Thursday, January 23, 2014

SoCon Thursday- 1/23/14

Chattanooga 84, Elon 63

Key Stat: Rebounds 35-25, Mocs. The Mocs outrebounded the Phoenix by ten. Elon was a significantly bigger team than the Mocs, but on this night, the Mocs were the more aggressive team on the glass and that was a huge difference as the Mocs came up with the win.

Player of the Game: Z Mason. Mason made 11 of 16 from the floor and two of three from three point range. He scored 27 points and had 11 rebounds. He did have just one block. But he put the Mocs on his back and carried them. Mason was better than Lucas Troutman (10 points and four rebounds) on this night.

What It Means: The Phoenix have lost two SoCon games now and are two games back of the Mocs in the loss column, and do not get a rematch at home. Therefore, they lose the tiebreaker to the Mocs. So they are three games behind the Mocs in reality. The Phoenix jumped out to an early lead, but could not hold on and rapidly fell behind. The Mocs should have silenced any doubters tonight. They were up 25 with ten minutes left in the game against the preseason favorite. The Mocs have to not let it go to their head. The Mocs need to show up for UNCG on Saturday. A win there would put them in firm control of the bye and have another shot going to Davidson next Thursday night.

Wofford 74, Georgia Southern 64

Key Stat: Terriers 50% from the floor. No one is going to mistake the Terriers for a good shooting team, but they were on this night. They made half of their shots from the floor. If this Terriers team is going to shoot that well, they are going to be extraordinarily diffiuclt to beat from this point forward, regardless of opponent.

Player of the Game: Karl Cochran. Look- I've been critical of Cochran over the last year or so. He takes a lot of shots, but doesn't make a ton of them. He's a volume shooter, and doesn't score in a high enough volume. Tonight he shot 50% from the floor and scored 25 points, to go along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

What It Means: The Terriers now are 4-3 in SoCon play. They have had two critical wins this week against Western Carolina and Georgia Southern. They are in good position in the bye race right now. They trail Chattanooga by three games and the tiebreaker, so there is plenty of ground to make up to win the SoCon, but any team with a bye has a shot in Asheville. The Terriers have a good shot at getting a bye. The Eagles have three SoCon losses as well, and are 2-3. Since losing by one to Western Carolina, they won in overtime against Furman, lost to Appalachian State and lost to Wofford. Things have not been good over the last three games. The good start is starting to slip away from the Eagles. They go to Davidson on Saturday. They could really use a win.

Davidson 82, Western Carolina 77

Key Stat: Wildcats 67.3 eFG%. When you turn the ball over 22 times and force only six turnovers, you better shoot the ball lights out to win. The Wildcats made 10 of 17 from three and 28 of 49 overall from the floor. When you shoot the ball that welll, you can overcome a lot of other flaws in the game.

Player of the Game: Chris Czerapowicz. Czerapowicz made 7 of 11 from the floor, scored 19 points and came up with six rebounds. He made 2 of 4 from long range. He has always been a streaky shooter that can really help the Wildcats when he is hot. He was very hot tonight. He was a difference maker for Davidson.

What It Means: Davidson continues to win on the road, despite their home struggles. They dominated the boards on this night, and shot lights out. They still only have one SoCon loss, and are alone in second place in the SoCon race right now. Davidson is probably the SoCon favorite despite the fact that they sit just behind the Mocs in the standings. The Catamounts lost their second straight game after starting conference play unbeaten. Their schedule has been brutal and they have survived to be 4-2 right now. They better be ready for the trip to The Citadel on Saturday or else they could get a third straight loss, though. The Catamounts still are in good position for a bye, but need to get back to winning.

Appalachian State 80, The Citadel 67

Key Stat: Mountaineers seven turnovers. Appalachian State's offense has not been the best. They did not turn the ball over tonight and shot 55.7% from the floor. If they are going to play that well on offense, they are going to win some more games as the season goes along.

Player of the Game: Mike Kobani. You can't deny Kobani. He scored 18 points and was 9 of 10 from the field. What a great shooting night for Kobani. He simply couldn't miss. That kind of shooting was critical off the bench for the Mountaineers as they put away the Bulldogs.

What It Means: Appalachian State is now the owner of a real live winning streak. Having won two straight games, the Mountaineers now have a week off before facing off with UNCG. Win that one and we can legitimately talk about Appalachian State as a contender for a bye spot. They are only a game and a half out of the bye spot now. Without Jay Canty, it's hard to imagine they can make a real run, but they are showing signs of life. For the Bulldogs, they seem to be losing heart. The losses are piling up and they can't seem to stop the bleeding. A team that just a week ago looked like they could be the one making the run to a bye now finds themselves still winless. It's trouble time in Charleston.

Samford 88, UNCG 78

Key Stat: Spartans 45.9 eFG%. The Bulldogs have struggled defensively all year long. But tonight, the Spartans shot just 25% from three and 42.6% from the floor. The Bulldogs defense is what really helped them win this game. Yes, the Bulldogs were red hot from the floor. But the difference was on the defensive side of the ball.

Player of the Game: Tim Williams. Williams scored 29 points and collected 12 rebounds. He made 11 of 17 from the floor and 7 of 12 from the free throw line. Williams also came up with four offensive rebounds. He was absolutely brilliant tonight, going up against Kyle Cain and Kayel Locke. He stepped up and delivered.

What It Means: Maybe UNCG isn't quite as good as we thought. The Spartans now have three SoCon losses, putting them even in the loss column with Georgia Southern and Wofford for the fifth seed. The Spartans have a trip to Chattanooga on Saturday night. The Mocs could be feeling too good about themselves after tonight, and that could benefit the Spartans. The Bulldogs are now 2-4 in SoCon play and find themselves back in the bye race. They are tied with Appalachian State. Now things get interesting. If they can find a way to beat Elon on Saturday, they will be back in the thick of the bye race. A loss could set them back a little, but this was an important win for them to come up with.

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