Conference play continued in the mid-major conferences Thursday, and, as usual, things were unpredictable. Here are the highlights:
Lipscomb beats Missouri at home
Now, this wasn’t conference play, but really Mizzou? The Tigers’ “No. 2 seed in March” days are long gone. The opposite side of this is a great win for Lipscomb, which hadn’t beaten an SEC team since topping Vanderbilt in 1951. Nathan Moran who had 22 points, including five three’s, in the win. The Bison are probably better than their 7-9 record, after two heart-breakers against Belmont, and a close loss against a good Tennessee State team.
WCC powers prevail
No. 7 Gonzaga overcame a shaky first half to beat Pepperdine 92-62. The Zags’ starters were rock solid as Jonathan Williams, Przemek Karnowski, Jordan Matthews and Nigel Williams-Goss all scored in double figures and had at least six rebounds. Silas Melson and Zach Collins added punch off the bench, which offset Lamond Murray Jr.’s career game for the Waves. In Los Angeles, St. Mary’s overcame Trevor Manuel (see below) to win 72-60 on the road. Jock Landale’s double double and Emmett Naar’s big day (19 points) were enough to lead the Gaels to a tough opening win.
Horizon League heats up
Two of the four Horizon League openers last night went into OT. Recently, we talked about Steven Davis’ potential to lead Wright State to league success, but today he underperformed (13 points, 5-14 FG) in a 81-62 loss to Oakland. To compete with a Sherron Dorsey-Walker (25 points) and a good Golden Grizzlies’ team, he needed to be better. Green Bay fell behind Cleveland State but managed to pull out a win in OT behind Charles Cooper’s 19 points. Youngstown State survived against Milwaukee in OT thanks to Cameron Morse’s 33 points.
Mount St. Mary’s nails buzzer beater
Mount St. Mary’s and LIU Brooklyn may not have seemed like the most exciting NEC opener, but Chris Wray had some end-of-game magic.
Winthrop carries lead into Big South conference play
The Eagles charged into conference play, crushing Charleston Southern 84-68. Keon Johnson built on a great non-con with 27 points and seven assists. Winthrop will need to limit its turnovers and continue its sharp outside shooting to maintain its front-running footing in the Big South.
Drake drops Loyola in furious game
There was no shortage of offense in Drake’s 102-98 home win over Loyola Chicago. The Bulldogs have played faster under Jeff Rutter, and that seems to suit junior guard Reed Timmer (23 points on 7-11 FG). For the Ramblers, the loss built on a close defeat to Toledo earlier in the week. The goodwill they’d built up after the San Diego State win is disappearing, and home game against a good Illinois State team is up next. The Redbirds were able to largely contain Jaylon Brown (17 points, 3-10 FG) and throttled Evansville’s offense in a 62-50 home win.