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Southern Conference Notebook

December 3, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Southern Conference Notebook

by Robby Trail

Charleston made a statement Monday night with a 75-69 win over Davidson, roaring back after Davidson held an 11-point lead at halftime and a six-point lead with just over 3 minutes remaining. These two teams were picked to finish one-two in the conference’s South Division and Charleston now takes over the role as favorite to win that division. Davidson is the conference’s biggest disappointment this season with their 1-3 start.

In other conference action, Appalachian State, who struggled to a 1-3 record in early season non-conference play, had a 15-point lead at the break and never looked back as they cruised to a 62-52 win at The Citadel. The Mountaineers finally got into an offensive rhythm and appear poised to challenge the likes of Chattanooga and ETSU in the North Division.

There are several conference games slated for this week which will tell us where four teams stand compared to the rest of the conference. ETSU hosts Georgia Southern on Saturday and the Bucs will try to prove they are still the class of the conference. UNC-Greensboro hosts Furman on Monday in what will be a pivotal game for two teams that have shown some good signs so far this season.

North Division

Appalachian State Mountaineers (2-4, 1-0)

Last Week: Defeated LaSalle 59-48, Lost to George Washington 76-62, Lost to St Francis 68-63, Defeated The Citadel 72-62
This Week: Wednesday against George Washington (not a typo), Monday against Piedmont College

After struggling last week with three straight non-conference losses, the Mountaineers defeated The Citadel Monday night in their conference opener. Guard Noah Brown led Appalachian State, tying his career high with 25 points.

Appalachian State has struggled offensively in their first six games and only have one player, guard Noah Brown with 11 points per game, averaging double digits in scoring. The Mountaineers struggles on offense can partly be attributed to the fact that they are averaging nearly 15 turnovers per game.

Chattanooga Mocs (4-1)

Last Week: Defeated Oral Roberts 71-69, Defeated Tennessee Wesleyan 124-58, Defeated Emmanuel College 125-78, Defeated Tennessee State 93-86
This Week: No games (next 12/11 against Liberty)

The Mocs found the road much tougher after their season-opening loss to Kansas with four easy wins last week. The Mocs have six players who averaged double-digits in scoring in their first four games. Ashley Champion has led those scorers with 20 points per game. Champion has also led the team in rebounds with seven boards per game.

Chattanooga does not play again until next Thursday when they travel to Liberty, but they do have a Dec. 16 date looming at Alabama, which will be a true test for the Mocs. Their conference season does not begin until Dec. 20 against Elon.

ETSU Buccaneers (3-1)

Last Week: Defeated Mars Hill 100-75, Defeated UNC-Wilmington 67-62
This Week: Wednesday against UNC-Wilmington, Saturday against Georgia Southern

Coming off two non-conference wins last week, the Bucs have will play UNC-Wilmington in their last test before their first conference game against Georgia Southern on Saturday.

After struggling in the team’s first two match ups, forward Zakee Wadood picked it up last week and is now averaging 11 points and nine rebounds a game in the young season. Forward A.J. Jackson leads the Bucs with just over 16 points a game, and Ben Rhoda and Tim Smith are also averaging double digits in scoring with 14 and 13 points per game respectively. Smith, who struggled early in the season with an ankle injury and sat out the Mars Hill game, returned against UNC-Wilmington to score 12 points.

UNC-Greensboro Spartans (2-1)

Last Week: Defeated Campbell 78-66, Defeated Greensboro College 69-41
This Week: Wednesday against Furman, Saturday against American

Guard Jay Joseph has paced the Spartans, averaging 21 points a game, nearly one-third of the team’s offense. Joseph has had a hot hand, shooting 47 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. Also averaging double digits for UNCG is forward Ronnie Burrell, with 12 point per game, and guard Ronnie Taylor with 10 points per game. Burrell also leads the team in rebounding with eight boards a game.

Western Carolina Catamounts (1-2)

Last Week: Lost to Virginia Tech 61-59, Defeated Milligan College 91-55
This Week: Tuesday against High Point, Saturday against UNC-Asheville

Rumor had it at the beginning of the season that Western Carolina had a legitimate All-American candidate in guard Kevin Martin. I quickly dismissed these rumors as hype, but Martin, who has averaged 30 points per game in the Catamounts first three games, may not be an All-American candidate, but he has emerged as the early front-runner for conference player of the year. Martin is shooting 51 percent from the field and a torrid 44 percent from beyond the arc.

