Davidson 86, Elon 69
Key Stat: Davidson 62% from the floor. Seriously? How in the world is any team going to beat Davidson when they shoot 62% from the field? I don't think many SoCon teams will have a prayer against them when they shoot that well. It's a little embarrasssing for the Phoenix that they couldn't play better defense than that.
Player of the Game: DeMon Brooks. Brooks scored 24 points and had eight rebounds. He made 10 of 12 from the floor. He made 2 of 3 from the free throw line. He made both of his three point attempts. Brooks had one of his best games of the season against the Phoenix on Saturday night.
What It All Means: Davidson avenged their only loss of the season. They also established themselves as the clear SoCon Tournament favorite. The defense was not perfect, but this was the Wildcats best defensive road game in a while. They played very well, and it is starting to look like they have lapped the SoCon field. We'll see how this plays out in Asheville. For Elon, this season can not be termed a disappointment quite yet. If they don't win the SoCon Tournament, it can be. This season was supposed to be the breakthrough, and now the Phoenix have finished fourth in the SoCon regular season. So much for a breakthrough. There was also very little development as the season progressed.
Chattanooga 63, Appalachian State 44
Key Stat: Mocs 50% OR%. The Mocs collected twenty offensive rebounds. The Mountaineers got 20 defensive rebounds. That's not good for the Mountaineers. They could not get pounded on the glass like that. That is the most important thing for the Mocs offense is getting second looks. When they do, they are an efficient offense. When they don't, they are not.
Player of the Game: Z Mason. In Mason's last home game, he scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds. He shot 8 of 15 from the floor and 2 of 3 from three point range. He also came up with six blocks on the defensive end. What an incredible career he has had for the Mocs!
What It All Means: The Mountaineers end up with the nine seed in Asheville. There is plenty of speculation on Capel's job right now. The Mountaineers just could not score in the second half against the Mocs stingy defense. They also did not seem to be able to rebound against the Mocs. If Jay Canty and Mike Neal are still out in Asheville, it's hard to imagine that they have the weapons to hang around for more than one game. The Mocs wound up winning their final two games impressively and may have turned a bit of a corner. They get the two seed in the SoCon Tournament, which means they are opposite Davidson in the bracket, which was critical for this team. The Mocs played with the energy and effort that won them so many games early in SoCon play. We'll have to wait and see if they can win their first game in the SoCon Tournament since 2010.
UNCG 73, Wofford 71
Key Stat: Spartans 61.7% from the floor. The Spartans shot nearly 78% from the floor in the second half. That is an incredible statistic for UNCG. They are not normally an efficient offense, but they were on this night, against one of hte SoCon's best defenses.
Player of the Game: Kayel Locke. Locke scored 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the floor. He also made 5 of 6 from the free throw line. Locke has the ability to be a good offensive player when he stays out of foul trouble. He only picked up two fouls in this one.
What It All Means: The Spartans won their second game in seven days against a team receiving a bye in the SoCon Tournament when they upset Wofford on Saturday evening. The Spartans put up a terrible performance against Davidson in-between. Who can figure out these Spartans? No one. That's who. They are the six seed and could lose to The Citadel in the opening round or could make a run to the SoCon Championship Game. This team is a mystery. After sixteen games, I still don't have them figured out. The Terriers did not show up in the second half of a game that they thought they needed to win to lock down a two or three seed. As it turned out, they still got the three seed. The Terriers are a bit of a mystery themselves- at least to me. Sometimes they play great offense- sometimes it's terrible. Sometimes they play great defense- sometimes it's terrible. With the wide open nature of their half of the bracket in Asheville, they can definitely do damage. They may have to go through the Spartans again next Saturday in the final game of the evening.
Samford 93, Western Carolina 86
Key Stat: Samford 33 of 39 from the free throw line. The Bulldogs made 33 free throws in a game they won by seven. Western Carolina made 28 free throws as well, so it was not just free throws that won this game for Samford. But for the Bulldogs to knock down that percentage on their free throws was a huge difference in this one.
Player of the Game: Tim Williams. Williams scored 32 points on 10 of 11 shooting from the floor. He made 12 of 13 from the free throw line line. He came up with six rebounds and three assists. Honestly, it may have been the best single performance by any one player in the SoCon this year. He was unreal.
What It All Means: The Catamounts lost their last two games. This team has underachieved this year in a lot of ways. Still, they have the five seed and are going to be a tough out in Asheville. The defense, which has been so good this year, let them down on Saturday night. Can the Catamounts put the pieces together again in the tournament? The Bulldogs again showed what an enigma they are. They lost to Appalachian State on Thursday and then beat Western Carolina on Saturday. Who can explain that? They also lost to The Citadel on Monday. This team will play Appalachian State again on Friday. If they win that one, they get Davidson. If they play with confidence on Saturday, they can beat Davidson. Of course, the two teams will probably combine for 200 points. But they can beat them if things break right.
The Citadel 80, Georgia Southern 63
Key Stat: Bulldogs 63.2 eFG%. The Citadel made a ton of shots from the floor, but also made 10 of 24 from three point range. They were really hot shooting against the Eagles defense. The Eagles defense will have to be better than that in Asheville.
Player of the Game: Matt Van Scyoc. Van Scyoc scored 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the floor. He made 4 of 8 from three point range. He also came up with six rebounds. If he and Ashton Moore are playing well, they are solid tandem. Throw in Brian White and PJ Horgan and this team has some decent talent.
What It All Means: The Eagles wound up losing a game that could have wrapped up the six seed for them. That was pretty much unacceptable. This was a terrible performance. The Eagles just needed to take care of business against the worst team in the SoCon and could not do it. Now they have to play a kind of dangerous Furman team on Friday just to get to Saturday against Chattanooga. The Mocs could have real trouble with them, but the Eagles have to get there first. The Bulldogs won their second consecutive game after losing 17 in a row. A little bit of confidence goes a long way. No team in the SoCon, outside of Davidson, may be playing with more confidence right now. Does that carry over into Asheville? They will play UNCG on Friday with the winner taking on Wofford. Can the Bulldogs keep the winning streak alive? Again, with guys like Van Scyoc, White, Horgan, Moore and Marshall Harris III, the Bulldogs can stick around in games. We'll see.