Washington State holds off Rice, 76-74

November 28th, 2014

Washington State survives late Rice rally for 76-74 victory

Mark Hoffman, photos: Sam Zeller

Washington State held off a late rally by the Rice Owls and escaped their consolation round game at the Great Alaska Shootout with a 76-74 victory on Friday afternoon. The Cougars were paced by sophomore center Josh Hawkinson, who finished with a game-high 27 points on 11 of 18 shooting from the field. Guard DaVonte Lacy added 15 points for the Cougs and Dexter Kernich-Drew chipped in 12, including hitting on 3 of 4 from behind the arc. Rice was carried by 22 points from forward Seth Gearhart, who, along with guard Marcus Jackson, refused to go down without a fight.

Despite never trailing in the game, Washington State definitely felt the pressure from the Owls by the finish. After jumping out to a 17-point lead in the first half, the Cougars maintained a comfortable lead most of the game, leading by six at halftime, 39-33. Rice kept pace until the last minute and desperately scrambled to tie it up late. A three from Jackson with 29 seconds left cut the Cougs lead to 72-68 but WSU made enough late free throws and held up on defense to escape with the victory. Jackson finished with 14 points and 5 assists for the Owls. WSU bounced back from an ugly defeat at the hands of UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the Shootout.

Missouri State tops host UAA, 55-51

November 28th, 2014

Missouri State tops UAA, 55-51 in Friday opener
Mark Hoffman, photos: Sam Zeller

The Missouri State Bears topped host UAA, 55-51, in the first game of the consolation round at the Great Alaska Shootout on Friday afternoon. After surrendering an early double-digit lead, the Bears managed to make the big plays when it counted and survived the challenge of a determined UAA squad. Dorrian Williams led the Bears with 19 points, including the only two made three-pointers by MSU, and forward Camyn Boone provided 14 points and 9 boards. UAA was paced by Travis Thompson and Brian McGill with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Big man Kalidou Diouf added 11 points for the Seawolves and played big minutes in the post against a much bigger and physical MSU front line.

Missouri State came out of the gate with heaps of energy and quickly jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game. The Bears’ athletic advantage and pressure defense led to some easy early transition hoops for Williams and guard Loomis Gerring. UAA finally got on the board with a McGill three at the 13:13 mark and continued to chip away at the Missouri State lead throughout the half, eventually cutting it to 25-22 at the break.

UAA opened the second half with an 11-1 spurt and held a 32-26 lead with 17:11 left. But the Bears were quick to battle back and the teams were knotted at 35-35 after a Williams layup with 13:04 to go. Both squads went back and forth the rest of the way but the difference came late. After a UAA turnover, Williams put the Bears up for good, 51-49, with a jumper just before the two minute mark. After UAA failed to convert on the next possession, Austin Ruder scored to extend the Bears lead to 4 and UAA never recovered.

The Seawolves were over-matched athletically at just about every position on the court but stayed in the game with gritty post play and the long ball. UAA hit on 8 of 25 three-point attempts compared to just 2 of 16 by the Bears but, ultimately, the size and athleticism of the Bears won out.

Result: UCSB rout WSU, 71-43

November 27th, 2014

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos asserted themselves as a force in the Great Alaska Shootout tonight, blowing out the Washington State Cougars 71-43.

The Cougars came out ice cold, and continued that trend through the first half.  The Cougars finished the half a miserable 9 percent from the field and 0-14 from the three point range.

DaVonte Lacey, Washington States leading scorer coming into tonight, was a combined 0-11 with four turnovers in the first half and finished with only 3 points.

While UC Santa Barbara didn’t shoot overly efficient in the first half either (13-34FG, 4-11 3PT), the Gauchos dominated on the defensive boards (20 defensive rebounds) and moved the ball around efficiently, recording 10 assists.

Washington State shot slightly better in the second half (42%FG, 57%3PT), but unfortunately for them, so did the Gauchos (60%FG, 67%3PT).

Alan Williams, the Gauchos’ leading scorer and rebounder, finished with a double-double (12 points and 12 rebounds) on just 25 minutes of playing time.

With the win, the Gauchos will play Mercer, who beat Rice earlier today in overtime, 77-71.  Washington State will play Rice in the consolation bracket.


