The following “Starting Five” points offer a quick look inside GLVC men’s basketball action this week:
GLVC SPORTS NETWORK (GLVCSN): All GLVC home games are available for free on GLVCSN.com, the GLVCSN iOS and Android mobile apps, and GLVCSN OTT apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV.
[1 // looking ahead]
GLVC men’s basketball action kicked off Monday with Illinois Springfield netting its first win of the season, utilizing a 67-point second half en route to a 92-85 win over Harris-Stowe State. The Prairie Stars (1-2) had five players in double-figures to best the Hornets (1-3), in a throwback American Midwest Conference (AMC) game, which was home to UIS until 2008 when it left to reclassify to NCAA Division II. Eddie Longmeyer led the way for the Prairie Stars with 24 points, seven boards, three assists, and two steals. Four games are on tap Tuesday, featuring Missouri-St. Louis and Southern Indiana at home against Webster and Brescia, respectively. Both games will be offered for free on all GLVCSN platforms. Missouri S&T hits the road to Lincoln and Drury hits Highway 13 for its annual “Catfight” against non-conference rival Southwest Baptist. Five games are on the docket Wednesday, followed by four on Friday and 12 on Saturday. For a complete look at this week’s action, click here.
[2 // six teams open season undefeated]
Six GLVC programs opened the season last week undefeated, including four teams that snagged their first two wins of the year. Bellarmine, Maryville, Truman State and William Jewell started the season with 2-0 records, while Drury and McKendree claimed victory in their respective openers. No. 3 Bellarmine swept its GLVC/GLIAC Challenge competition in Indianapolis with an 83-75 win over Saginaw Valley State and an 80-70 decision over Northwood. William Jewell traveled to Westfield, Indiana for a pair of Challenge games as well, boasting an 87-68 win over Davenport, and a 113-72 pounding of Purdue Northwest. Hosting a portion of the GLVC/G-MAC Crossover, Maryville opened with its first 2-0 start since the 2013-14 season and gave first-year head coach Marc Stricker wins in his first two games, including a 79-70 result over Cedarville and an 86-66 victory against Trevecca Nazarene. Truman State played those same teams at the same place with the same result, as the Bulldogs topped Trevecca Nazarene 84-73 on Saturday and Cedarville 75-65 on Sunday. Senior forward Zach Fischer was named GLVC Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 20 points on 14-of-18 shooting (.778), 10 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 assists in those two season-opening wins.
[3 // hounds getting it done at the free throw line]
UIndy is off to a 1-1 start to the season and has already seen some impressive performances at the charity stripe. In the Greyhounds’ season-opening 73-71 loss to Northwood, Eric Davidson was 14-of-14 from the free-throw line, while teammate Ajay Lawton was a perfect 13-of-13 in the 100-70 win over Saginaw Valley State on Saturday. No GLVC player had been perfect at the line with a minimum of 13 attempts since UIndy standout Jordan Loyd hit 16-of-16 freebies against Lewis in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal on March 15, 2015. Earlier that season, Maryville’s Trae Pemberton was 15-of-15 against Lindenwood on Dec. 13, 2014.
[4 // three fallin’]
GLVC West Division favorite Drury came out firing from beyond the arc in its 107-57 season-opening win over Ottawa (Kan.) last week, connecting on a school-record 19 three-pointers. The Panthers went 19-for-37 from the perimeter and pulled away from Braves in the second half outscoring their NAIA opponent 57-20 after halftime. Drury’s 19 three-pointers surpassed a team record set in 1990 when the Panthers hit 17 treys against Southern Nazarene. The 19 treys are also the most hit by a GLVC team since Indianapolis made 20 against Missouri S&T on Jan. 12, 2017 – one of three contests that featured 20 or more three-pointers in a game last year. Truman State hit 20 against Central Christian on Dec. 31, 2016, while Saint Joseph’s hit a league-high 22 versus Salem International on Nov. 25, 2016. Also of note last week, William Jewell made 17 of its 38 three-point attempts against Purdue Northwest. The 38 attempts are the most since Southern Indiana launched 40 from downtown against Illinois Springfield on Feb. 16, 2017.
[5 // quick refresher]
Catching you up on what you need to know early on the season, GLVC basketball will be played in three five-team divisions this year, and Bellarmine (East), Maryville (Central) and Drury (West) have been picked to win those titles. Over the course of the preseason, defending GLVC Champion Bellarmine has been ranked a consensus top-10 team in national polls. The Knights are rated No. 3 by the NABC and Basketball Times, No. 4 by Street & Smith’s Division II Small College Report, and No. 6 by Division II Bulletin. UIndy also received recognition in select preseason polls this year. The Greyhounds are ranked 15th by Basketball Times and 19th by Street & Smith’s. They are receiving votes outside the NABC Top 25. Bellarmine junior forward Adam Eberhard and Southern Indiana junior guard Alex Stein have been recognized as preseason All-Americans by both Street & Smith’s Division II Small College Report as well as Basketball Times. Eberhard was tabbed a Super 16 Selection by DII Bulletin. The 2018 GLVC Basketball Championship Tournament will be held on March 1-4 at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Illinois, on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. This year’s format has changed from a 12- to eight-team tournament.