Checking in on the… Sun Belt

Posted by rtmsf on February 13th, 2009

Rick Henderson of The Owl’s Nest is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference.


Toppers and Trojans Battle for Top Spot in the East

Orlando Mendez-Valdez scored 24 points, including going 6-for-10 on 3-pointers, to lead Western Kentucky in a 67-59 win over South Alabama on Saturday and keep them atop the SBC.  But they will face the  East Division’s hottest team, Troy, this Saturday at the Trojan Arena in Alabama. Each are riding on win streaks; with the Trojans having won eight in a row while the Toppers are four-deep in their own stretch.  “I would like it a little more stretched out, but it is what is. You go on the road, it’s going to be tough”, said Toppers Coach Ken McDonald.

West Wrapped Up in a Tight One

Keeping in line with the predicted outcome, the race for the West displays a definite lack of parity when compared to the East.  With just five games to play for all teams except New Orleans, we have a  four way tie for third, and only 1/2 game separating them.  Don’t look for that to change either any time soon, as this baby is likely to go down to the wire – UALR being the only aside.  Can you say photo finish?

Hazzard Gets Second-Straight Player of the Week Nod

For the second week in a row, Troy’s Brandon Hazzard is the Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Player of the Week – as voted on by the league’s 13 member institutions. This marks the first time that any team has had a player win back to back awards this season.  Hazzard  averaged 22.0 points per game for the week and shot a tidy 57 percent from the field and 60 percent from downtown.  He has scored double figures in 21 games this season.  Most recently, Hazzard scored 21 points as Troy defeated Middle Tennessee 70-64 on Thursday night.

Tidbits from Around the League

  • Alex Galindo scored 23 points to give Florida International a 80-76 win over Arkansas State in OT.
  • Shane Edwards and Steven Moore each dropped 18 points to lead Arkansas-Little Rock to a 66-57 win over the Denver Pioneers.
  • Rudy Turner scored 18 points and Louisiana-Monroe defeated New Orleans 61-56.  New Orleans finished the game shooting just 1 of 9 from long range.
  • Tristan Thompson sank 24 points, including all 13 at the charity stripe, to lead North Texas to a 92-74 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.  North Texas led by as many as 39 points in the second half.
  • LaShun Watson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift South Alabama to a 66-65 victory over Florida International on Thursday night.
  • Arkansas-Little Rock’s Shane Edwards led the scoring with 16 points and his final shot – a jumper with 2 seconds on the clock – gave the Trojans a 58-57 win Thursday night over cross-state rival Arkansas State.

That’s the Stat Jack

  • Denver has now lost an astounding 43 straight games on the road; last being knocked off Thursday night by Florida Atlantic 61-67.  FAU sank 20 of 22 free throws to secure the win.

Game of the Week

  • Sat, Feb 14th Western Kentucky @ Troy 5:00PM CST College Sports Southeast
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