Results from Shakedown Saturday are in! And here they are!
Mid-Continent: Missouri-Kansas City 88, Oral Roberts 74(story) - Okay, UMKC Kangaroos, here's your "for real" tag. Wear it proudly. With four minutes left, they were up by only four and had lost their entire two-man backcourt to foul disqualification. The ORU fans smelled blood, but reigning MMBOW Brandon Temple (25 points) and the rest of the 'Roo guard troika stepped up. Said Quinton Day, the transfer pointman who freed up Temple to play two-guard, "I told him to keep shooting the ball like that and I will keep throwing it to you." UMKC (10-7, 8-0 Mid-Con) has won a school-record ten straight and are now two full games up on the Golden Eagles (14-5, 6-2 Mid-Con).
Southland: Southeastern Louisiana 63, Texas-San Antonio 54(story) - SELU (14-6, 6-1 SLC) certainly remembers the Alamo - the UTSA Roadrunners knocked them out in the Southland semis last year. They got a modicum of revenge for that result by going into San Antonio and knocking them off - all this despite being thrown in a 13-point ditch, outshot and outrebounded. The key stat? Twenty Roadrunner coughups. The SELU defense saves the day!
Missouri Valley: Wichita State 78, Illinois State 72(story) - The upstart Redbirds gave it everything they had, and shocked the Shockers by opening up a 21-9 lead. But Wichita (16-2, 9-1 MVC) and senior forward Jamar Howard (21 points) shook off their early shirkings, and administered some shock therapy of their own. A late 9-0 WSU run forced the 'Birds into a futile hack-a-Shoq strategy. Illinois State falls to 6-4 and stays in third place. Next up for the sheiks of the MVC? A roadie at Creighton.
Southern: North Carolina-Greensboro 62, Chattanooga 57(story) - The stylish Mocs stormed to a 19-point halftime lead, but UNCG came out of the break sporting the hottest winter fashion of all: stingy, effective full-court pressure. After this tail of two halves, the Spartans (12-6, 6-2 SoCon) pull themselves up into a tie for first in the SoCon North. The metaphorically depantsed Chattanoogans get 9-0 South division leaders Davidson next; they unseamed The Citadel yesterday 81-59.
Big Sky: Portland State 68, Montana State 51(story) - The PSU Vikings (14-6, 6-2 BSky) leapfrog the MSU Bobcats (10-9, 5-2 BSky) in the standings, and establish themselves as the Big Sky standard-bearers heading into the second half of the season. Portland's half-game lead was earned with eruptive runs of 16-2 and 10-3. Got a pen? Write this name down: Seamus Boxley. He's a rangy 6'7" fifth-year senior forward who routinely double-doubles, and who hasn't shot below 50% since a mid-December loss to Ohio State. He had 22 points here.
Northeast: Monmouth 64, Fairleigh-Dickinson 56(story) - The Monmouth Hawks (7-9, 7-0 NEC) passed their road test at FDU (10-9, 7-2 NEC); they raced out to a 20-point lead and held off a strong late rally. Six-seven centerpiece Blake Hamilton had 20, and the defense that has led the NEC 11 of the past 14 years sent the Knights fans home crying into their Knaughty Knapkins.
Missouri Valley:Southern Illinois lost two in a row last week, and drummed Evansville to the tune of 79-55, led by senior point guard Darren Brooks' fifteen. The hottest team in the Valley not named "Wichita State" is Southwest Missouri State (10-8, 4-6 MVC) - they followed up their big upset of SIU with an 80-73 win over the 5-5 Bluejays of Creighton.
Atlantic Sun:Gardner-Webb was tripped up by Stetson 69-62 - it was one of those games where the coach (in this case, Hatter helmsman Derek Waugh) gets himself ejected and the team gets fired up. The Runnin' Bulldogs from Boiling Springs (11-7, 8-3 A-Sun) are have a one-game cushion against the field; kamikaze long-bombers Troy State have won four in a row and sit in second, they're in action tomorrow against Mercer.