Result: Mercer tops Rice in OT, 77-71

November 27th, 2014

What started out as an abysmal night of shooting for The Mercer Bears turned into a solid outing, allowing them to  outlast the Rice Owls in an action-packed overtime game, 77-71.

With the win, Mercer advances to play the winner of the Washington State-UC Santa Barbara match up while Rice will play the loser in the consolation bracket.

Rice’s defense came out very aggressive, forcing  quick turnovers on Mercer’s first few possessions and forcing Mercer to start 0-3  from the field in the first five minutes.

The only thing keeping Mercer in the game early was going 7-7 from the free throw line during that time.

Mercer quickly turned their shooting woes around, however, shooting over 50 percent from the field, including three for five from three-point range to finish the half up 33-28.

At the start of the second half, Mercer kept their foot on the gas going 4-6 from the field and 1-2 from three point range in the first five minutes pushing their lead to 14.

Rice found their footing and quickly turned it around, however, going 4-9 from three-point range and slowed the Bears offense with some quick turnovers.  Mercer had problems with Rice’s trap all night, which forced a couple late turnovers eventually leading to a tie ball game with seconds left.

Two halves wasn’t enough for this game however, as Rice’s fade away fell short of the basket sending it to overtime.

In the overtime, Mercer took the early lead and never looked back.

While only shooting three times in the OT, Mercer was able to hang on by way of going 12-16 from the free throw line and forcing Rice to a dismal 20 percent from the field.

Mercer’s Ike Nwamu was the top scorer, shooting 5 of 13 from field goal range and 3-7 from three-point range for 21 points.

Mercer moves to 3-2 on the season, while Rice falls to 1-3.


Pregame matchup: Rice versus Mercer

November 27th, 2014

The Rice Owls and the Mercer Bears will square off  tonight at 5:30 p.m. for a chance to play the winner of the Washington State-UC Santa Barbara game, which will be played at 8 p.m. tonight.

Rice looks to bounce back after a 1-2 start to the season, losing to Oregon State on 14 November and then losing to William and Mary back on 22 November.  Their only win has come at home against Prairie View, where the Owls won 68-64.

Rice’s last loss came on a night where the Owls shot only 43 percent from the field.  While they out rebounded William and Mary and generated 12 steals, Rice couldn’t make up the eight-point deficit dealt to them in the first half.

In the Oregon State loss, Rice only shot 31 percent from the field.

Mercer is hoping to jump above .500 on the season with a win against Rice and to get a chance to avenge a loss to Colorado State back on 23 November.

Mercer’s loss to Colorado State was somewhat of a blowout, losing by 13 points and allowing Colorado to shoot almost 50 percent from the field.  The Mercer defense couldn’t stop Daniel Bejarano, giving up 22 points on 34 minutes of playing time.

Colorado State advanced in the Shootout last night by beating Missouri State 76-61.

Mercer stunned Duke last season in the NCAA tournament, beating the No. 3  seed 78-71 in the second round before losing to Tennessee in the next round.

Rice’s last tournament appearance came in the 2012 Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), where they won their first two match ups before losing to Oakland.

This is the first time these two teams have participated in the Great Alaska Shootout.

CSU squashes Missouri State 76-61

November 27th, 2014

photo by Liz Savage

The Colorado State Rams played the Missouri State Bears in the second game of the men’s GCI Great Alaska Shootout.   CSU came out on top with a score of 76-61, making them 5-0 on the season.  The Missouri State Bears are now 2-2.

Marcus Marshall of Missouri State was out with a strained calf and the impact of his absence was greatly noticed.  Even so, Dorrian Williams was a force to be reckoned with.  Williams scored 16 points and had seven total rebounds.

However, it was not enough to stop the Rams.  Colorado had two players with 20pts or more.  JJ Avila of the Rams came out with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Overall CSU and MSU both only scored 1/3 of their buckets.  CSU was much more lucky from downtown though. The Rams also scored 15 points more in free throws than the Bears, which just happened to be the spread.

JJ Avila was named the GCI player of the game.

UAA will play Missouri State on Friday in the loser’s bracket, and CSU will head off against Pacific.