Friday, March 7, 2014

SoCon Tournament Friday in Review

Samford 70, Appalachian State 56

Key Stat: Samford eight turnovers. A week ago when the Mountaineers beat Samford at their place, the Bulldogs committed 25 turnovers. Today- only eight. That was the main difference between the two games. That's why this went from a loss for the Bulldogs to a relatively easy win.

Player of the Game: Tim Williams. Williams scored 21 points and collected eleven rebounds. He may 9 of 17 from the floor and came up with four offensive rebounds. He also had two steals, one assist and also one block. Williams can be one of the best players on the floor when he's on it. He doesn't always show it, but he needs to continue playing like this throughout the tournament.

What It All Means: For the Bulldogs, they were the team that presented a bigger threat to Davidson. This is a significantly interesting thing for Davidson. This game is much more dangerous for the Wildcats than Appalachian State would have been. If the Bulldogs offense is hitting on all cylinders, they will have an opportunity to advance on Saturday afternoon. For the Mountaineers, they are leaving the SoCon with a heap of questions. This program looks to be in shambles right now. I'm not sure how it gets rebuilt (or how quickly it can get rebuilt) in the more difficult Sun Belt.

Georgia Southern 65, Furman 50

Key Stat: Eagles shot 50% from the floor. When the Eagles shoot well from the floor, they win games. Today, they shot the ball well- exactly 50%. That was the good news for the Eagles, who also dominated on the defensive end for much of the game. This was a solid all around performance.

Player of the Game: Jelani Hewitt. Hewitt scored 20 points, had eight rebounds, five assists and three assists. He shot 8 of 14 from the floor. He played like the best player on the floor- which he was. Hewitt's play will be critical in the upcoming games.

What It All Means: For the Eagles, they have not ended their stay in the SoCon quite yet. They beat Chattanooga in Chattanooga by 17 points just two weeks ago. They get another shot on Saturday evening against the Mocs to beat them for the second time this year. With their guard play, if they shoot well, they will be in that game right to the end if not win it. For Furman, year one of the Niko Medved era is over. It was not particularly successful, but it was also a pretty clear step in the right direction. Can Medved get them turned around? I think eventually, though it will be a few years coming.

The Citadel 86, UNCG 76

Key Stat: Bulldogs 10 of 19 from three point range. The Citadel shot 10 of 19 from three point range on the game and when a team is that hot. The Bulldogs continue to shoot well for the third straight game and seem to be playing with a great deal of confidence.

Player of the Game: Ashton Moore. Moore scored 24 points on 7 of 16 shooting. He made 3 of 6 from three point range, and seven of eight from the free throw line. He had four rebounds and four assists. Moore continues on his late season tear that has been so dominant.

What It All Means: For The Citadel, they have now won three straight games. Surely, surely (!) they can not win against Wofford on Saturday, right? I'm not sure. This team is playing with confidence and energy. That can carry a team a long way. They are not the most talented bunch, but there may not be a team in the conference playing with more conference right now, other than possibly Davidson. This team is starting to intrigue me. The Spartans ended a very disappointing final month of the season. UNCG fell down the stretch, make no mistake. They was so inconsistent this year. This team has the talent to be one of the top teams in the new look SoCon next year. Will they live up to that?

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