If someone told you that Chicago State had more wins 10 games into the 2019-20 season than all of 2018-19, would you believe them? Well, you should. And what about the Riverside crosstown clash between California Baptist and UC Riverside? Did you know that the newest member of the WAC is undefeated against its crosstown rival?
Yes, that was a lot of questions to open this article. But, it is something to think about.
Wednesday night had its highs and its lows. Kansas City learned that in order to knock off a big time opponent, runs have to be managed. Utah Valley is struggling to find an identity after its third consecutive loss. Chicago State played a full 40 minutes and got its first win over a Division I opponent. And WAC Player of the Week Milan Acquaah had another stellar performance and got help from his teammates in a big time win.
Here is a look at what went down on Wednesday night.
Chicago State 89, SIU-Edwardsville 81
Finally! Finally Chicago State got a win over a Division I opponent. And the Cougars did it in impressive fashion. Chicago State shot a blazing 58 percent from the field and went 25-27 at the free throw line including a perfect 16-16 from the charity stripe in the second half. It is the most complete game of the season for the Cougars.
Xavier Johnson had a big night with a team-high 23 points. Johnson was a perfect 13-13 from the free throw line. Andrew Lewis finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Ke’Sean Davis and Jace Colley each finished in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. It was a balanced effort that saw the Cougars get 42 points from its bench.
Chicago State used an 11-0 run to start the second half that gave the Cougars a 52-45 lead with 14:33 to play. And Chicago State never looked back.
The Cougars now have more wins through their first 10 games of the 2019-20 season than all of 2018-19.
At 4-6, Chicago State is off to a solid start under second year head coach Lance Irvin.
Want to hear the even better news? Chicago State just snapped a 53-game road losing streak. That’s how BIG this win for Chicago State is.
In case you missed it last night. Cougars snap a 53 game road losing streak with a win at SIU Edwardsville!! pic.twitter.com/1EHhq4cYGW
— Chicago State MBB (@ChicagoStateMBB) December 5, 2019
California Baptist 79, UC Riverside 67
Say it with together now…BEAT UCR!!! Okay, that’s good because that’s what CBU did on Wednesday night. For the second straight year, CBU gets bragging rights over its crosstown rival. WAC Player of the Week Milan Acquaah had a game-high 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. De’jon Davis had another double double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. And three other Lancers finished in double digits for head coach Rick Croy.
CBU dominated the glass, 43-26 and had 32 bench points in the contest.
In the second half, CBU held UC Riverside to just 32 percent (8-25) from the field. And it made head coach Rick Croy extremely happy.
“We’ve been so far off defensively that we didn’t have a chance,” CBU coach Rick Croy said about losses to Texas, Cal, Georgia State and South Dakota. “Tonight, we tightened the screws in the second half, made some adjustments at halftime and we were there for each other.”
— CBU Men's Basketball (@CBUmbb) December 5, 2019
Iowa State 79, Kansas City 61
Plain and simply put…runs are a killer in college basketball if they aren’t managed. Kansas City found that out the hard way. Iowa State closed the game on a 22-7 run that ended any hope of an upset the Roos had. The interesting thing is that Kansas City made runs of its own. An 11-0 run midway through the second half cut the deficit to two at 46-44 with just over 11 minutes to play.
“I’m very disappointed in how we finished the game,” head coach Billy Donlon said following the game. “Credit to Iowa State … their guys made winning plays on both ends. We need to continue to work on taking care of the ball. There were too many turnovers for touchdowns.”
But after getting as close as six points with 4:17 to play, the Roos went ice cold and Iowa State took advantage. The two stats that stick out are that Iowa State won the rebounding battle, 36-25. And, that the Cyclones were 22-26 from the free throw line compared to 7-10 for Kansas City.
Kansas City shot 45 percent. Iowa State shot 50 percent. Turnovers were nearly even. 3-pointer makes were nearly even. Steals were even. Points in the paint were even. Perhaps the telling story is the points off turnovers. Iowa State had 30 points off the 17 Kansas City turnovers while the Roos had just 11 points off the 15 Iowa State turnovers.
It wasn’t the outcome Kansas City hoped for. But the Roos battled and that’s all anyone can ask for in a game against a KenPom top-50 opponent.
Weber State 72, Utah Valley 67
Jerrick Harding will live in the nightmares of Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen for some time. Harding scored 27 of his game-high 36 points in the second half and Weber State earned its second win of the season. There was absolutely nothing Utah valley could do to stop Harding on Wednesday night. No amount of switching defenses or switching defenders could stop Harding.
Harding got it done in a variety of ways. 12-19 from the floor. 4-8 from beyond the 3-point line. And 8-10 at the free throw line. Had Utah Valley held one of the all-time leading scorers in Weber State history to a minimal game, Utah Valley might have run away with this game. Only one other Weber State player finished in double figures. Tim Fuller had 10 points. KJ Cunningham finished with nine points and no other Weber State player finished with more than five points.
Utah Valley dominated points in the paint, 38-24 and fast break points, 12-2. But, had no answer for Harding in the second half.
TJ Washington led Utah Valley with 18 points. Trey Woodbury had 14 points and Casdon Jardine finished with 10 points. Emmanuel Olojakpoke finished with eight points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.
The growing pains are evident in the Utah Valley locker room as the Wolverines have now lost three straight games and lost their last two home games.