Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.
Current Standings as of Jan. 15, 2009:
- SE Louisiana 10-5 (2-0)
- Stephen F. Austin 11-4 (1-1)
- Nicholls State 5-10 (1-1)
- McNeese State 5-10 (0-1)
- Central Arkansas 6-10 (0-2)
- Northwestern State 5-10 (0-2)
- UT-San Antonio 12-3 (2-0)
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7-8 (2-0)
- Sam Houston State 9-5 (1-0)
- Lamar 9-8 (1-1)
- Texas State 7-9 (1-1)
- Texas-Arlington 7-7 (0-2)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sam Houston State University power forward Gilberto Clavell recently earned his second Player of the Week honor. The 6’7 junior scored 21 points and ripped down 12 rebonds in the Bearkats’ 66-57 Southland Conference opening win over Stephen F. Austin on Jan. 9. Clavell and UTA’s Marquez Haynes are the only two players in the SLC to have won the award two times.
The Southland Conference is well represented in The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll heading into league play. Texas-San Antonio, off to a 12-3 start, is ranked No. 22, while Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin were listed among others receiving votes.
OFF TO A GOOD START
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, UTSA, Sam Houston and Southeastern Louisiana are the four unbeaten teams in the conference after the opening week, while Central Arkansas, Northwestern State and UT-Arlington have yet to pick up a win.
SE LOUISIANA – Opened SLC play by thumping Lamar by 22 points, then eased past Northwestern State on the road, 70-64. We’ll see if the Lions can make a stand this week as they face SHSU at home, then travel to Lake Charles to face McNeese State.
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN – Things didn’t get off to a good start for the ‘Jacks as they were defeated in Huntsville, 66-57, in the 181st meeting between SFA and SHSU. Stephen F. Austin bounced back with a 15-point victory over Central Arkansas. They will take on Nicholls State in Thibodeaux, then host UTA.
NICHOLLS STATE – Played two close games to open its SLC season, beating Northwestern State by seven, then losing to UTSA by five. The Colonels will play SFA and Central Arkansas in the second week of conference play.
MCNEESE STATE – Got off to a bad start in conference action with a 78-69 loss to UTSA, but the Cowboys played well against the 12-3 Roadrunners. Nearly every stat was close, except McNeese let UTSA shoot it too well from the field (49%). The Pokes head west to face Lamar, then back to Louisiana for a showdown with Southeastern Louisiana.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS – Began SLC action 0-2 with a five-point loss to 2-0 A&M-Corpus and a 15-point defeat at the hands of SFA. The game with TA&M-CC was tied 51-51 with 1:50 to play, but the Islanders pulled away with great free throw shooting.
NORTHWESTERN ST. – Also started league play with a rocky start, losing to fellow Louisianans Nicholls State and Southeastern. The Demons led by six at the half against Nicholls State, but were outscored 43-30 in the second half. A&M-Corpus and Nicholls State are on tap next for the Demons.
UTSA – Still the class of the conference thus far. The Roadrunners beat two schools from Louisiana (McNeese and Nicholls) to begin at 2-0. UTSA is off to its best start since the 2001-20002 season. UTSA faces UTA in Arlington, then hosts A&M-Corpus.
TA&M-CC – Depsite being 5-8 heading in SLC play, the Roadrunners won against Central Arkansas and Texas State to open up 2-0. Kevin Palmer hit 11 of 12 free throws in the game and scored eights points down the stretch to give Corpus the win. The Roadrunners have a legitimate chance go 4-0 as they play Northwestern State and Lamar.
SHSU – Played only one SLC game, but came away with a big win over arch-rival SFA in Huntsville. Held the Lumberjacks to 12% shooting from beyond the arc, while SLC Player of the Week Gilbert Clavell scored 21 points to go with 12 rebounds. The Bearkats hit the road against 2-0 SELA, then host Texas State.
LAMAR – Managed to go 1-1 as it started conference play losing to SELA, then downed UTA. All things point to another 1-1 mark as the Cardinals face McNeese and A&M-Corpus in the coming week. Lamar got bad news this week when it was learned that senior forward Ashton Hall would require season-ending knee surgery.
TEXAS STATE – Surprised some with a four-point victory on the road against UTA. The Bobcats then lost at home to A&M Corpus. TSU faces Central Arkansas at home and travels to SHSU.
UT-ARLINGTON – A disappointing 0-2 mark left the Mavericks in the cellar in the SLC West. UTA fell at home to Texas State and on the road to Lamar. Senior Marquez Haynes continues to be the only real scoring threat for the Mavs as he averaged 21.5 PPG in the losses. Senior forward Tommy Moffitt has missed eight games with a broken foot and will be out another three to four weeks.
SELA torched the nets at a 61% clip from the field and 56% from 3-point land in the win over Lamar.
Northwestern State shot a miserable 31% from the field in a loss to SELA, and point guard Mike McConathy continued to have problems putting the ball in the hole. McConathy was 1-10 against the Lions and is shooting only 29% for the year.
In the win over Central Arkansas, the Lumberjacks outrebounded the Bears 28-16 to offset a distinct free throw advantage by Central Arkansas, who shot ten more shots from the charity stripe.
Nicholls State had three players score 20 or more points in the victory over Northwestern State. Kellan Carter and Anatoly Bose played all 40 mintues, while Chris Iles logged 35 mintues.
A&M-Corpus Christi made 19 of 23 free throws, while Central Arkansas hit only three of 11 as the Islanders made away with the win.
The number 14 was lucky for UTSA against Nicholls State. Devin Gibson, Omar Johnson and Morris Smith IV all pitched in 14 points, while Terry Fields netted 13 in a 64-59 victory.
Junior Josten Crow was a big reason Sam Houston State beat SFA on Jan. 9. At just 6’4, Crow scored 14 points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Crow also dished out six assists and had three steals.
Lamar’s Donley Minor scored a career-high 16 points to help Lamar past UTA. Minor’s scoring average this year was 3.1 PPG before he went off for 16.
Junior Anatoly Bose picked up his seventh straight 20 point game as he scored 24 points in a loss to UTSA.
As conference play begins and defenses start to stiffen, individual scoring may plummet. Fred Hunter (Nicholls State) and Marquez Haynes (UTA) each scored 25 points in their respective games and had the high-point total during the first week of action.
Texas State and Texas-Arlington combined to shoot a dismal 23% (8-34) from 3-point land in Texas State’s win on Jan. 9.
In Southland Conference play, TAM-CC’s Kevin Palmer is on fire – from the free-throw line. The senior from Baltimore has made 23 of 27 shots (85%) from the charity stripe.