This Week in Big South Men's Basketball (2/24)

VMI Men's College Basketball; D.J. Covington

This Week in Big South Men's Basketball (2/24)

If you want a great example of just how crazy this season has been in the Big South Conference, look no further than this past Saturday.  VMI locked up a bye in the Northern Division by beating Radford, but still has very little breathing room.  The Keydets take on High Point this week, and still face the possibility of falling to the second spot in the division.

Meanwhile, shortly after 4:00 Saturday afternoon, Winthrop and Gardner-Webb fans celebrated a UNC Asheville home victory over Southern Division leader Coastal Carolina.  This victory assured the winner of their game Saturday night a first-place tie in the heavily-contested Southern Division.  The Runnin’ Bulldogs managed an overtime victory over the visiting Eagles, creating a three-way tie at the top with Winthrop just one game behind.  Two games remain for each team before everyone heads to Conway, South Carolina for the Big South Championships, and still, very little is decided.


If The Season Ended Today

2014 Big South Championships First Round:
#4 South Winthrop (15-12, 8-6) vs. #5 North Liberty (10-19, 4-10)
#3 North Radford (18-11, 8-6) vs. #6 South Presbyterian (6-23, 2-12)
#4 North Campbell (12-17, 6-8) vs. #5 South Charleston Southern (12-15, 6-8)
#3 South Gardner-Webb (16-13, 9-5) vs. #6 North Longwood (8-21, 3-11)

#1 North VMI (17-10, 10-4) vs. WU/LU winner
#2 South UNC Asheville (15-13, 9-5 BSC) vs. RU/PC winner
#1 South Coastal Carolina (16-12, 9-5) vs. CU/CSU winner
#2 North High Point (14-13, 10-4) vs. GWU/LW winner


Game of the Week

Gardner-Webb 85, Winthrop 79 (OT):  The aforementioned battle for a share of first place in the South ended up as a tale of two halves...and five minutes.  Gardner-Webb quickly started both halves, only for Winthrop to flip the tempo and shoot their way back into the game.  The final ten minutes of regulation featured five lead changes and eight ties.  Both teams had a solid look at the basket in their final possessions, with their respective stars (Winthrop’s Keon Moore and Gardner-Webb’s Naji Hibbert) missing contested looks.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs made just 7-of-15 free throws in the second half, helping to enable Winthrop to take the game to overtime.  GWU drained 10-of-12 shots from the charity stripe in the extra session, led by four from senior Josh Castellanos.  Winthrop never led during the overtime session.


Player of the Week

D.J. Covington, VMI:  The conference named Covington its Player of the Week, and with good reason.  I share that opinion.  Covington put up 33 and 29 points, respectively, in two wins over Campbell and Radford.  Covington is sixth in the league in scoring (19.9 points per game), second in field goal percentage (59 percent), blocked shots (3.43) and defensive rebounds (7.57), fourth in offensive rebounds (2.93) and leads the conference in overall rebounds (10.5 per game).  He is also tops in the circuit with 14 double-doubles.  Forget Player of the Week -- Covington is going to be in the conversation for Player of the Year.


Last Week’s Results

Monday, February 17
High Point 76, Charleston Southern 70

Wednesday, February 19
Gardner-Webb 79, Presbyterian 70
UNC Asheville 82, Charleston Southern 71
VMI 84, Campbell 81
Winthrop 75, Coastal Carolina 65
High Point 67, Liberty 60
Radford 86, Longwood 75

Saturday, February 22
VMI 88, Radford 76
UNC Asheville 100, Coastal Carolina 85
Liberty 79, Campbell 59
High Point 85, Longwood 59
Gardner-Webb 85, Winthrop 79 (OT)
Charleston Southern 86, Presbyterian 47


This Week’s Schedule (all times Eastern)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
7:00 PM  Longwood at Liberty

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
7:00 PM  Presbyterian at Coastal Carolina
7:00 PM  UNC Asheville at Winthrop
7:00 PM  Campbell at Radford
7:00 PM  VMI at High Point
7:30 PM  Gardner-Webb at Charleston Southern

Saturday, March 1, 2014
2:00 PM  Charleston Southern at Coastal Carolina
4:00 PM  Presbyterian at Winthrop
4:30 PM  VMI at Longwood
4:30 PM  Radford at Liberty
4:30 PM  Gardner-Webb at UNC Asheville