Georgia Southern 77, Chattanooga 61
Key Stat: Mocs 55.6% from the free throw line. Nothing showed the Mocs lack of focus in this one like their free throw shooting, including some key misses by Rico White while the Mocs were trying to come back. That was an awful performance from the free throw line.
Player of the Game: Jelani Hewitt. Early on, the Eagles were ice cold from long range. Then, suddenly, they got hot. Hewitt made 6 of 11 from long range on the game and scored 24 points. His shooting from three point range was a major turning point in the game.
What It All Means: For the Eagles, Georgia Southern desperately need a win to get into the right position for the six through nine seed. They got it. It was a tremendous performance. They have been so close to knocking out one of the big boys in the SoCon and they finally did it. This is a team that can be really dangerous in Asheville because they have such talented players like Jelani Hewitt and Tre Bussey. This is a team no one will want to see in the quarterfinals. For the Mocs, that was a disaster. Up nine late in the first half, the Mocs just collapsed and didn't seem to be able to get it back. Will Wade was hopping mad during the game, so it will be interesting to see if the Mocs respond to that by really playing well on Sunday at UNCG or not. They need to, because suddenly, that two or three seed is very much in doubt for the first time in a while. They still own the tiebreaker edge over everyone, but they are tied with Wofford and Elon and ahead of Western Carolina by just one game. This team looks like they may be collapsing a bit.
Western Carolina 74, Appalachian State 61
Key Stat: Mountaineers 48.5% from the free throw line. It was a night to shoot free throws poorly if you lost in the SoCon. The Mountaineers made just 16 of 33 free throws. Ouch. It was so bad, only Tevin Baskin at 5 of 9 and Tab Hamilton at 2 of 2 made more than 50% from the free throw line.
Player of the Game: Trey Sumler. Sumler only scored 14 on 3 of 7 shooting from the floor. But he did all the little things for the Catamounts to get the win. He shot 8 of 8 from the free throw line. He had six assists and five steals. That was an all around solid performance.
What It All Means: Welcome back Western Carolina! The Catamounts can officially say that they are not playing bad anymore. Are they playing well? Not exactly. But they are playing better. Trey Sumler looks like he has turned into a real team leader that doesn't have to score to play good basketball anymore. The Catamounts are back in the race for the two seed and it is time to keep on going. They are getting hot at the right time. The Mountaineers continue to fight and continue to show reasons to believe, but this was the worst they have played in a while. This was unfortunate. Tommy Spagnolo played well, but they need to play better on the whole. They need to make some free throws too. They will be a tough out in Asheville. I still believe that.
Wofford 70, Furman 50
Key Stat: Terriers 56.7 eFG%. The Terriers were red hot from the floor...again. They made 50% from the floor on the game and 53.8% from three point range. I'll say it again, the Terriers keep on improving offensively and that's what makes them so dangerous in Asheville.
Player of the Game: Karl Cochran. Cochran scored 23 points and had five assists and even two blocks. He shot 9 of 14 from the floor. He also made 5 of 7 from the line. Cochran has turned into truly a top SoCon player.
What It All Means: The Paladins just do not match up with Wofford. Plain and simple. They've been playing reasonably well, except for when they play Wofford. I think Furman is a dangerous team in Asheville, and I still believe that. They need to avoid the Terriers, but other than that, I think the Paladins could be a pleasant surprise in Asheville. The Terriers stayed hot. But now comes the true test. They have just beaten one team with a bye at this point. Now they play at Davidson and at Elon in their next two games. That will be the real test for how far this team has come. They are in prime position to get the two seed at this point. The defense played great tonight. The offense has been playing so well. If they can beat Davidson, hello SoCon favorite.