The first day of hoops was an exciting one around the country and the Southland conference was no different, here’s the good, the weird, and the bad from opening night.
Eddy Polanco of SE Louisiana: He led his team in scoring with 18 points on 3-for-5 shooting with a perfect 10-for-10 from the line and five rebounds to go along with it. Southeastern Louisiana won 99-67 over Div. III Centenary.
Jalone Friday and Jaren Lewis of Abilene Christian: The duo put up a dominating performance with Friday scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, and Lewis adding 17 points on 6-7 shooting and 10 rebounds. Their low-post presence powered Abilene Christian to an 86-68 win over defending Div. II champions Randall University.
Lamar University: The Cardinals won against Tulsa (74-67), and led almost all 40 minutes of the game. Colton Weisbrod worked his way to a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while playing 39 minutes.
Jordan Howard of Central Arkansas: The 5’11 guard lived up to the preseason hype and scored 22 points against No. 22 Baylor. He went an efficient 3-for-6 from three and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.
Nicholls’ Pace: Nicholls shot 89 shots against UT Rio Grande Valley... with no overtime. For some context, the Colonels averaged 71 shots per game last year, and outdid that by 18 shots. Their pace was just shy of 2.5 shots per minute and there were over 100 rebounds in a game they won, 111-106.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi beats NAIA The Lady of Our Lake at the buzzer: Take a look, y’all:
I don’t know whether to classify this as good because it’s a great shot with an exciting roll off the rim, but the Islanders — a team expected to contend for the Southland — needed it. As coaches say, a win is a win.
The Bad (with a power conference caveat)
Central Arkansas’ Defense: Allowing 107 points isn’t a winning formula (unless you’re Nicholls) and it was a team effort to allow that many points. Baylor had six players with 14 or more points, including all five starters.
Northwestern State’s First Half: Texas simply overpowered the Demons and did not slow down throughout the first half. Mo Bamba scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in 23 minutes. Northwestern State lost the first half 27-62. The second half was full of Texas backups and Texas still won the half by 10.
McNeese State: McNeese wasn’t expected to be good this year, and they still underachieved against Houston. The Cowboys shot under 30 percent from the field and 22 percent from deep. When they got to the free throw line they missed, a lot (13-24). McNeese has a variety of things to improve on after their first game, mainly everything.