Checking in on… the Southland

Posted by jstevrtc on January 16th, 2010

Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

Current Standings as of Jan. 15, 2009:

EAST

  1. SE Louisiana 10-5 (2-0)
  2. Stephen F. Austin 11-4 (1-1)
  3. Nicholls State 5-10 (1-1)
  4. McNeese State 5-10 (0-1)
  5. Central Arkansas 6-10 (0-2)
  6. Northwestern State 5-10 (0-2)

WEST

  1. UT-San Antonio 12-3 (2-0)
  2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7-8 (2-0)
  3. Sam Houston State 9-5 (1-0)
  4. Lamar 9-8 (1-1)
  5. Texas State 7-9 (1-1)
  6. 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.

MID-MAJOR POLL

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.

TEAM UPDATES

EAST

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.

WEST

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.

BOXSCORE BREAKDOWN

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.

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After the Buzzer: Sunday Doldrums

Posted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2009

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Story of the Day. Are the Heels Overrated? Only at places like UNC would we be asking questions like this, but after UNC sleptwalked through a tougher-than-it-shoulda-been home win 88-77 against Valparaiso today, it begs the question — are they overrated?  Most of the top teams have been busy annihilating their opponents, but other than against North Carolina Central, UNC has allowed vastly inferior teams like FIU and Valpo to hang around much longer than they should.  One quote from point guard Larry Drew II really seemed to hit home with us: when asked about pre-game intensity, Drew said, “honestly, I thought everything was all good, but Coach kind of told us before the game, ‘It seems like you lacked a little intensity out there for the shootaround.’”  As the point guard and unofficial team leader, Drew should be able to read his team better than that, and it really makes us wonder whether he has the chops to become the leader this team ultimately needs.  Carolina was never seriously threatened with a loss, but the Heels allowed 7-10 shooting from deep in the second half, and Brandon Wood (30 pts with six threes) lit their perimeter defense up.  It seems that we’re not the only ones who realize that things in Carolina Nation aren’t quite up to snuff yet (and honestly, after losing what they lost, why would they be???), but this weekend’s twin tilts against Ohio State and either Syracuse or California will give us a better sense as to the answer to the above question.

Upset of the Day. UT-San Antonio 62, Iowa 50. It’s not often that a Southland team wins a game on a Big Ten team’s home floor, so even though it’s abundantly clear that Iowa is down (way down), this is still the choice.  UTSA used a 17-3 run to open the second half and their experience was able to hold off the much younger Hawkeyes down the stretch as they repeatedly made mini-runs.  Despite outrebounding the Roadrunners by twelve boards, Iowa had trouble finding the basket to the tune of 34% from the field and 19% from deep.  Not to sterotype or anything, but we thought this was Iowa, you know, where kids can shoot the ball.  Morris Smith, IV, led the way for UTSA with 16/4, but it was a balanced attack that did the trick for this team, as five of the seven players who saw playing time scored in double figures.  This is the second win over a BCS conference team this weekend for a Southland team, as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi nailed Oregon State on Friday night.

RTC Live. Tulsa 81, FIU 49.  This game was an impressive win for Tulsa, and Jerome Jordan is one of the most impressive big men I have ever seen in person, Simply a dominating presence on both ends of the court — 12 points on 7 shots and 6 blocks in 24 minutes. I would be shocked if he was not a first round pick, or even a lottery pick. Tulsa is hungry, disciplined, well-coached, and a force to be reckoned with in Conference USA. This is their year to capture the Conference title. FIU, in contrast, was abysmal, shooting 21% from the field and 15% from beyond the arc. Only Marvin Roberts had double figure points with 18, and that came off  of 4-16 shooting. They were undersized and not very physical on either end of the floor. At one point during the game, Isiah Thomas was upset and said loud enough for press row to hear that Tulsa had “no class” for continuing to play its stars, but afterwards in the media interview room, he backed off those comments.  Regardless, he has a lot of work to do before this team is even respectable, but I expect him to make this team much better in the coming years with his experience and incoming recruits (h/t RTC correspondent Eli Linton).

Other Games of National Interest.

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