Colonial:Old Dominion (18-3, 8-1 CAA) was toppled from the ranks of the undefeated, losing at Virginia Commonwealth 75-71. I got to spend some quality pizza-and-root-beer time with this one, and it wasn't this close - VCU broke it open in the second half, and kept their cool while ODU lost theirs. And just like that, North Carolina-Wilmington is within a game of first-seed position. They're 7-2 after handing the Delaware Blue Hens their fourth straight loss, a 62-59 decision up in Newark's Bob Carpenter Center.
Horizon: Out in America's Dairyland (Wisconsin), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (15-5, 8-2 HL) and Wisconsin-Green Bay (14-5, 7-2 HL) knocked (cheese)heads. Green Bay won by four (76-72), avenging the 30-point (embarrassing) blowout the Panthers dealt them earlier in the season (January 15) before the largest home crowd in UWGB history (8,072).
Mid-Eastern: The Delaware State (8-9, 6-2 MEAC) Hornets have won four in a row and buzz into a first-place tie for first with Coppin State. Coppin (6-11, 6-2 MEAC) lost at home to Hampton in a crazy 51-50 game. Del-State rattled last year's play-in game champions Florida A&M 72-50, helped by shooting forward Jahsha Bluntt's 6-of-9 shooting for 17 points.
Ohio Valley:Tennessee Tech (11-7, 7-1 OVC) is still out in front; they beat cross-state rival Tennessee State 71-50 by blowing their doors off early - the Golden Eagles opened the game with a 13-2 spurt and never looked back. Murray State is a step behind at six-and-two, as the Racers were 83-64 winners over Morehead State. Murray used their two-point guard attack to unleash a devastating 27-8 second-half run; one of those one-slotters, Mississippi transfer Trey Pearson, had 28 points.
Southland: UTSA's loss knocks them into fourth; Sam Houston State (11-8, 5-2 SLC) lifted themselves into a tie for second by pulling down Northwestern State (11-10, 5-2 SLC), 77-65. The Bearkats shot 64% and were up by as many as 26 before letting up late. After five wins to start the Southland season, the Demons have dropped two in a row.
Southwestern Athletic:Alabama A&M has won four in a row after a 78-76 win at Texas Southern, and is 4-1. So ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved SWAC clarity. Umm, wait, scratch that. Alabama State has played three more games than their cross-state rivals, and are 6-2 after a 59-50 roadie over Prairie View A&M. So there's actually a .050 difference between the Bulldogs and Hornets. Further SWAC updates as events warrant!
Sun Belt: Defending champions Louisiana-Lafayette (12-6, 6-1 SBC) have reeled off six straight and are 6-1. The Ragin' Cajuns find themselves in the West division's first place after Denver stumbled for the first time in Sun Belt play, a 71-61 dropped decision to New Orleans lowlighted by 15 turnovers that led to 19 Privateer points. Lafayette, for their part, held down Middle Tennessee State 54-44 in a three-point brickfest dominated down low (glass tally: 45-31) by ULL.
Western Athletic:Louisiana Tech (9-8, 5-4 WAC) got off to a rough start in conference play, but now an increasing number of their cylinders are starting to fire. They won their fourth straight by topping co-top dog Texas-El Paso (15-4, 7-2 WAC) 80-65 - former MMBOW Paul Millsap dub-dubbed with 20 and 16. The other team at the top of the table lost as well - Nevada (13-5, 7-2 WAC) was taken down on their home floor 66-63 by scandal-torn but resilient Fresno State - Nick Fazekas' attempts at the buzzer-beating tie were unknotted. Since the WAC tournament will be held right there in Reno, and since the Bulldogs will actually be eligible to play in it, this game might prove a good March tuneup.
If you've heard the name Shawnee State this year, it's almost assuredly because of their season-long losing streak. There are a few ignominious skids among the affiliated as well: uno, dos, tres clubs currently hold catorce-game losing streaks. Yes, Maryland-Eastern Shore of the MEAC, Elon of the SoCon and Jacksonville State of the OVC (hola!) are nowhere near a place called "vertigo."