Thursday, January 9, 2014

SoCon In Review- 1/9/14

UNCG 66, Appalachian State 60

Key Stat: Appalachian State 34.5% from the field. The Spartans turned it over 21 times, which should have been more than enough for the Mountaineers to win this one. But in the end, the Spartans wound up winning by six. That was because the Mountaineers couldn't shoot the ball from the floor at all. Tevin Baskin went 4 of 13, Tab Hamilton 6 of 15 and Mike Neal 1 of 7. That simply wasn't good enough for the Mountaineers.

Player of the Game: Kyle Cain. He scored 12 points while collecting 14 rebounds. He made 6 of 11 shots from the floor. Fourteen rebounds is a huge game. The 6-7 junior stepped up in a big way in this one that the Spartans really needed to have.

What It All Means: The Spartans are now 2-1 in SoCon play and have a day off before battling The Citadel at home. They have won back-to-back games now. This is a team that can contend in the SoCon. They did not look great against the Mountaineers, but they came up with the win, and that was very important in this one. The Mountaineers still have not won a D1 game. They go to Davidson this weekend. The Mountaineers are just 0-2 in SoCon play, and Jay Canty again showed that he is a very solid player, scoring 15 points and six rebounds. Canty will guide them to some SoCon wins eventually. When that will be is the only question.

Wofford 79, The Citadel 75 (OT)

Key Stat: The Citadel 9 of 19 from the free throw line. In a game that went to overtime, the Bulldogs shot under 50% from the free throw line. The best free throw shooting team in the SoCon couldn't make a big free throw in this one. They made 56% from the floor, 67% from three point range and under 50% from the free throw line. The Bulldogs just can't buy a win right now.

Player of the Game: Lee Skinner. If Skinner is going to play like that, the Terriers are going to be nearly impossible to beat. He scored 27 points on 11 of 17 shooting from the floor. He collected twelve rebounds. He also had four assists and a block. If the 6-6 big man is going to be a presence like that, the Terriers are going to win a ton of SoCon games.

What It All Means: The Bulldogs nearly beat the Mocs and the Terriers in the last two games, but haven't made enough big plays at the end of games to come up with a win yet. The Citadel is now 0-2 in SoCon play. They need to learn to win. If they ever win a close game, they will probably string together a series of them. This team is close. Unfortunately for them, their next two games are at Elon and at UNCG. The Terriers are up to 2-1 in SoCon play now. Their next two games are against Chattanooga, the first in the Scenic City. The Terriers have been reliant on Cochran and Collins but tonight they shot just 9 of 25 for 26 total points. Cochran collected seven rebounds and six assists despite not shooting well. Skinner's performance is huge for the Terriers chances to win the SoCon.

Davidson 73, Furman 56

Key Stat: Furman 21 turnovers. The Paladins committed too many turnovers. You are not going to beat one of the best teams in the SoCon by committing 21 turnovers. Eleven of them came in the second half, while the Wilcats busted the game open.

Player of the Game: DeMon Brooks. Czerapowicz or Brooks? Hmmm...I'll take the guy who collected nine rebounds and three blocks. That would be Brooks. Yes, Czerapowicz collected 21 points. Brooks knocked down 2 of 3 from three point range, came up with eighteen points, and those rebounds and blocks. He deserves the Player of the Game yet again.

What It All Means: Furman is now 0-3 in SoCon play, with two of those games coming at home. Now, they head on the road to take on Samford, Georgia Southern and The Citadel. Those may be slightly easier games. This is a really dangerous time for Niko Medved in his first year. He risks losing his team if they can't win a game soon. The Wildcats are now 2-0 in SoCon play. They have won two road games to start things off. The time is coming when we'll find out more about what this team is made of, but they have not been seriously challenged in two road SoCon games. That's a really good sign for the Wildcats.

Chattanooga 90, Samford 81

Key Stat: Mocs 31 of 41 from the free throw line. The Mocs shot a full twenty more free throws than the Bulldogs in this one, and wound up making 31 of them, which is the reason the Mocs were able to hold on. After jumping out to a 19 point first half lead, the Bulldogs were never able to make it truly close because the Mocs kept right on knocking down their free throws. Gee McGhee went 7 of 10, Rico White went 12 of 12 and Z Mason went 11 of 14. They made 30 of 36, good for 83.3% from the line. The rest of the team only went 1 of 5.

Player of the Game: Rico White. White scored 28 points, 6 of 10 from the field and 4 of 6 from three point range. He also had four assists. It was his season high in points. He is a scorer and he has played very well since he came back from injury. His 28 points off the bench were the difference in this one.

What It All Means: Samford dropped to 0-3 in SoCon play. It is a critical game for the Bulldogs against the Paladins on Saturday. If either team wants to get anywhere close to a bye, they need to win that game. The Bulldogs were expected to get a bye preseason. Now is the time to start winning. They played OK in the second half, but dug too big of a hole in the first half. The Mocs are now 3-0 in SoCon play with Wofford coming to town on Saturday evening. The Mocs have the best record in the SoCon and they played really well in the first half. The second half was mediocre. The Mocs are looking like a team that can at least contend for a bye. They need to win these games early. They have not beaten a team that has won a SoCon game yet. Their game against Wofford on Saturday will be a day to try to validate themselves.

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