The Jays won today against Illinois St. and is MVC regular season co-champs with Northern Iowa after the Panthers survived against Evansville. Though the Jays didn’t look the greatest as far as the stat sheet goes, they did what they needed to do and fought their way to victory and now takes a 10-game win streak into Arch Madness on Thursday.
Booker Woodfox led the Senior Day extraveganza with 20 points along with P’Allen Stinnett with 20 as well. Woodfox still got his points even though the was draped all day by Illinois St.’s defense. Stinnett got hot early in the 1st half and then hit some free throws down the stretch on a day when the conference’s best free-throw shooting team only shot 16-26 from the free throw line. Stinnett was 7 -10 from the charity stripe.
On the other hand Illinois St. was on fire from three today in the first half hitting 7-14, but then went only 3-10 in the 2nd half. They finished with 5 players in double figures and still presents a matchup problem with the Jays in some sense. The Jays were out-rebounded by 18 and the Redbirds had 15 assists on their 25 baskets.
The key to this game today was the turnovers. Illinois St. had 17 while the Jays only turned it over 8 times. That turned into a 24-6 advantage by the Jays on points off of turnovers.
It was a question of whether Illinois St. wanted to win this game since it really didn’t mean anything for a conference or seeding standpoint, but we found out how bad they wanted this down the stretch as coach Jankovich was T’d up by the referees and the starters played for Illinois St. as much as they usually do.
Now as a result of Northern Iowa winning tonight and getting the number 1 seed in the MVC Tourney, the Jays are the 2nd seed and are on the same side of the bracket as Illinois St. If things go as expected, they could meet again in the semi-finals. It appears the Jays will play the winner of Wichita St./Missouri St. in the quarterfinals on Friday in St. Louis and Illinois St. will play Evansville.
This should be an exciting MVC tournament. I will be in St. Louis for Arch Madness giving some extra coverage for Rush the Court. If you have any questions for the coaches and players for any of the teams or anything else you want to know about the MVC tourney that you might not have known about before, send me an e-mail or participate in some of the things that we will be doing during the MVC tourney. More information to come soon as we get our plans together this week. Stay tuned.