Around the Mid-Majors: Week 13

Story posted February 17, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

This week saw little change in the world of mid-major basketball. Gonzaga remains No. 1 in the newest AP Poll after a 100-61 blowout of San Francisco. Sophomore forward Drew Timme led the way for the Bulldogs, making an incredible 11 of 12 shots.

Gonzaga faces Saint Mary’s and San Diego this week on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

Sticking in the WCC, Pepperdine scored a massive upset over Saint Mary’s to lift its record to 10-8 overall and 6-3 in conference play. The Waves relied on team effort and collective scoring, which propelled four players to score double-digit point totals. As for the Gaels, they couldn’t get anything to go, finishing below 40% from the field and converting on only 16.7% of their 3-point attempts.

Saint Mary’s will look to bounce back against the aforementioned Bulldogs this week, while Pepperdine seeks to keep its winning streak alive against Santa Clara on Saturday.

Going to the Patriot League, Lafayette won its series against Loyola Maryland, winning the first two games before losing by 19 points in the series finale. The final win in the three-game series marked Loyola’s second win of the season, and sophomore forward Santi Aldama was a massive part in keeping Loyola close throughout the series.

In the first two losses, Aldama dropped 30 points and shot above 40% in each contest, headlined by a 30-point, 22-rebound masterpiece in the second game, which went to triple overtime.

Lafayette will face Bucknell in a back-to-back series on Saturday and Sunday; meanwhile, Loyola Maryland hosts Lehigh on the same days.

In the Ohio Valley Conference, Belmont continued its dominance with a 73-58 win over second-place Morehead State. The win marks 16 straight victories for Belmont and elevates its record 22-1 on the year—stark evidence as to why Belmont is the clear-cut standard for the OVC.

Four players surpassed 10 points for the Bruins in a team effort. The Bruins edged out the Eagles on the boards and shot nearly 15% better, which made a huge difference. From the charity stripe, both teams struggled. Morehead State shot 61.7% from the free-throw line, which was only slightly worse than Belmont’s 66.7 free-throw percentage.

At this point in the season, Belmont is running away with the OVC title, as proven by the fact that it is six games above its closest competitor, the aforementioned Morehead State. However, the season isn’t over for the Bruins, as they will face Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech. The Eagles will travel to the Show Me Center to face Southeast Missouri before leaving for Tennessee to face off against UT Martin.

 

Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.