Coming off a school record 25 wins, the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky are the consensus favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference. They looked the part tonight, putting up 45 first half points on their way to an 83-61 opening night win over an FIU team picked to finish 9th in Conference USA. Glen Cosey led the way with 17 points and 6 rebounds.
EKU went with the four guard set with Cosey, Walden, Lewis and Knipp who is a 6-7 guard. They collected 10 steals and forced 14 FIU turnovers. It's only one game, so we're pulling from a rather small sample size, but EKU looks like a team ready to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.
Belmont 87 Lipscomb 83
This edition of the classic Nashville rivalry was one to remember as the game saw nine lead changes before the Bruins pulled off the win. JJ Mann led all scorers with 21 and played the full forty minutes. In typical Belmont fashion a forward, Drew Windler, connected on all four of his three point attempts. The Bruins scored 52 second half points to help start the season 1-0.
Arkansas 99 SIU-E 65
The Razorbacks are picked to finish 8th in the SEC, so the Cougars were in for quite the challenge Friday night. The one bright spot would be Tim Johnson who came off the bench to get 13 points.
Bradley 72 Jacksonville State 65
Brian Williams jumper with just over seven minutes to play cut the lead to one but it would be as close as the Gamecocks would get. Grant White led JSU with 16 points. The Gamecocks shot just 19% from three on 3 of 16 shooting.
Austin Peay 84 Oakland City 69
Throughout the off season we have heard how the Gov's have really improved and look to challenge for the top spot in the west. They gave me reasons to think they may not quite be there yet. APSU struggled with their Division 2 opponent taking a two point lead into the locker room. Although they only trailed for just a few seconds in the second half, the Governors struggled to put Oakland City away and only led by three with 4:23 left in the game.
First game jitters? Possibly. People overestimating APSU again? Even more likely.
Valparaiso 77 Murray State 74
Racer fans are worried that the school's consecutive streak of winning seasons may be in jeopardy especially with a brutal out of conference schedule. Murray State is sure to take their bumps before they make it to conference play but nearly came all the way back from a 12 point second half deficit. The Racers missed five free throws in the final two and a half minutes and Jeffery Moss' pass to Payne was intercepted on the final attempt to tie the game to allow Valpo to escape with the win. The bright spot from the game had to be the play of Freshman Cameron Payne who scored 21 points dished out 4 assists and hit 4 three pointers in his debut game.
By OVC play this team could be tough especially when TJ Sapp joins the team in mid December.
Valpo Crusaders (MBB) vs. Murray St. Racers (11/8/2013) (via valpoathletics)
St. Louis 87 SEMO 64
AJ Jones leaves, two players get suspended and the Redhawks give up 53 second half points to drop their season opener to St. Louis on Friday. Okay, so the 2013-14 season isn't exactly off to a great start for the team picked to win the west. But it's not all bad. St. Louis is probably the second best team in the A-10 and the Redhawks hung in there and had the lead after 20 minutes. Jerekious Bradley had 22 to lead all scorers.
Wyoming 78 UT-Martin 60
Another team that is said to have improved are the Skyhawks of UT-Martin. UTM used a 14-2 run to take a 20-19 lead in the first half and even led by two late in the first half but in the second half they never got any closer than 11. Dee Oldham led the Skyhawks with 15 points. I really think UT-Martin can challenge for the West but most do not agree with me.
Hawaii 85 Tennessee State 55
TSU is at the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic and as I write this they trail 59-32. I'll comeback to update stats later but I assume this will end up being another loss for the OVC tonight.
The OVC finished 3-6 tonight. No major shockers here really as they won the games we expected them to.
Saturday's Schedule All times central
EKU at Kennesaw State 4:30 PM
Tennessee Tech at South Florida 6:00 PM (OVC Game of the night)
Morehead State vs Mid Continent 6:00 PM
EIU at Northwestern 7:30 PM
Tennessee State vs New Mexico State 9:00 PM