We’re three days into the season…and we’re already down to one undefeated team in the OVC.
Congratulations to Jacksonville State, who are seemingly no longer just happy dominating on the field, they want to dominate on the court. And boy, did they today!
Results of Note
Jacksonville State 94, Richmond 61. Richmond was favored in this one at home. Even worse, they performed this brutal act this in front of an arena full of school kids. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?
Seriously though, this is an impressive win. The Gamecocks shot 57% from the field, outrebounded the Spiders 42-20 and scored 46 points in the paint. Yeah, JSU was pretty dominant on the inside in this one. Four Gamecocks scored in double figures, led by 18 from Norbertas Giga and 16 from Christian Cunningham. Cunningham also had 11 rebounds (again, Richmond had 20, as a team) and four blocks in the win.
JSU heads to my neck of the woods on Wednesday to play Buffalo.
Southeast Missouri 95, Louisiana Tech 96 OT. Yeah, we’ve been talking about him a bit already, but Denzel Mahoney is showing he’s the real deal…25 points on 9-18 shooting, but the performance of the may have been by freshman Ledarrius Brewer, who scored 20 points and hit 4-8 from three-point range in a great performance off the bench.
It looked like in overtime that the Bulldogs might run away. Louisiana Tech scored the first seven of the extra period, but SEMO was able to battle back in a high-scoring OT period.
Oh, and Daniel Simmons can sky…
Daniel Simmons with the swat on a fast break. pic.twitter.com/zcqShvZUR9
— SEMO Basketball (@SEMOMBB) November 14, 2017
Vanderbilt 60, Belmont 69. This time, Belmont finished. Dylan Windler and Amanze Egekeze combine for 46 points, the Bruins hold the visiting Commodores to 35% shooting as the Bruins beat an SEC opponent for the second time in two years.
Egekeze got the team going early, as Belmont struggled to hit threes in the opening half. But Vanderbilt struggled with turnovers, couldn’t hit three’s themselves (and all but abandoned their inside game) as the Bruins took a five-point lead into the half.
This had shades of the Washington game just two days ago for Belmont: after by leading by 10 with under 8 minutes to go, Vanderbilt made a mini-run to cut the lead to six. Vandy had a huge advantage at the free-throw line, (until the final minutes) but simply couldn’t hit shots from deep which allowed Belmont to pack the lane defensively.
If you’re hoping Belmont’s schedule gets a little easier…it doesn’t. Belmont travels to Middle Tennessee State Thursday. Speaking of the Blue Raiders…
Middle Tennessee 72, Murray State 67. This is a tough loss in a very entertaining game. The Racers had no answer for Nick King who scored 31 points on 12-16 shooting in the win. After a strong first half, Jonathan Stark and Terrell Miller struggled to get things going in the second. Making matters worse, Miller fouled out despite not having a single foul at halftime.
It was a bit of an odd game: both offenses played well in the first half, but struggled in the second. Neither team could hit three’s, but both shot great at the free-throw line. Murray State was -9 on the glass, but scored 15 points second-chance points compared to four for MTSU. Little things like that. Case in point…
Murray State points per possession:
1st half: 1.158
2nd half: 0.581
— Jeff Bidwell (@AKAJeffBidwell) November 14, 2017
Depth has been an issue for Murray State in recent years, so I’m not exactly excited to see they only played eight against the Blue Raiders, and relied on Stark and freshman Ja Morant for 38 and 36 minutes, respectively. (That being said, Morant had a really good game.)
The rest of the slate
Eastern Kentucky 75, Mississippi 85. The Colonels definitely miss Asante Gist who was out with an ankle injury. Nick Mayo had another double-double and EKU shot 51% from the field, but Ole Miss hit 10 three’s in the win.
Austin Peay 49, Virginia 93. This game was pretty lopsided from the tip, so much so that Austin Peay’s basketball twitter account never mentioned the score — except for the ESPN bug on a couple of video highlights. Virginia is a very good team and these kinds of games happen on occasion.
Reinhardt 53, Tennessee State 92. Delano Spencer had 22 points in just 18 minutes on the floor against the non-DI team.
Tennessee Tech 61, TCU 100. With five minutes remaining, TCU was 15-24 (63%) from three-point range. Yeah…
Teams Trending Upwards: I couldn’t decide between Southeast Missouri, Belmont, or Jacksonville State here…so I’m choosing them all. SEMO and Jacksonville State performed well on the road and had great offensive performances. Belmont…well they beat an SEC team, which basically is an automatic qualifier for this list. Turns out, they’re still good this year.
Team Trending Downwards: No one, really. No real surprises, and while Austin Peay and TTU were handled easily, I’m not going to knock a team for losing on the road against NCAA-Tournament quality teams.
Player of the Night: A lot of good choices here but I’m going with JSU’s Christian Cunningham. A double-double in a dominant win and he had more than half the number of rebounds of the entire Richmond team. That doesn’t happen very often.
Wild Card Award: I’m dubbing this the ‘year of the freshman’ and we got two more quality performances out of youngsters tonight: Ledarrius Brewer for SEMO and Ja Morant for Murray State. Seriously, the amount of young talent this year seems ridicously high.
Tweets…and more tweets.
- This was tweeted during the second half of the Racers loss. They finished with just three made 3’s.
Murray State is just 2-of-10 from 3 for the game. They haven't made fewer than four 3's in any game since February 13, 2014.
— Jeff Bidwell (@AKAJeffBidwell) November 14, 2017
- Our poll of the night. I put EKU at No. 3 in my preseason power rankings, and nothing I’ve seen to this point has changed my mind on that. In fact, I’d be more likely to move them up at this point than down.
So we're starting to see EKU's offense take shape a bit here against Ole Miss.
So, poll question — do you think EKU is a top-3 team in the #OVC this season?
— OVC Ball (@OVCBall) November 13, 2017
- You know what was better than Belmont’s performance? Their uni’s! Seriously, look at these!
- And finally…the Justice League needs to rethink some of the newer members
So it's "Justice League" night in Murray…so we've got Superman and Batman and…is that a Tellytubby?
The Justice League has really lowered their standards. pic.twitter.com/SyqUrdfSUo
— OVC Ball (@OVCBall) November 14, 2017