ATB: Have You Met Omar Samhan Yet?

Posted by rtmsf on December 16th, 2009


Samhan I Am. St. Mary’s 101, Portland State 80. Had St. Mary’s not lost to Vanderbilt by two points during Thanksgiving weekend, we’d probably be listing the Gaels as a ranked team and the name of Omar Samhan might be getting a little more publicity at this point.  With tonight’s 61% shooting evening leading to another blowout win, St. Mary’s is currently 8-1 with solid road wins at Utah State and Oregon, and even though fellow WCCers San Diego and Portland were getting the early-season hype, it might be SMC as the team most likely to challenge Gonzaga as tops in the league again this year.  The big reason is that Gonzaga has nobody like Omar Samhan, the 6’11 senior who dropped 31/17 tonight and is averaging 21/12/2 blks on 61% shooting for the year — his efficiency rating of 24.2 puts him in the neighborhood of some other players you may have heard of… namely Evan Turner, Luke Harangody, Aubrey Coleman, Quincy Pondexter and Manny Harris.  Freshman guard Matthew Dellavedova is another player to watch on this team, as he’s averaging 14/3/4 assts and has a healthy 2:1 A/TO ratio.  Don’t be alarmed with what we’re about to say, but those are actually better numbers than what Patty Mills put up as a rookie at St. Mary’s in 2008.  The Gaels are definitely a team to watch as we head into the WCC this year.

Best Player You Don't Know (photo: Tod Fiemer)

Best Player You Don't Know (photo: Tod Fiemer)

Floriani LiveRutgers 80, Rider 70 (OT). Ryan Thompson did not disappoint the nine or so NBA scouts in attendance. The Rider senior scored a game high 26 points while pulling down 8 rebounds. Rutgers adjusted and did a good job defending Thompson in the stretch and OT. “They (Rutgers) face guarded and denied him,” said Rider coach Tommy Dempsey. “Anytime he had the ball they had trouble staying in front of him.” Thompson shot 9 of 19 but forced only two of them and stayed within the framework of the offense.  Another significant note for Rutgers: Mike Rosario scored 18 but was 5-17 from the floor. James Beatty, a junior guard, stepped up leading Rutgers with 21 points. Beatty was 6 of 8 beyond the arc and played some nice defense on Thompson in the stretch. “We recruited Beatty as a point but we knew he had several games in junior college where he knocked down about five treys. Tonight he had the looks, buried them and needs to do that.” Especially when Big East play starts for Rutgers just after the New Year.

Other Games of National Interest (aka Tuesday Blowouts).

  • #2 Texas 104, Texas-Pan American 42. The nation’s #1 defense continued to impress tonight against an overmatched UTPA team, using a withering 39-13 second half run fueled by fullcourt traps to cause 21 turnovers.  Texas held the Broncs to 24% shooting for the game and 3-22 from three.  Freshman guards Avery Bradley (18/5/3 assts) and Jordan Hamilton (15/7) continue to impress for Rick Barnes’ team, who won this game tonight by the 9th-largest margin the program’s history.
  • #7 Duke 113, Gardner-Webb 68. Jon Scheyer had the best game of his career as a Blue Devil, torching the nets at Cameron Indoor Stadium for 36/8/9 assts in a seven three-pointer performance that had his teammates wondering if he was going to miss (11-13 FGs, 7-9 threes).  Andre Dawkins returned from time off after his sister’s tragic death to contribute 16 points off the bench.
  • #8 Tennessee 77, Wyoming 58. UT broke open a close game early in the second half behind 29 forced turnovers against the Cowboys, holding the high-scoring team to a mere 17 points in that half.  Scotty Hopson had 14 pts and Wayne Chism chipped in with 13, but it should be noted that the Vols were outworked on the boards (-4) tonight.
  • #23 UNLV 77, Southern Utah 59.  UNLV broke open a close game on the road itself tonight, outscoring the Thunderbirds 46-29 in the second half to rebound from its loss to K-State over the weekend.  The Rebels were outrebounded by two, but were able to make up for it by forcing 25 turnovers.  Tre’Von Willis came off the bench to contribute 16/4 assts/4 stls.
  • Florida State 62, Georgia State 55. Solomon Alabi had the best game of his young career tonight, dropping 22/4/6 blks on 8-9 shooting, as FSU held on against a plucky GSU team that stayed within two possesions until the very end of this one.
  • Minnesota 89, Northern Illinois 48. Minnesota’s Blake Hoffarber set a new school record with eight three-pointers on a 26/6/4 asst evening, as the Gophers rolled to their fourth straight win after losing three in a row a couple of weeks ago.
  • UCLA 100, New Mexico State 68. Need a win?  Invite NMSU to your building.  The Bruins came off the schneid in a big way tonight with a blowout victory over the Aggies, scoring triple-digits for the first time in Ben Howland’s tenure in Westwood.  Malcolm Lee had a career-high 20/8/3 assts/5 stls while four other Bruins also contributed double-figures in scoring.
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