Sunday, January 5, 2014

SoCon Review- 1/4

Georgia Southern 80, Samford 78

Key Stat: Georgia Southern 38 free throw attempts. The Eagles took 38 free throws compared to 24 for Samford. That made all the difference in a two point Eagles win. They only made 26 free throws and the Bulldogs made 18, but the 38 free throws made a huge difference for Georgia Southern.

Player of the Game: Jelani Hewitt, Georgia Southern. He scored 23 points on 6 of 11 shooting and knocked down all six of his free throws. He came up with three rebounds, two assists, and committed seven turnovers, which were costly, but there was no one else that rose to Hewitt's level in this one.

What It All Means: Georgia Southern starts off 1-0 in SoCon play with a very important home win. They are definitely a contender for a bye spot and it was a big help to get a win over another team that thinks they are a contender for one of those spots. They have a whole week off before they host Western Carolina and get a chance to show off whether or not they are true SoCon contenders. Samford drops to 0-2 in SoCon play, and there is a hint of trouble for the Bulldogs. Samford goes to Chattanooga next Thursday in a game that will be critical to the Bulldogs chances of getting back into the bye race. They have to start winning games at some point. Tim Williams continues to look good, but the rest of the team is struggling.

Western Carolina 74, Elon 62

Key Stat: Elon 23 turnovers. The Phoenix had 23 turnovers in this one and simply could not keep up because of it. This is the second straight game the Catamounts forced turnovers and that was the key to victory.

Player of the Game: Trey Sumler, Western Carolina. Sumler scored 21 points, making both of his threes and 3 of 4 free throws. He also had six assists and four rebounds. Sumler had a very solid performance and was the key to the Catamounts winning this one.

What It All Means: Elon drops to 0-1 in SoCon play. This is not good for the Phoenix. This was a game they thought they could win against another SoCon contender. The Phoenix are looking a bit like a SoCon pretende at this point. The good news for Elon is that they host Appalachian State and The Citadel before going to Davidson. They should be able to get well in those games and be in good shape heading to Davidson. Western Carolina improved to 2-0 in SoCon play, and looks like they may be the co-favorites with Davidson right now. They beat two good teams- UNCG and Elon. That's impressive. Now they go to Georgia Southern next weekend, and that will tell us if they can take their hot game on the road.

Chattanooga 72, Furman 63

Key Stat: Chattanooga 23 offensive rebounds. The Mocs shot under 40% from the floor, but collected 23 offensive rebounds. This helped to give them opportunities to score despite their poor shooting performance. That was the reason they wee able to score enough points to win the game.

Player of the Game: Z Mason, Chattanooga. It's a real toss up between Mason and Casey Jones. Jones collected 13 rebounds to go along with 13 points and eight assists. Mason scored 20 points with thirteen rebounds and came up with six blocks. Mason came up with seven offensive rebounds. Mason also made two threes, both of which were important.
What It All Means: Furman drops to 0-1 in SoCon play. The Paladins are an OK team, but clearly still have steps that need to be made to be a real SoCon contender. I'd be surprised if they are a true contender for a bye spot. They go to UNCG and host Davidson in their next two games. This 0-1 start could quickly turn to 0-3. It would help Niko Medved's squad if he could steal one of those. The Mocs are 1-0. They play at The Citadel on Monday night. The Moc have suddenly won three straight, and are starting to get the look of a team that could get a bye in the SoCon. They won their first road game of the Will Wade era. A win at The Citadel on Monday night would be another step for these Mocs to take.

Davidson 78, Wofford 63

Key Stat: Karl Cochran 2 of 11 shooting. Cochran can shoot the Terriers right out of a game sometimes. He made 10 of 17 at Samford on Thursday, but only 2 of 11 against Davidson. That will consistently hurt the Terriers when he is off on his shooting. When he is shooting well, the Terriers are very difficult out, but the Wildcats shut him down tonight.

Player of the Game: DeMon Brooks, Davidson. Brooks had a career night. He scored 28 points on 12 of 16 shooting and had 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Brooks had one of his best nights (if not his best night) as a Wildcat. He was tremendous. He played like the SoCon Player of the Year. If he's going to play like that, the Wildcats will be almost unbeatable in SoCon play.

What It All Means: For at least this one night, Davidson looked 100% like the SoCon favorite. To take apart Wofford like that on the road is impressive. If the Wildcats play like that, they will win nearly every SoCon game they play this year. The offense looks much better with Brooks back in the lineup. Wofford dropped to 1-1 in SoCon play. They did not show up in this one. They need to put this one behind them and try to move forward. Davidson goes to Furman and hosts Appalachian State next week before hosting Elon the following week. The Wildcats should get to 3-0 heading into that Elon game. Will they maintain focus and consistency? We'll see.

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