January is the time for the contenders to separate themselves from the pack. They have finished the non-conference games and now need to get a good start in conference play. Even if they had an adverse record during November and December it doesn’t matter. All that could be chalked down to experience. Everyone starts conference play 0-0.
There were a few great performances this week and choosing one Player of the Week was incredibly tough…
Player of the Week
Will Neighbour | UALR | Senior | Forward
This week may have been the toughest choice for Player of the Week, but Neighbour gets the nod for doing it at both ends of the floor and over two games.
Neighbour is on a roll, leading his team on a four game winning streak.
He started his week with 22 points and 10 rebounds in a two point win over Texas-Arlington on Saturday. He also had three blocks, an assist and two steals.
Then he posted another double double, in a win over South Alabama on Thursday. He finished the game with 22 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.
Neighbour has always been considered an offensive player but over the last four games he has raised his defense, blocking a total of seven shots and stealing the ball five times.
Will Saunders | Charleston Southern| Senior | Forward
Some parts of the world may be experiencing some really adverse temperatures but that did nothing to freeze Saunders’ shooting touch because he was on fire over the week.
Monday he made six of his nine three pointer attempts to score a total of 23 points in a win over Columbia International. He had two blocks, two assists and a steal.
Two days later he attempted just as many three pointers, making five of them, to finish with 16 points in a victory over Coastal Carolina. His final stat line included eight rebounds, an assist and two steals.
Saunders has made an amazing 61% of his three point attempts over the week.
Ovie Soko | Duquesne | Senior | Forward
Ovie Soko scored a career-high 29 points to lead in a victory over Fordham on Wednesday. He made ten of his fifteen field goal attempts and was eight of thirteen from the charity stripe. He rounded out his stats with nine rebounds, a block and a steal.
Ben Mockford | St Francis |Senior | Guard
Mockford scored a career high 30 points against, conference rivals, LIU Brooklyn on Thursday. The 6’2” guard was 8 of 14 from three point range. He also had three rebounds, an assist and a steal in the victory.
Mockford had previously scored 15 points in a loss to Columbia, on Saturday, in his first game of the week.
Best of the Rest
Fahro Alihodzic | University of Alabama at Birmingham | Senior | Forward
Alihodzic scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a victory over Newberry on Saturday.
Allie Fullah | Charleston Southern | Senior | Forward/Centre
Fullah wasn’t as sensational as his team mate, Will Saunders, but he posted a total of eight points, a dozen rebounds and two blocks over the week.
Luke Nelson | UC Irvine | Freshman| Guard
UC Irvine picked up victories at the expense of San Diego Christian and Long Beach State. Nelson scored, in total, 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists across both games.
Alex Young | UC Irvine | Guard | sophomore
Young scored 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks in both wins.
Gabriel Olaseni | Iowa | Forward | Junior
Olaseni had eight points and six rebounds in a loss to Wisconsin on Sunday. Iowa did win the next game against Northwestern but Olaseni’s contribution was a minimal after fouling out with three points and three rebounds.
Michael Ochereobia | Iowa | Forward | Junior
Ochereobia had a dozen points, two rebounds and four assists in a loss to William & Mary on Saturday. His final stat line also included a block and a steal.
Adam Thoseby | South Dakota | Guard/Forward | Sophomore
Thoseby had 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block on 5/9 shooting in an 86-52 win over Iowa Wesylan on Saturday.
Thoughts? Anyone missing? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: UALR Athletic Communications