#9 Delta State 90, Harding 78
The Bisons went on an impressive run to close the game after Delta State sprinted to a 29-point lead earlier in the second half. It was only marginally close in the end, though, and the final score doesn’t indicate how well the Statesmen played for most of the game. Still, let’s look at the keys and figure out what the Bisons did right in playing well against such a good team.
|-13.4||Predicted net efficiency|
|-10.5||Actual net efficiency|
A lot of things are impressive about these numbers, even though the Bisons lost the game. First, they rebounded almost as well as the Statesmen, which came into the game as the second-best rebounding team in the division. Second, HU shot better (51.9 TS%) than the typical DSU opponent has during the conference season. Turnovers were a problem, but I get the impression that the players were forcing things somewhat while DSU was out to a huge lead. The efficiency numbers (97.3 on offense and 107.8 on defense) really were not terrible for facing Delta State. All in all, I’d have to say this was an impressive defeat, as strange as it sounds, given that the team is now 3-6 in conference play.
From an individual perspective, Alassane Savadogo’s team-leading 16 points in 18 minutes (before fouling out) were extremely impressive. I can understand why he and Jacob Thies both fouled out against DSU’s very tough inside game. That really is the only way to stop them. Also impressive is the fact that freshman PG Steven Barnett started the game and played more minutes than Reggie Bibb. This may have seemed like a poor idea a month ago, but Barnett has been playing moderately well lately (and Bibb has played equally poorly). If he can learn not to turn the ball over (he had 4 TOs in this game), he will be an excellent guard in this conference.
As for everyone else, Lonnie Smith chipped in 15 points, and Patrick Andrepont had 11. Ceso Sprewell had another quiet game with just 7 points and 4 rebounds, although he remains the second-most efficient player on the team. Perhaps the Champion Baptist game today can help wake him up offensively (he did have five steals on the other end).
Delta State was led by (of course) Jasper Johnson, the conference’s best player by far. His 23 points and 8 rebounds were close to his average. The Statesmen also had good contributions from Jeremy Richardson (21 points) and Victor Brown (14 points, 10 rebounds).
Other conference games this week:
Arkansas-Monticello 74, Arkansas Tech 64
Christian Brothers 82, Central Arkansas 79
Delta State 67, Henderson State 63
Ouachita Baptist 73, Southern Arkansas 67
Arkansas-Monticello 56, Henderson State 54
Arkansas Tech 81, Southern Arkansas 77 (2OT)
Central Arkansas 77, Ouachita Baptist 70
Here are the conference standings coming into Monday’s next batch of conference games: