- National Teams
The season has less than a fortnight to go before conference tournaments begin. Then it is on to one of the best, if not the best, annual basketball tournament in the world, the NCAA tournament.
For most of the Brits it will more than likely be the end of the season after the conference tournament. For the seniors it will be the end of the road.
There are a few British players that have a reasonably good chance of making the NCAA tournament this season, unlike last season where none of our players made it, if they can hold their nerves down the stretch.
UC Irvine, which features Alex Young and Luke Nelson, is currently leading the Big West conference and UALR were second in the Sun Belt conference until Will Neighbour got injured. If he can return to his former conference player of the year candidate self, then maybe they can make some serious noise in the conference tournament.
Ben Mockford and St Francis are 7-7 in conference but they went to conference leader Robert Morris’s stadium and lost by a last second shot. A slim chance is still a chance right? Especially considering after Robert Morris there is not much distance between the other teams.
Iowa, who features Gabe Olaseni, was arguably a lock for the tournament until they lost three games in a row but they can still turn it around with a big win over Michigan State next Thursday. However, they must beat Big Ten cellar dwellers Illinois and Purdue as well, so in other words win their last three conference games.
The next week is going to be very interesting so stay tuned.
Ovie Soko | Duquesne | Senior | Forward
It is said that in life there are no guarantees but on this update you can bet anything that Ovie Soko will always challenge for the top spot. He has had a remarkable season averaging 18.2 points and 7.7 rebounds, leading his team in both categories.
The only downer here is that Duquesne was only 3-10 in conference play though they have had some tough losses and the team is considerably young with lots of sophomores and freshmen.
First up was Dayton on Saturday. Soko scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds but they lost by three points even though they were within one point with ten seconds to go.
Then against top ten ranked St Louis, who was undefeated in conference play, Duquesne shocked the world and won. Soko scored a dozen points to go with three rebounds and three assists in the monumental victory.
St Louis had won nineteen consecutive games until they ran into Duquesne on Thursday.
Shore Adenekan | Seattle | Junior | Forward
Adenekan turned in 13 points, four assists and five fouls (disqualified) in a triple overtime loss to Chicago State in Seattle’s only game of the week.
His team mate Jack Crook, a sophomore from Manchester, had nine points, seven rebounds and two assist.
Fahro Alihodzic | UAB | Senior | Forward
Fahro Alihodzic hit the game winning layup with 14 seconds remaining, finishing with eight rebounds and scored four points in UAB’s first game of the week against Charlotte. The senior also had two blocks and a steal in the 64-62 victory.
In the second game he had 11 points, eight rebounds and an assist to help his team defeat Rice on another game winning layup, this time by his teammate.
Jess Chuku | Lehigh| sophomore| Forward
Jess Chuku seemed to have had a tough time on Sunday, scoring only seven points in a close loss to Lafayette, but bounced back on Wednesday to score 18 points and grab eight rebounds, though it wasn’t enough to beat Bucknell.
Alhaji Fullah | Charleston Southern | Senior | Centre
Alhaji Fullah scored a season high 14 points in a victory over Presbyterian last Saturday. The senior also had two rebounds and as many steals.
He only scored four points, in Charleston’s the second game of the week against Gardner-Webb.
Will Saunders | Charleston Southern | Junior| Forward
Saunders was the leading scorer in the Presbyterian game, scoring 17 points and was one rebound shy of his season high of ten.
Next game he came off the bench and played only nineteen minutes, he scoring only five points in the loss to Gardner-Webb.
Ben Mockford | St Francis NY | senior| Guard
The first time they met, Robert Morris defeated St Francis (PA) by 22 points so St Francis were determined to take down the conference leaders on Saturday. It was a tough, close game but in the end Robert Morris prevailed on a last second tip in by a player aptly called Lucky Jones. Ben Mockford scored a dozen points in the loss.
St Francis would win the second game of the week, against Bryant University, where Mockford scored seven points.
Will Neighbour| UALR | Senior | Forward
Will Neighbour, who was recently named as a finalist for the Arkansas Star of Tomorrow Award, played 20 minutes against Texas Arlington on Saturday but scored only eight points in the loss. He had missed the last two games due to an injury and did not play in UALR’s victory over Troy on Thursday.
The award above is annually presented to the best athlete from Arkansas attending an out of state college or the best athlete attending an Arkansas college.
Voting is open to the public and can be done by following this link: ARStarofTomorrow.com.
Luke Nelson | UC Irvine | Freshman| Guard
UC Irvine’s five game winning streak came to an end Saturday with a loss to Cal-State Northridge. Freshman Nelson scored 17 points and had two rebounds and two assists.
Then on Thursday they broke a tie with UC Santa Barbara, to become the lone team at the top of the Big West Conference standings, by defeating them. Nelson had 13 points and four rebounds in the show down.
Alex Young | UC Irvine | Guard | sophomore
Alex Young filled out the stat sheet against Cal-State Northridge with eight points, eight assists, five rebounds and five steals.
Young only scored seven points against conference contender UC Santa Barbara, who are only behind UC Irvine by a loss. Five of those seven points were scored in the decisive moments of the game. He also had six assists, four rebounds and a steal.
Michael Ochereobia | Western Illinois | Forward | Junior
Western Illinois have lost seven games in a row including the two they played over the last week. Ochereobia had 10 points and three rebounds against South Dakota and seven points and eight rebounds against IPFW, where he fouled out for the ninth time this season.
Image Credit: Duquesne Basketball