Around the Mid-Majors: Week 11 (Basketball)
Not much has changed since last week in terms of the Mid-Majors. The only big move was that the Drake Bulldogs entered this week’s AP Top 25 at No. 25: their first ranking since 2008.
The No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs continued their quest for perfection with a win over Pepperdine 97-75. It was a balanced attack that helped the Zags; forward Drew Timme led the starters with 19 points and guard Andrew Nembhard added 17 off the bench.
Gonzaga looks to continue its dominant run of form on Thursday night against Loyola Marymount.
The Houston Cougars climbed up one spot to No. 5 in this week’s top 25 but are sure to fall after they were upset by East Carolina 82-73 on Wednesday night.
The Pirates outscored Houston by 12 in the second half to propel them to the win. For the Cougars, DeJon Jarreau had 25 points, while for East Carolina forward Jayden Gardner scored 21 points and grabbed 15 boards.
Houston will have some time off before it goes on the road on Feb. 10 against South Florida.
In the Atlantic 10, St. Bonaventure extended its winning streak to seven games after it defeated George Mason 84-67 over the weekend. Dominick Welch had a season-high 22 points to fuel the Bonnies.
Next up for St. Bonaventure: they take on the struggling Saint Louis Billikens, which are 0-2 since they returned from their COVID-19 outbreak.
There was another upset this week: Winthrop is undefeated no more. The Eagles suffered their first defeat at the hands of UNC Asheville but are still on top of the Big South.
After the Eagles beat the Bulldogs in the first game of the series 84-80, they fell the next night 57-55. Winthrop will have a chance to get back on track next week against Radford, which ranks No. 2 in the Big South standings.
In the Missouri Valley, No. 25 Drake and Loyola Chicago continued their winning ways.
Drake survived in overtime against Illinois State 78-76 in their first matchup after Dedric Boyd missed a game-tying layup at the buzzer. The next night, the Bulldogs were fueled by Tremell Murphy’s 30 points in a 95-60 rout of the Redbirds.
Loyola Chicago swept a tough Missouri State team with ease, winning 72-46 the first night and 70-50 the second, extending the Ramblers’ winning streak to eight games. Cameron Krutwig led in scoring both games.
The Boise State Broncos stayed on top of the Mountain West after they defeated Colorado State 85-77 on Friday, avenging their loss against the Rams last Wednesday. Next on the docket for the Broncos: the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Finally, the Belmont Bruins are on top of the Ohio Valley Conference and extended their winning streak to 15 games with a 72-71 win over Murray State. A Ben Sheppard free throw with 13 seconds was the game-winning score.
The Bruins will look to extend their winning streak when they face Eastern Illinois on Thursday night.
Despite some upsets this week, the same teams are in control of their own destiny with a few looking to make a run come March, especially the Gonzaga Bulldogs, which look ready to win their first national championship.
Matt Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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