Christian Brothers 70, Harding 68
This just in: the Bisons have a slight problem. By “slight,” of course I mean that the team may not win another conference game if they don’t correct said problem. Entering Thursday’s game, which was a 70-68 loss at Christian Brothers, Harding and CBU were the two worst-rebounding teams in the conference, although it was very close. The Bisons had been outrebounded by 26.2% in their first four conference games, while the Bucs were 26.6% behind their opponents. That difference didn’t seem to matter in this game, which Christian Brothers dominated on the glass.
Here are the keys for this game:
|-2.1||Predicted net efficiency|
|-1.9||Actual net efficiency|
As usual, the Bisons did a good job holding on to the ball and forcing turnovers. As usual, the Bisons were fairly close to their opponent in shooting. Also, painfully as usual, the Bisons were outmuscled on the boards. By the worst rebounding team in the conference. This is a problem.
Amazingly, we have some solid rebounders. Two of the conference’s five best are on our team: Alassane Savadogo is #3 with a rebound rate of 19.2%, and Ceso Sprewell is #5 at 17.7%. After that, Thies and Bynum are average rebounders for their size (ranked #34 and #23, respectively, out of 78), and Brandon Sims and Patrick Andrepont are above the league average rate. For his size, Lonnie Smith is a good rebounder, and Reggie Bibb, while almost a liability, is serviceable with respect to pulling down rebounds.
So what’s wrong? I’m stumped, but everyone’s rebound rate is dropping. Sims’ injury has kept him from being effective on the glass. He has just one game since the new year where he beat his season average for rebound rate (against Delta State on 1/7). As for the rest, I’m not sure what’s going on. Clearly, though, this has to be a focus for this team if they are to win any more games.
As for this game, Ceso Sprewell did his part, pulling down 13 rebounds and adding 11 points. Lonnie Smith had 23 points on a good shooting night. Thies contributed 11 of his own in a rare offensive outburst. So what was our problem? Savadogo didn’t rebound (1 in just 14 minutes as he picked up 4 fouls). Sims and Andrepont shot a combined 5-of-14 from the field and had no rebounds in 40 total minutes. Reggie Bibb was just 3-of-7, and Cole Kee didn’t make a shot from the field. Mainly though, it was the rebounding. Central Baptist, way back on December 8th, was the last team the Bisons outrebounded. Every team since has pulled down at least 39% of available offensive rebounds (compared to a league average of 34%), with the last four all over 45%.
Christian Brothers got monster performances from Kevin Weybright and Nick Kohs, who had 39 points and 23 rebounds between them. Kohs even had 7 assists, which is unheard of for a big man in this league. No one else really had a good game for the Bucs, and Sam Bradley had 6 alarming turnovers.
The Bisons will try to rebound on Monday against Ouachita Baptist (pun very much intended), yet another theoretically poor rebounding opponent.
Here’s a look at the rest of the games around the GSC:
Delta State 64, Central Arkansas 58
Jasper Johnson and Jeremy Richardson controlled yet another GSC game, combining for 35 points and 19 rebounds in this low-scoring affair. Darryl Jones and Joey Cortez had 15 and 13 points for UCA, but the Bears couldn’t handle the inside game of the Statesmen. For the near future, I will probably be predicting a win every time out for DSU. They are nearly unstoppable.
Arkansas-Monticello 53, Southern Arkansas 50
This one was a lot closer than I expected, but SAU has been playing well of late. UAM survived a dreadful performance from coach’s son Nate Newell. Newell is on sometimes, but in games like this, when his shot is not falling, he really seems to go out of his way to help his team lose the game. He was 2-of-10 from the field, 1-of-4 from outside, and he even missed 2 of 5 free throws, which is saying a lot for the top shooter from the line in the conference. On top of that he turned the ball over a staggering 8 times for a game score of -5.2. I’m not sure if that’s the lowest I’ve seen this year, but it has to be close. As cold as Newell was, SAU was colder, with an atrocious 40.6% true shooting percentage. Even though they forced a lot of UAM turnovers, that was just too cold a night to pull out a win.
Henderson State 60, Ouachita Baptist 48
As I’ve said before, Henderson State can play when they want to. The most lopsided GSC game of the night came in the conference’s biggest rivalry, between Arkadelphia’s across-the-street neighbor schools. I thought OBU could win this one, but they weren’t able to hit shots or play any defense inside. The Tigers forced a few turnovers, but that was about it. Were it not for the slow pace, this game could have been ugly for OBU. Hopefully this will carry over into Monday’s game at Harding. Both teams could really use a win, so it should be interesting to watch.
Computer: 3-1 (14-10 overall)
Me: 2-2 (14-10 overall)
Team with higher net efficiency entering the game: 3-1 (17-7 overall)
Team with better record: 2-2 (13-11 overall)
Home team: 2-2 (11-13 overall)