Before the game, I was reading some of the discussion in this facebook group, trying to come up with a good response for why Rhodes Rowdies spend so much of their time and energy to support the Bisons (in their words, a mediocre D-II team). I don’t really feel the need to defend myself for supporting an activity that I find enjoyable, but I might spend some time deconstructing that later. For now, there are more pressing basketball matters.
For starters, Arkansas-Monticello has a good basketball team. I can’t explain some of their losses (how did they lose to Arkansas Baptist?) because this is a team that can and should win every GSC game against teams not named Delta State. Billy McDaniel was unstoppable inside, and J.B. Williams is a quick, efficient point guard. I have more colorful terms for Nate Newell, and I should probably leave that alone. Let’s just say that he has two skills: shooting and drawing fouls. Among the weaker aspects of his game are clean play, dribbling, concentration, and being a reasonable human being. He got what he deserved with a technical foul and a long stint on the bench in the second half.
The Bisons had trouble making the smart play the entire game. As UAM was busy making the extra pass and taking easy shots, Harding was content to fire away with low-percentage shots, even as the Weevils’ post players were falling into foul trouble. It’s frustrating to watch a team that saves solid effort and smart play for the times when they’re down 20 with a minute to play. They looked completely lost on offense and were often not focused enough on the other end.
I’ll have more on this one after the stats are posted.
Stats have been posted, and here are my thoughts, starting with the keys:
|Eff||95.9||131.4||-35.5||Actual net efficiency|
|-36.7||Predicted net efficiency|
It’s pretty clear looking at this group of stats that defense was the overwhelming problem for the Bisons. I have added offensive efficiency to the list of keys as a reference point. UAM’s offense was completely unstoppable. A 131 offensive rating is very, very efficient.
The low point for the Bisons had to be outside shooting, where only 6 of 30 attempts fell. Lonnie was just 2-of-11, Cole Kee was 1-of-8, and Patrick Andrepont was 2-of-7. Alassane Savadogo was effective inside once again, but he didn’t see as many touches as he had in recent games. He has now scored in double figures for five straight conference games. Steven Barnett’s 6 turnovers certainly didn’t help matters, although turnovers and rebounding ended up pretty much being a wash. The fact that rebounding was not a big factor is a testament to the Bisons’ improved effort in that regard, especially considering that the Weevils are the second-best rebounding team in the division. Like I said, shooting was the difference: good shooting for UAM, and poor shooting for the Bisons.
This loss puts Harding in a very tough spot looking at the GSC playoff picture. At the very least, they will need 8 conference wins to make it, which would require a 5-1 finish. It’s possible, but things are really going to have to break their way, given the way they’ve been playing. It’s a shame that the Lady Bisons probably won’t make it either, even though they have improved tremendously over the course of the season.
Elsewhere around the GSC, here are your scores:
Henderson State 60, Southern Arkansas 45 (Spooner 17 pts, 8 reb)
Christian Brothers 82, Ouachita Baptist 68 (Weybright 34 pts)
Central Arkansas 68, Arkansas Tech 61 (Rone Smith 14 pts, 14 reb)
Updated Conference Standings (with efficiency numbers to put them in perspective):