College Basketball Nation: Western Kentucky

Video: W Kentucky 65, Florida Int 63

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
10:35
PM ET
George Fant scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Western Kentucky to the Sun Belt championship.

Behind the box scores: Saturday's games

February, 19, 2012
2/19/12
8:27
AM ET
A scan of the college basketball box scores each night guarantees all kinds of statistical oddities and standout performances. Here are some we found from Saturday:

Note of the Day
Sixteen players had 10 or more assists Saturday, six more players than on any other day this season.

Oklahoma State 90, Texas 78
Oklahoma State’s Keiton Page made all 20 of his free-throw attempts as part of a career-high 40 points. The 20 free throws without a miss match the most by any player since the start of the 1996-97 season. As a team, Oklahoma State made 43 free throws, matching the most by any team this season (Colorado State on Nov. 22).

Northwestern State 100, Campbell 86
Like Page, Northwestern State’s William Mosley attempted 20 free throws on Saturday; unlike Page, Mosley made just five of his 20. No player since the start of the 1996-97 season had missed 15 free throws in a game before Mosley did it in Saturday’s win. There were 93 free throws attempted in this game by both teams combined, most in a game this season.

Montana 94, Hawaii 79
Montana sophomore Kareem Jamar had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the win, the first triple-double of his career. The 21 points match the third-highest total of his career, the 11 rebounds are the second most he’s had in a game, and the 11 assists are four more than his previous career high.

Washington State 72, Arizona State 50
Arizona State finished with 50 points despite scoring only eight points in the first half. They are the second team this season to score fewer than 10 points in the first half and still score at least 50 for the game. Eastern Michigan scored nine in the first half of a 71-50 loss to Virginia Tech on Dec. 22.

Virginia 71, Maryland 44
UVA won by 27 points despite being tied at halftime, matching the largest margin of victory by a team trailing or tied at halftime against a Division I opponent this season. Hawaii trailed South Carolina State by one at the half in a 27-point win on Dec. 29.

Marshall 73, SMU 68
SMU scored 54 points in the second half after scoring 14 in the first half. In their previous game, the Mustangs scored just 28 points.

South Alabama 66, Western Kentucky 61
South Alabama’s Javier Carter had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks off the bench in the Jaguars’ win. The eight blocks are the most by a bench player this season.

TMA: St. Mary's does it

March, 9, 2010
3/09/10
9:02
AM ET
The Morning After is our daily recap of the night's best basketball action. Try not to make it awkward.

St. Mary's 81, Gonzaga 62: Well, that settles it, huh? The Gaels entered Monday night not really needing, but definitely wanting, a win over rival Gonzaga. St. Mary's was a No. 11 seed in Joe Lunardi's latest bracket; it managed to avoid an early WCC upset and had pretty much sealed its tournament fate. Surely a loss to top 15-ranked Gonzaga wouldn't hurt that fate, would it?

No matter: St. Mary's toppled Gonzaga, and how. ("And how": Totally underused phrase in 2010. We need to bring this thing back. And how! OK, I'll stop now.) Omar Samhan, the Gaels' leading scorer and rebounder, had a quiet night, but it didn't matter. Samhan's slack was picked up by a pair of efficient shooting performances from teammates, one expected, one not. Second-leading scorer Mickey McConnell dropped 26 points on 10 of 17 shooting, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Ben Allen -- the former Indiana forward -- made 4-of-6 from behind the arc, scoring a career high 20 points. That shooting was the main difference between the Gaels and the Bulldogs, who, at 45.9 effective field goal percentage, simply couldn't keep pace.

Again, the win was obviously a tournament guarantee for Randy Bennett's team, and it will no doubt help boost the Gaels' tournament seed, possibly into single-digit territory. But a quick look at the Gaels' postgame quotes: "Samhan, one of just two seniors in uniform for the Gaels, said he wanted this win 'more than anything else in my life.'" -- and you know it means a whole lot more. It's St. Mary's first win over Gonzaga in the WCC tourney in 10 tries. It's a major relief for a team consistently bullied by one of the best programs in the country. It's a big deal. And how.

Old Dominion 60, William and Mary 53; Siena 72, Fairfield 65 (OT): Two teams with tournament expectations, two wins, one excellent wrap piece by Andy Katz. Go to it. Oh, and that 0-313 streak we talked about yesterday? Make that 0-314. Oof.

Everywhere else: Humble IPFW ended its potential Cinderella run with a loss to a heavily favored Oakland team in the Summit League semifinals. ... Fellow Indiana-Purdue partner school IUPUI fared better in its Summit semi, hanging on to take a close win over Oral Roberts to advance to the Summit title game. ... Western Kentucky won't be making another appearance in the NCAA tournament, as Big Red (the best mascot ever, by the way) bowed out in the Sun Belt semifinal. ... The winner of that game, Troy, will take on North Texas in the Sun Belt championship Tuesday night.
Saddle Up is our daily preview of the hoops your TV wants you to watch. Embrace the conference tournament fever! Here's Monday night's rundown.

