November came to a close with two OVC wins and a close call on the road, following a very tough Saturday. Your look back at Sunday:
Player of the Night: Jarvis Williams, Murray State — A double-double for the Racers forward to help Murray get out of Nashville with one win, and end their three-game skid
Player of the Night in a loss: Charles Jackson, Tennessee Tech — TTU, more often than not, flies under the OVC radar, but Jackson’s someone to keep an eye on. Jackson scored 16 points, and pulled down 10 rebounds, playing 37 minutes (without getting into foul trouble!) in TTU’s loss to Tulane.
Unsung Hero: Justin Seymour, Murray State — The Racers need help off the bench, and they finally got it. Seymour was 5-8 from the field, scoring 14 points in Murray’s win.
Team trending upwards: Tennessee Tech. Last minute aside, Tennessee Tech played a very good game on the road, and their frontcourt will be a challenge for every team in the OVC. JSU
Team trending downwards: Murray State. Yes, they won. But this was not the weekend they expected, or fans hoped for.
Tennessee Tech 68, Tulane 73
I’ve slept on it…and I’m still baffled what TTU was doing in the final minute of this one. In the last five or six years or so, the trend among coaches it to let players “figure it out” in late game situations, the idea being that timeouts benefit the defensive team over the offensive team. So, we can just get rid of timeouts then? The thing is, on TTU’s final possession, you could have made the decision not to call a timeout, realized your team had no plan, called one, and run a play out of the inbounds, and I’m not sure it would have taken the 19 seconds the actual play took. Now — to be fair, in the moment, coaches are thinking about seventy other things, whereas I was watching the game thinking about just one or two.
Outside of the final minute: a good performance by the TTU forwards. The guards? A bit more of a struggle.
Ft. Valley State 49, Jacksonville State 81
Four straight wins — two over Division I teams, two over non-DI’s like Ft. Valley State — for the Gamecocks following this one. NAIA game — so I don’t have a lot say here. Lots of minutes / experience for the bench.
Drake 59, Murray State 68
“The Muni” hasn’t been kind to the Racers the past few years, and that trend continued this weekend. Murray gets a tough, needed win, and a bounce back from Jarvis Williams after being held almost silent the night before against Valparaiso. Following last season CIT Championship, a lot of fans came into this year thinking this Murray team could not only make the NCAA Tournament, but could also be a low-seed. (13, maybe 12 or 11) The seed isn’t going to happen. The biggest issue: This team is still not deep, and there’s a lot of pressure on the starting five to perform. Only Jonathan Fairell continues to rehab from injury (75% now, maybe?) and outside of Justin Seymour‘s performance last night, the bench just hasn’t gotten there yet. Here’s the good thing about their November: they know what to work on. They didn’t take the easy path, and as a result nothing is being masked. They’ve got three months to work on it.