Before I drop some lines on you, what is up with Larry Eustachy’s Southern Miss team? For the second time in three games they failed to make the 35-point mark. Last night, they fell at home to Samford 52-33.

It was the lowest point total in a non-conference home game in (at least) the last 10 seasons. In fairness, Samford plays the Princeton style and the game had only 49 possessions. But even with that in mind, it’s still a dismal offensive showing. Not to pile on any further, but even Toccoa Falls posted 37 points against Division I opposition last night.

Now the week that was…

Last Tuesday

                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Adam Morrison          52 14-28  4-8 11-12 2-7   4 2 2  2  0   43
Result: Win. Gonzaga 109, Michigan St. 106 (3OT)

Gonzaga has gotten off to a great start and done so with some indication they will make a mild transformation on playing better defense. One thing to watch with Gonzaga is their free throw percentage. They could make a serious run at the single-season record set in 1984 by Harvard (82.2%).

Yeah, I see the irony in this statement given yesterday’s post about sample size. Fine, they almost surely won’t break the record. But Morrison, Derek Raivio, and JP Batisita are all excellent from the line and will be taking the vast majority of their team’s free throws this season because their other two teammates on the floor – usually Jeremy Pargo and Sean Mallon (and eventually Erroll Knight to a lesser extent) – hardly get involved in the offense.

Through four games, the Zags are 86.1% from the line as a team. Last season, Gonzaga was 76.6% if you pull out Ronny Turiaf’s numbers. I think free throws are often over-emphasized, and almost always scrutinized in the negative. You rarely hear about a team winning a game with their free throw shooting. But for a team like Gonzaga that gets to the line often, their free throw shooting will be a major reason they have offensive success – just as it was against the Spartans in Maui when they were successful on 27 of 28 attempts.



                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Shawne Williams        32 10-13  5-7  1-2  2-7   4 2 0  4  0   26
Result: Win. Memphis 88, UCLA 80

Memphis was dangerous enough just based on who they returned from last season, but Williams is clearly an impact freshman. Calipari may be lucky to have him back for a second season.



                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Mohammed Berte         30  5-10  0-1  1-1  8-16  1 2 0  2  3   11
Result: Loss. Southeast Missouri St. 75, South Dakota St. 68

A Thanksgiving tradition – college basketball in Brookings, SD.



                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T  A F  S TO BLK Pts
Ricky Soliver          37 10-14  3-4  7-8  0-4  8 4 10  4  0   30
Result: Win. Iona 81, Portland St. 75

One of the busier stat lines of the season. It’s hard to believe Iowa State overlooked Iona the next night after this performance.



                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Shawn James            30 10-14  2-3  0-0  3-9   1 5 0  1  6   22
Result: Loss. California 83, Northeastern 76.

This was one of those games that I had circled a month ago. You had blockmaster Shawn James and one of the nation’s best inside scorers in Leon Powe opposing each other on the same floor. Of course, Powe got sidelined by the stress reaction in his foot, so this tilt lost some intrigue. But James delivered an impressive line in his first time getting significant minutes against a power-conference team.



                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T  A F  S TO BLK Pts
Squeaky Johnson        24  1-4   0-2  1-2  1-1  6 0 12  1  0    3
Result: Win. UAB 79, South Carolina St. 48

Squeaky posted 12 steals in just 24 minutes, the third-best steal game since the stat became official in 1985-86. Mookie Blaylock posted 13 steals twice during his career. [Hat tip to reader Caleb from Birmingham]



                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T  A F  S TO BLK Pts
Wesley Morgan          33  5-9   0-0  0-0 10-21 0 3  0  3  2   10
Result: Loss. Southeastern Louisiana 57, Mississippi St. 46

Turns out they’re still playing defense at Southeastern even with former coach Billy Kennedy moving on to better things. MSU shot 25.5% from the field, but Morgan kept it from being a Southern Miss-type night for the Bulldogs. By the way, if you want a vintage Joey Dorsey line, check out his night against Lamar.