So it seems that I’ve fallen behind on my preview-review sequence. I suppose the fact that I didn’t predict any of the games from Thursday won’t stop me from reviewing them, though.
Harding 70, Arkansas Tech 68
Are the Bisons finally locking down? For the second game in a row, HU held an opponent to an offensive rating under 91. The only problem is that our offense hasn’t been much better. Let’s start with the keys:
|0.4||Predicted net efficiency|
|3.6||Actual net efficiency|
For once, the Bisons actually had trouble holding on to the ball in comparison to their opponents. The team was out-rebounded again, although not by much. Consequently, there also was not a big edge for HU in shooting, but it was enough to win the game. To be fair, turnovers were a problem for both teams, and it was encouraging that ATU didn’t grab 39% or more of their available offensive rebounds (as the last 8 HU opponents had).
Lonnie Smith’s shot was on, and he rained down six of seven threes en route to a 25-point performance. Patrick Andrepont had his first good game in a while, although his shot still didn’t fall as often as you’d like (13 points on 6-of-14 shooting, plus 11 rebounds). Alassane Savadogo had his third good game in his last four tries, with 14 points and 9 rebounds, including 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. Ceso Sprewell was quiet, but solid, with 7 points and 4 rebounds.
Reggie Bibb and Brandon Sims again missed too many shots (they made 3 of 13 combined), and this was the fifth poor shooting performance in a row for Brandon. I know Sims can shoot, but too many of those have been bad shots taken either a) with a man in his face or b) too soon after we got the ball down the court. Let’s hope he can return to form soon, and that this is a side effect of his injury. As for Bibb, I’d still rather have him if it’s a choice between him and Steven Barnett, who had five turnovers (more than negating any other offensive or defensive value he had) in 15 minutes on the floor.
Next up for the Bisons are the hated Henderson State Reddies, whose roster is so interesting that it probably warrants a separate post either late tonight or tomorrow. Arkansas Tech, now 1-6 in GSC play, can pencil in a loss for their next game, which is tomorrow at Delta State.
Southern Arkansas 60, Central Arkansas 57
Either the defenses came to play in this game, or the offense was just horrific. SAU won the game despite an 82.3 offensive rating (league average in conference play is 98.6), since UCA’s was just 78.4. The score was 25-12 SAU at the half, which tells you almost all you need to know about this boring-yet-still-exciting-since-it-was-close game. Cory Green basically won the game at the free-throw line for SAU, making 17 of 18 shots from the stripe. By himself, he made 4 more free throws than the Bears even attempted. Brandon Bealer added 17 for the Muleriders, and Kenny Langhorne had 10 rebounds. LeMar Phillips had 19 points and 7 boards for UCA. I hesitate to mention Joey Cortez’ positive line of 14 points and 8 rebounds because his 7 turnovers were so devastating to his team. UCA’s first half is now done, and they sit at 5-3. SAU will try to reach .500 in conference play tomorrow night at Christian Brothers.
Arkansas-Monticello 71, Christian Brothers 66
The Bucs gave a better effort than their embarrassing 44-point loss to Delta State, but it still wasn’t enough to top a solid UAM team. Brandon Mayweather stepped up with a huge game for the Weevils, making 11 of 15 shots to end up with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Billy McDaniel added 19, and J.B. Williams had 13 for UAM. Nate Newell had yet another poor shooting game, hitting just 2-of-10 from the field for 7 points, despite playing the entire game. Kevin Weybright had 24 for Christian Brothers, which will host SAU in a battle of 3-4 teams tomorrow night. UAM will be looking for its fifth conference win tomorrow at OBU.
Delta State 80, Ouachita Baptist 60
This was yet another lopsided victory for the Statesmen, who could legitimately go undefeated in the GSC this year. I didn’t think they were this good at the beginning of the year, but they are running on all cylinders right now. Jasper Johnson, who is without a doubt the league’s best player, scored 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting (7-7 at the line), and he topped that off with 15 rebounds. It was the first 30-15 performance of the season for this division, and it may be the last unless he does it again. Never mind that Jeremy Richardson had 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting or that Victor Brown added 13 and 7 from the post. Point guard Travis DeGroot was awful (4 fouls and 7 turnovers in 9 minutes), but it didn’t matter. OBU spread out their scoring, but terrible shooting from Lucky Butler and Brandon Dawson did the Tigers in (not to mention their defense).
Tomorrow’s games will wrap up the first half of the conference season. I hope everyone who’s planning on attending the HSU game in Searcy has their tickets. It should be a fun one.