The season is over for the Bisons after an interesting run through the GSC Tournament this past weekend. For a while, it looked like their tournament run was going to be quite short, but a remarkable stretch of ten minutes toward the end of the Valdosta State game, capped off by an amazing final five seconds, sent the Bisons into the second round for a rubber game against Henderson State.
Here are the stats for the game against VSU:
Reggie Bibb’s fall-away three at the buzzer allowed the Bisons to play one more day in Southaven, so I got to see them play a rubber game in the season series against rival Henderson State on Saturday. The Bisons were cruising early in that game, nailing 8 of their 14 three-point attempts in the first half. Matt Hall and Brandon Sims really had it going, and the Bisons went into halftime ahead by ten.
The second half started out fairly even, and HU was still up ten with about five minutes to play, when the Reddies began a huge run, closing out the Bisons 76-71 in the final minute. Below are the stats for this game:
Jesse Bynum had a season-high 11 points in this one, as he kept the Bisons in the game for much of the second half. HSU star Dee Dee Drake rode the bench for almost the entire game, as he fouled out in just six minutes of playing time.
Matt Hall had 31 points total, but he went cold in the second half. One player can only do so much, and no one (save Bynum) was there to pick up the slack. Rick Hamilton was MIA yet again (he wasn’t even with the team, so who knows what’s going on), and Sims and Andrepont couldn’t get their shots to fall late in the game.
Henderson State used their remarkable quickness to keep attacking the basket, making a number of both easy and difficult shots to get back in the game and pull out the win. Point guard Antoine Vinson was instrumental in getting the Reddies, scoring 23 points to lead them with Drake on the bench.
I think the official scorer messed something up in the box score I have, so either Larry Bray or Mike Phelps didn’t foul out. I can’t remember which, but I know Drake did foul out, and he’s only shown with one foul. Plus, it says that Marques Collins was the player who had 23 points, while I distinctly remember that it was Vinson. Either that, or the game announcer was reading the wrong names. I’ll try to sort all that out to get the individual stats correct before I release the final version.
Final Conference Tournament/Ranking Analysis
It looks like we had a shocker in the SIAC, which was about the worst possible situation for the GSC teams that were on the bubble. The ridiculous SIAC regular season is so long that their teams (for the most part) don’t play credible in-region, non-conference games. So, we had possibly overrated Benedict already a lock, and it was their job not to let any other SIAC teams in the NCAAs. Alas, they failed, allowing 16-15 Albany State into the tournament field.
The question is, do we know which team is out because Albany is in? My guess is that Christian Brothers would have made it instead. In fact, they probably should have made it over Valdosta State, since they had a superior overall and in-region record, and they had a more consistently good season. Really, Florida Gulf Coast should be the school that’s complaining over this one. I think they’re possibly the second-best team in the region, but apparently their 21-3 in-region record as an independent wasn’t enough for an at-large berth. Unless they’re on some sort of NCAA probation list (entirely possible), they should have been a lock.
As for the seeds, Montevallo is a deserving #1, but everything breaks down after that. Rollins may only be the third best team in the SSC, but they got the #2 seed. Benedict is an okay 3-seed, even though we have no idea how good they are, and Barry is a decent enough 4-seed. Henderson State as a five seems pretty high to me; I guess they got bonus points for winning the division and reaching the GSC tournament final game. Eckerd’s #6 seed is a bit low, since they could be the best team in the SSC, plus they won the conference tournament. They’ll face Benedict in what might be an unlucky first-round matchup for them. Valdosta State should not have been in the field, but they are the #7 seed. Then we have fluke SIAC champ Albany State as the #8 seed, which should be a good way to reward Montevallo for a solid GSC run.
I’m going to hold out on another stat release until I feel like I’ve got a clean box score from the HU-HSU game. The HU side seems to be correct, but something is wrong with HSU’s side. Hopefully they’ll get all that straight before the NCAA tourney starts.