William & Mary vs. Old Dominion, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: Who's ready for their close up? William & Mary and Old Dominion will play for the CAA Championship in Richmond, Va., tonight, a game that will be broadcast is as primetime a college hoops spot as possible. For many of you, it will be your first glimpse of two CAA teams on the court at the same time all year. What better time to study up than now? In that spirit, here's three important things to know about tonight's game. Impress your friends, or something:

  1. William & Mary has beaten every CAA team at least once in 2009-10 ... except for Old Dominion. The Monarchs beat the Tribe (let's take a second and appreciate just how awesome each of these teams' nicknames are, because they are awesome) twice this year, the first a three-point squeaker at William & Mary, the second a 19-point blowout at ODU.
  2. Old Dominion is far and away the more efficient team: The Monarchs are ranked No. 34 in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency rating, a full 80 spots ahead of William & Mary. Besides being the best offensive rebounding team per possession in the country (eat your heart out, West Virginia), the Monarchs make their bones on defense, where they're No. 18 in the nation, and where they hold opponents to 30.1 percent shooting from three. This is bad news for William & Mary, who rank fourth in the country in their ratio of 3-point attempts to field goal attempts; the Tribe shoot a tremendous amount of 3-point attempts, and if ODU can close out on shooters well, it could be a tough offensive night for the underdog.
  3. And what underdogs they are. Per ESPN researcher Jeremy Lundblad: "Since the advent of major college basketball -- or what we now call Division I -- in 1947-48, many teams have come and some have left D-I. However, only five have been playing major college basketball that whole time and never made the NCAA tournament. Northwestern, Army, William & Mary, Saint Francis (NY) and The Citadel were all part of the original 160 teams in D-I, but they were a collective 0-310 in trying to make the NCAA tournament entering this season." That number is now 0-313, as the Citadel, Army, and St. Francis have all bowed out of their respective conference tournaments. That leaves William & Mary fighting for their first NCAA tournament bid in history, a record that spans not only their own misfortunes but the misfortunes of several other clubs. Can the streak be broken? It'll be fun to find out.

St. Mary's vs. No. 14 Gonzaga, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: The more things change, the more Gonzaga beats St. Mary's to win the WCC conference tournament outright. I'm pretty sure that's how that saying goes. OK, maybe not, but it certainly applies: The Gaels are in the exact same position they were last year -- stuck on the bubble and needing a win over the hated Bulldogs to ensure an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. The Gaels are in better shape than in 2009, though: Joe Lunardi has St. Mary's in as a No. 11 seed already. Last year required a hurried return from injury from star player Patty Mills, and it didn't matter. Gonzaga rolled over St. Mary's in the conference title game, ending the Gaels' long-shot hopes of sneaking into the tournament with one dominant 40-minute stretch of basketball. This year is a slightly different story -- St. Mary's is looking like an at-large team with or without tonight's win. But don't for a second think St. Mary's doesn't want to improve their seed, not to mention dish out a little bit of revenge for years of Bulldog dominance out west.

Everywhere else: Siena's at-large chances died with their BracketBusters loss to Butler, but if the Saints can complete their run through the MAAC tournament with a win over Fairfield in tonight's championship game, it won't matter ... When I think Appalachian State, I think "upset"; the Wofford Terriers would very much like to avoid any such thing in the SoCon title game ... the 16-14 IPFW Mastodons will face Oakland in one of the Summit League semifinals, while Oral Roberts and IUPUI do battle in the other ... Western Kentucky will look to get one step closer to going back to the NCAA tournament in its Sun Belt semifinal match up with Troy ... and Denver will face North Texas in the other half of Hot Springs's bracket.

Forde observations: Temper hinders Kentucky's Cousins

February, 13, 2010
2/13/10
10:32
PM ET
Ten o'clock thoughts:

  • DeMarcus Cousins gave us a glimpse of what makes him both overpowering and maddening during the first half against Tennessee. He's the best offensive rebounder in the country -- and perhaps the most immature player in the country, too.

    I believe he's Kentucky's best player. He can get his hands on anything that comes off the glass, which is why the argument that he's dependent upon fellow freshman John Wall to get him the ball is a fallacy -- Cousins gets the ball for himself off missed shots.

