It wasn’t exactly the most exciting performance, but Matt Hall’s 16-of-17 shooting at the free throw line helped him get to 27 points for the game. No other Bison scored in double figures, and the team only had 65 points altogether in a relatively slow-paced game.
You can find the story and the regular box score over at the official HU site, and here are some additional stats:
The Bisons’ shooting efficiency was the key to this game. Hall’s contribution was obviously huge, with all of those free-throws turning an otherwise pedestrian 5-for-9 performance into a fantastic game. The rest of the team as a whole was below average for the game, but it didn’t matter. Their 27% offensive rebounding performance was uninspiring, and they struggled to shoot outside or get to the line themselves. Aside from Hall, that’s not what you want to see against a bottom-feeding team like Southern Arkansas, but a win is a win.
Mori Turpin led the Muleriders with 17 points, but SAU turned the ball over too much and couldn’t hit enough shots to stay with the Bisons. They rebounded well but couldn’t do enough other things right.
Matt Hall continued to climb the GSC leaderboards with this strong game. You can see them all on the individual stat page or in the latest stat file, but here are the highlights: Hall is now seventh in offensive efficiency, seventh in SUPER, and still second in efficiency contribution, which is my way of leveling the playing field for players on poor teams.
A statistical aside:
Hall’s EC of 4.92 means that the Bisons would be scoring almost 5 fewer points per 100 possessions without him. To put that in perspective using the pythagorean model to project wins, Hall’s contribution is worth about two wins, without even taking into account the fact that his playing time would be filled by players who are far worse than team-average in efficiency.
One of the drawbacks of using efficiency contribution (that’s my own name, so it may exist elsewhere in other forms) is that it may give too much credit to players who stand out above the rest of their team. Since basketball is 5-on-5 and players feed off of one another, it’s tough to tell if the team makes a player good or vice versa. For example, is CBU’s Justin Ray (5th in the conference in efficiency) a legitimately good shooter and ballhandler, or is he that good because opponents feel they have to focus on Weybright and Kohs? How would he look if he played for Arkansas Tech? These questions are difficult to answer decisively, but that’s part of what makes this analysis so interesting.
Elsewhere in the GSC
Delta State continued their usual highly-efficient, physical beating of the lower GSC West teams, blitzing past Arkansas Tech 90-77. They could probably have played better defense (104.4 rating), but if their offense is for real, I underestimated them at the start of the year. DSU is 5-1 and now alone in second place behind Henderson State. ATU’s Terrance Whiters filled up the scoreboard with 27 points and 8 steals, but his missed shots and turnovers brought that performance back down to earth from the standpoint of actually helping his team. He’s almost getting as bad as Nate Newell.
The reason DSU is alone in second is because Christian Brothers inexplicably lost at UAM, and it really wasn’t even that close. The Weevils held CBU to 49 points, making this the second sub-50 scoring output for the Bucs in two weeks. Even worse for the Bucs is that I would be kind saying that UAM’s defense doesn’t quite stack up to the Henderson State defense that stifled them three games before. UAM has been quite clearly the league’s worst defensive team so far (114.0 schedule-adjusted rating entering the game), so this is embarrassing for Christian Brothers, whom I considered the top team in the division just a few weeks ago. I feel obligated to note that our boy Nate made 5 of his 14 shots and scored 19, placing second to the real best player on the Weevils (Torre Doty) in scoring, at least for one game.
Another upset took place in Arkadelphia, where OBU took out their previously-undefeated across-the-street rival, the HSU Reddies. Jaranimo Marks did the best job anyone has done recently of penetrating the Henderson State defense, scoring 24 points due in large part to his trips to the free-throw line. HSU remained balanced and resilient, just not resilient enough to pull out a 19-point comeback. Henderson State is 5-1, so the league’s elder statesmen (HSU in age, and DSU in name) are also the league leaders.***
The Bisons will travel to Memphis and hope to knock off a struggling Christian Brothers team. Ouachita Baptist will host Arkansas Tech, which is just a few games away from mathematical elimination already. Delta State will bring in Henderson State to battle for first place, and SAU will host Arkansas-Monticello.
In website news, I am working on a stat glossary page that will hopefully make some sense out of all these acronyms I’ve been using. I’ve explained a lot of them, but probably not all of them, so it would make sense to put everything in one place. So, that’s on the way.
***[UPDATE: I’m trying very hard now to remove my foot from my mouth. I swapped the teams when I put in the scores for the HSU-OBU game, so initially I thought Henderson State held off a gritty OBU performance. While it was still a gritty OBU performance, it was actually gritty enough to win. I have changed the summary I wrote above to reflect this. Hat tip to ses21643 for only allowing me to look foolish for a few hours, at least on this subject.]