Delta State was nationally ranked and on a nine-game win streak heading into this game in Searcy, but that doesn’t make last night’s home loss (78-65) easy to digest. The reality is that DSU (now 12-2) has beaten up on lesser teams so far this season and, for the most part, only squeaked by some of the weaker South Region teams. Recently their play has been improving, and a 20-point win over OBU should have been a signal, but I was really expecting the Bisons to pull this one out. They even led at halftime, 37-35.
Here are some stats:
Hall had a good game, and Sims and Andrepont filled in with some good secondary scoring, but it looks like the Bison guards were pressured into a mess of turnovers (4 for Andrepont, 5 for Barnett, 4 for Morgan), while the interior guys were demolished on the glass. Otherwise, the Bisons played fairly efficient offense, though the defense was suspect.
This really looked like a typical Delta State team, which was not the impression I had of them coming into this game. They had some heavy offseason losses but still put together a physically dominating team and just killed the Bisons, especially in the second half. I’m not sure what else HU can do to prevent this agaisnt bigger and stronger teams, but they won’t be advancing past the first round in the conference tourney with this effort.
Turnovers aside, the offensive effort was impressive, and I’m hoping the Bisons will build on this early setback and figure out how to handle other teams like DSU in the future.
Elsewhere in the GSC
The Christian Brothers offense coasted in a home 74-61 win over Arkansas Tech. Kevin Weybright battled turnover issues, but an 11-15 (5-6 3pt) night gave him 27 points for the Bucs. Tech was actually not bad offensively, but their defense totally broke down in what was actually a pretty slow game (pace of 55.2). This one was actually high scoring given the pace.
Henderson State won an ugly 56-48 contest at Southern Arkansas, relying on their defense to hold SAU to a 79.4 offensive rating. Ryan Price’s 15 points led the way on the offensive end, while Dee Dee Drake pulled down 11 boards to lead the effort on the other end. Brandon Williams led the otherwise dismal SAU shooting effort with 18 points.
UAM pulled out a 18-77 win in a home shootout with Ouachita Baptist. Both teams crested 125 in their offensive rating, leaving little room for defense, though it was not a fast game. Nate Newell had a typical 8-for-21 shooting performance but made 14-of-16 free throws to reach 32 points. Each team had multiple 20-point scorers, with JB Williams pulling out a performance reminiscent of last winter to score 24 for the Weevils. Jaranimo Marks led the Tigers with 27, while Memo Rodriguez finished with 21.
Delta State, Christian Brothers, and Henderson State have now asserted themselves as division contenders with their 2-0 starts, while UAM and Harding are tied for fourth place at 1-1. Tech, SAU, and OBU are 0-2.