However, Martin has not gotten much help from the rest of his team. His teammates are averaging a combined 42 points a game. Turnovers have also hurt the Catamounts as they are averaging almost 19 turnovers a game.

Elon Phoenix (1-3)

Last Week: Defeated Bluefield 85-52
This Week: Tuesday against Methodist College, Thursday against American College

Elon got a much needed win on Tuesday when they blew out Bluefield. This week will be another week that the Phoenix can add to their confidence as they play two games they should easily win.

Forward Jackson Atoyebi leads Elon in scoring, with 15 points per game, and rebounding, with six boards per game.

Much of the Phoenix’s problem in their slow start has been their shooting. As a team, they have only shot 38 percent from the field and a dismal 29 percent from beyond the arc. But, Elon did shoot 44 percent in their win against Bluefield so better performances could be on the horizon.

South Division

Charleston Cougars (3-1, 1-0)

Last Week: Defeated Central Florida 72-63, Defeated Davidson 75-69
This Week: Saturday against Coastal Carolina

Freshman guard Dontaye Draper scored a career-high 17 points for the Cougars in the conference-opening win against Davidson. This game marked the first of two key match ups between the two teams expected to compete for the South Division regular season title.

Guard Stanley Jackson is averaging 16 points per game for the Cougars, and forward Thomas Mobley is also in double digits with 10 points per game.

Georgia Southern Eagles (2-1)

Last Week: Lost to UAB 94-73, Defeated Savannah State 86-66, Defeated Mercer 88-78
This Week: Saturday against ETSU

Guard Elton Nesbitt has been shooting lights out for the Eagles, shooting 60 percent from the field and averaging 20 points a game. Nesbitt has also been shooting the three-ball well, averaging 54 percent from beyond the arc.

The Eagles have had no trouble getting to the charity stripe this season as they have averaged 30 attempts from the line per game, including a school record 39 attempts against Savannah State.

Wofford Terriers (2-2)

Last Week: Defeated Emmanuel College 88-42, Lost to Clemson 84-77, Defeated Toccoa Falls 102-42
This Week: Thursday against #16 Texas

The backcourt has been the biggest bright spot for the Terriers thus far. Guards Adrien Borders, averaging 14 points and three assists per game, and Justin Stephens, averaging 13 points and four assists per game, have played well despite Wofford’s 1-2 record.

The Terriers have been in a lot of foul trouble in their first three games. They committed 74 fouls, almost 25 fouls per game, while their opponents have committed only 43.

Furman Paladins (2-2)

Last Week: Defeated Southern Wesleyan 77-53, Defeated Greensboro College 74-49, Lost to Minnesota 91-84 (OT)
This Week: Wednesday against UNC-Greensboro, Saturday against Northern Iowa

Furman almost pulled a huge upset Sunday at Minnesota. The Paladins had 78-76 lead with just 34 seconds left and had two chances to win the game with the score tied at 78, but could not pull out the win.

Forward Maleye Ndoye had led the Paladins by averaging 22 points per game, including 32 points against Minnesota that matched his career high. Ndoye is also tied for the team lead in rebounding with six boards per game. The Paladins will look to bounce back from the loss to Minnesota in their conference opener against UNCG on Wednesday.

The Citadel Bulldogs (2-2, 0-1)

Last Week: Defeated Washington & Lee 62-44, Lost to Central Florida 74-60, Lost to Appalachian State 72-62
This Week: Wednesday against South Carolina, Saturday against Emmanuel

The Citadel opened their conference season with a 72-62 loss at home to Appalachian State. Forward Max Mombollet put up a double-double in the loss, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 boards.

Guard Dante Terry has been the go to guy for the Bulldogs so far this season, averaging 16 points per game. Mombollet has been big on the boards for The Citadel, averaging eight rebounds per game.

Davidson Wildcats (1-3, 0-1)

Last Week: Lost to #8 North Carolina 91-69, Lost to Rhode Island 108-78, Lost to Charleston 75-69
This Week: Wednesday against Hampton, Saturday against Georgetown

Davidson had a 67-61 lead on Charleston with only 3:22 remaining, but could not withstand a late Charleston rally in their conference opener.

Forward Brendan Winters had led the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points per game in Davidson’s first three games. Guard Matt McKillop and forward Ian Johnson have also averaged double figures with 13 points per game each.

     

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