This impressive win over the surging OBU Tigers lifts the Bisons (again) into a three-way tie for third place in the division at 6-4. Matt Hall made good from the free throw line, hitting 14 of his 16 attempts from there, on his way to scoring 27 points in the game. He also had 13 rebounds, making for a very impressive effort in all aspects of the game.
The Tigers committed an egregious 4,000 fouls, getting called on merely 28 of them (although, seriously, the Bisons probably did their share of dirty work underneath as well). No Tiger fouled out of the game, but five of the Ouachita players finished with four fouls.
Rick Hamilton, Brandon Sims, and Reggie Bibb each scored in double figures, and the Bisons improved dramatically in their ballhandling for this game, turning the ball over just 14 times. All this was secondary, though, to the Bisons’ efforts at the charity stripe. Their practice paid off in a game like this, where the team made 80% of its free throws in a clear boost to the team’s efficiency. Free throw shooting is the easiest way to boost your offensive efficiency, since even the worst teams typically make about 65% (or a 130.0 offensive rating), and this game was a prime example of how that works.
Jaranimo Marks and Memo Rodriguez each had 17 to lead the Tigers, whose GSC winning streak has now come to a close. OBU is tied with Harding and Christian Brothers in third place at 6-4, one game behind Delta State and three behind the impressive Henderson State Reddies, who beat CBU on a last-minute three-point play in Memphis. In other GSC games, Arkansas Tech fell to 0-10, losing 71-62 at Southern Arkansas, while Delta State won at UAM. The top five teams are probably set, with UAM and SAU sitting at 3-7, three games back of fifth place, but it will be interesting to see who gets which seed among the teams that make it.
Third place will be especially important, since each division has a clearly dominant team (Montevallo in the East). Harding is in a favorable spot and could clinch that third position by going 3-1 in the four remaining games. Beating SAU and ATU hopefully will not be a problem, and a win over Christian Brothers would lock up that spot, even if the same three teams remain tied (HU would be 3-1 in games against the other two tied teams). A loss to CBU would complicate things a bit more, yet a 4-0 finish still might not be enough to avoid the problem and finish second. Second-place DSU faces the three worst teams in the division plus CBU in their final four games, so they would have to lose twice in order for Harding to jump them in the standings (DSU would win the tiebreaker, since they beat HU twice). Still, both OBU and CBU have tougher roads ahead than Harding, so none of this tiebreaker talk may matter.
That was a mouthful, but this much is clear: Christian Brothers and OBU will face off on Thursday in what is obviously an important game in figuring out the placement of the tournament teams. Harding will host Arkansas Tech and hopefully not become the first Wonder Boy victim of the conference season. Delta State will face SAU, while Henderson State visits UAM.
I’ll have the stats and leaderboards up for you tomorrow, since I forgot to upload the most updated calculation file while I was at work last week. I’d rather not do all that work over again, so the stats will probably be up around lunchtime tomorrow, assuming I get a few spare minutes in the morning. I’m out to play some disc golf this afternoon, so I won’t have the chance to catch myself up here.