For the week of Jan. 30 - Feb. 5, Mid-Major Madness has selected Southeast Missouri State guard Phillip Russell as the Mid-Major Player of the Week with the St. Louis, Missouri, native pushing conference boundaries.
Russell has started the season averaging 19.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 5.3 APG in his second campaign for the Redhawks following a transfer from Saint Louis. However, the former Billiken supplemented an outstanding finish to January with career highs averaging 33 points, three rebounds, and nine assists across two OVC matchups the past week.
SEMO has won four straight and is putting up POINTS.— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) February 3, 2023
On Phillip Russell’s big night, the Redhawks scored 99 points.
One of the many teams in the OVC race. pic.twitter.com/6ZaD5Ch8A6
Russell opened the week on Thursday by notching 37 points, four rebounds, and a career-high 10 assists for a double-double to help climb out from a 12-point deficit and defeat Little Rock, 99-98. His 37 points tied a personal season high, matched SEMO’s Division-I single-game high, and marked the most points scored by an OVC player in conference play this season.
Russell followed that up Saturday with yet another standout performance. He managed a game-high 29 points with two rebounds and eight assists in a hard-fought, 82-80, road loss to Tennessee Tech. The defeat was just the program’s second loss from their last nine games and the only loss of the last nine in which Russell saw on-court action.
Sitting as the conference’s leading scorer and assister while carrying the Redhawks an 8-4 start in the OVC, Russell was awarded OVC Player of the Week honors with consecutive 25-plus point showings and a piece of SEMO program history.
With third-year head coach Brad Korn showing consistent, year-after-year improvement at Southeast Missouri State, and the Redhawks firmly in the OVC conversation, could this be the season that sees SEMO earn just its second D-I tournament appearance?
Xavier Castaneda (Akron): Led the Zips to sole possession of first place in the MAC with 32 points in a win at Buffalo and 24 points in a win versus Kent State while shooting an outstandings 71% from 3 and earning conference Player of the Week.
Zeke Mayo (South Dakota State): In three matchups throughout the week, Mayo managed 24 points and a pair of go-ahead FT’s at Kansas City, a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds versus North Dakota, and a career-high 41 points against North Dakota State.
Mitchell Saxen (Saint Mary’s): With back-to-back double-doubles, Saxen produced 10 points and 10 rebounds against San Francisco before 15 points and 11 rebounds to take down No. 12 Gonzaga and win a WCC Player of the Week selection.