    But Cousins also is addicted to cheap and silly drama -- throwing elbows, talking trash, arguing with officials. He was T'd up yet again in the first half against the Volunteers along with J.P. Prince. If he doesn't think opposing players and fans are going to continue to work on his hair-trigger temper, he's fooling himself.
  • Tennessee is outmanned, banged up, on the road -- and right in the game. Give the Volunteers credit for moxie, but you still have to wonder about their horrendous shot selection. If they continue to jack up long 3s early in the shot clock, they'll get run out of the gym eventually.
  • Kentucky has seen all kinds of zone this season without it costing them. But zones from better teams could be another matter. The Wildcats struggled in the first half against the Vols' zone and surely will see more of them as their SEC schedule stiffens down the stretch.
  • Good stuff from the ACC tonight, particularly Georgia Tech-Wake Forest (won by the Demon Deacons) and Virginia-Virginia Tech (won by the Hokies). It's not a very good league by its own lofty standards, but it is a competitive one. ACC tournament should be a big ball of messy fun.
  • Western Kentucky crushed Arkansas-Little Rock on the road, continuing to pull out of a midseason tailspin in which it lost six of seven games. The perennial mid-major power will finish in the middle of the Sun Belt pack in the regular season but figures to be dangerous in the league tournament.
  • Oregon State, which lost by 51 points to Seattle, won at Arizona. The Pac-10 is amazingly mediocre.

Saddle Up: Big Monday's back

January, 25, 2010
1/25/10
4:00
PM ET
Saddle Up is our daily look at the hoops your TV wants you to watch tonight. Here's Monday night's rundown.

Other than the tournament (obviously), I'd argue this is the best part of the college basketball season. Why? Because in late January, you have some idea of which teams are elite, which teams matter and which don't, which teams need to improve their station before March and which teams who are just plain fun to watch. Teams start to really congeal and figure themselves out, but there's enough time left in the season that the dreaded end of the ride is nowhere near. If the weather wasn't awful, I'd want it to be late January all year long. And I'd want it to be Big Monday every day of the week.

No. 11 Georgetown at No. 4 Syracuse, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: Syracuse is the most-talented team in its conference with a record and a national reputation -- a surprising one at that -- to match. Georgetown is a balanced Big East banger that showed its capable of beating tough foes on the road with a win at Pitt last week. That's the Georgetown we know now -- the team that came from 19 down to beat Connecticut, the team that handed Pitt its first conference loss. Tonight is the Hoyas' chance to prove that that's really them, that they're not the inconsistent squad that lost to Old Dominion on Dec. 19 and let a close road win slip through their fingers at Marquette earlier this month. Wins at Pitt and at Syracuse in the span of five days would be all we need to crown the Hoyas atop the Big East at this point in the season. A road win over Syracuse would mean that much. So which team is Georgetown? Just a few hours until we find out.

Missouri at No. 2 Kansas, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN: If you think Georgetown has a tough job tonight -- and a chance to reap huge benefits if things go well -- go ahead and amplify the values on that continuum and apply it to Missouri's game at the Phog. Mizzou is one of the surprises of the season, but we should have seen it coming: Mike Anderson is a system coach, and his system, when properly installed, allows him to compete with superior opponents with nothing more than sheer speed and effort. Mizzou's 40 Minutes Of Hell style closes the gap between really good teams and just OK ones, which, after losing star DeMarre Carroll and most of last year's Elite Eight squad, this year's Tigers appeared to be. Not so. Mizzou is 15-4 and off to a 3-1 start in the Big 12. If the Tigers beat Kansas in Lawrence Monday night, they can officially write their way in to the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, KU has a home winning streak -- now at 53 games -- that the Jayhawks will be interested in preserving. Toss in the hatred between these two teams and their respective fan bases, and you've got plenty of reason to stick around for tonight's late game after G-Town and the Cuse finish up.

Everywhere else: Big Monday holds a monopoly on big-time games for the evening, but if you're into the Sun Belt and MVC, you can still find something interesting in Western Kentucky at Southern Illinois, a matchup of occasional NCAA tourney darlings both fighting through mediocre seasons. ... Meanwhile, Charleston, which started its season 6-6, is 8-0 in the SoCon and visits Western Carolina tonight. Check out the rest of Monday's action here.

Reminder: No dunking in warm-ups

January, 23, 2010
1/23/10
6:31
PM ET
How does a team gain a 1-0 lead before a game even starts? It's simple, actually: The opposing team dunked in warm-ups. (Raise your hand if you saw that coming. OK, put your hands down. You're making me feel bad.)

That's what happened in the Middle Tennessee-Western Kentucky game today, when Middle Tennessee's Trevor Ottley broke the little-known but still apparently enforced no dunking in warm-ups rule. Ottley went ahead and flushed in the layup lines; the referees assessed MTSU with a technical foul, Western Kentucky's A.J. Slaughter knocked down one of two, and thus the scoreboard read 1-0 with 20:00 minutes remaining. Kind of cool, right?

This isn't the first time this has happened this season: Division III school Augustana (shout-out to the Quad-Cities!) did the same thing against Gonzaga on Dec. 9. The lesson here: Know the rulebook! Assistant coaches, this means you; spend less time telling players to get away from the sideline during excited moments, and more time reminding them that dunking before the game starts is naughty. See? Problem solved.

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