94.6 PPG. They scored 52 last night.
- Khalil Davis was 1-10 from the field, had just one assist but played 35 minutes. I doubt if he’s shooting that poorly in a regular season game that he’s playing 35 minutes. I’m guessing that was a “find your shot” game.
- The defense was…as you would expect against an NAIA team in the second half, forcing 18 turnovers, and holding Bryan to 20 points over the final 20 minutes.
The one thing I do find a bit concerning is the rebounding I mentioned earlier. The eight offensive rebounds is fine: Chris Freeman was 9-10 from the field, and his shots, generally being close to the rim, tend to generate more offensive rebounds, if they’re actually missed. It’s the fact they gave up 10 offensive rebounds — to just 19 defensive rebounds of their own, that are likely driving coaches mad this morning.
Morehead State got a fairly easy win in their exhibition tilt against St. Catherine, but again I caution against overreacting. Karam Mashour isn’t going to pull down 19 rebounds a game, for instance, and Angelo Warner‘s rough shooting night is equally unconcerning.
The one area that I wouldn’t completely disregard is turnovers. The Eagles turned it over 22 times — against a team from a lower division. Given the Eagles struggles with turnovers in both years of the Sean Woods era, that’s something that caught my eye. But it should be noted: five came from Corbin Collins, who saw most of his minutes in the second half after Morehead State already built a lead, and another three came from Lyonel Gaines. It’s too early to tell, but it’s something worth keeping an eye on when the regular season gets underway.
The Houston Rockets are 5-0 to start the season, and former Murray State star Isaiah Canaan is playing a bigger role this season with the team. Through the first five games, the second-year guard is averaging seven points a game, and shooting 47.4% from three-point range. He’s even started two games this season, thanks in part to an injury to the Rockets expected starter. The Rockets play the defending world champion Spurs tonight as they try to extend their perfect start to the season.