Outstanding individual offensive performances ruled tonight's action, to the tune of several career highs in points. Except VMI, of course; they just keep scoring... and scoring...
Virginia Military 92, Ohio 90
I think it might say everything there is to say about this game that Nick Kellogg scored a career-high 30 points, Maurice Ndour followed right behind him with 26 more points (which was a career best for a regulation game), and the Bobcats still lost. They were just doomed against the offensive buzzsaw that is VMI.
Coming into tonight, the Keydets had scored 217 points against Canisius and IPFW, with 79% of that scoring coming from D.J. Covington (78 points), QJ Peterson (53), and Rodney Glasgow (41). Not terribly surprising given they were the top scoring offense in all of Division I this season - it also means that if you can slow them down, do it.
The good news is, Ohio was able to shut down Peterson to the tune of 1-9 from the field and only 6 points. The bad news is, that came at the sake of letting Glasgow and Covington shoot 57% from the field (for 30 and 29 points, respectively). The crazy thing is, Ohio controlled this game for much of the first half, leading by as many as 17 during that time and still by a healthy 46-39 margin at the break.
However, VMI scores the points they do for a reason. After missing their first two shots of the second half, they converted at a 73% clip the rest of the way, including five three pointers. Kellogg's three right before the final buzzer actually made this one look a little closer than it was.
Yale 72, Columbia 69
It sure seemed like this was going to be a grinding game at the outset, as the score was a whopping 2-2 five minutes in. Then the lights clicked on, and by the time Columbia ended the first half on an 8-2 run, they had pushed their lead to 34-25 in the locker room. So what happened in the second half?
Javier Duren happened. The junior guard from St. Louis, who came into tonight averaging only 12.6 ppg after scoring in double figures only a handful of times his first two seasons, absolutely went off. He shot 7-for-10 from the field and 10-for-12 from the line, and accumulated 24 of his (obviously) career high 33 points in the second half.
The Lions didn't go away, helped in very large part by shooting 15-for-28 from long distance, including 4-for-6 down the stretch. Unfortunately, that last miss - by leading scorer Maodo Lo, who hit six on the way to 22 points - was the one that send Columbia home for the offseason instead of into overtime.