NEW ORLEANS (GCAConf.com) – The GCAC’s fifth weekend features a trio of games on the docket. SUNO travels to Philander Smith looking for a split in their season series, while No. 9 Talladega looks to maintain its conference supremacy against Edward Waters.
The GCAC Game of the Week is once again in New Orleans as the newly ranked Dillard Bleu Devils will be seeking revenge against the Tougaloo Bulldogs who handed Dillard its only conference loss this season.
Saturday, January 30
Southern University at New Orleans (6-10, 1-4 GCAC) at Philander Smith (11-11, 4-3) (Tip-off 4:00 PM CT): This is the second meeting between the Knights and the Panthers; Philander Smith won the first game in New Orleans on Jan. 9, 84-69. SUNO has lost its last two games and four of its last five, but played well against No. 9 Talladega on Wednesday night before falling 66-68. Philander Smith is a team looking for some consistency as the GCAC tournament gets closer. The Panthers four conference wins have come by an average of 5.5 points; their three losses by an average of 11 points.
Players to watch: Cortavius Williams, SUNO: Williams has been one of the most confusing players in the GCAC this season. In 15 games he has scored in double figures seven times, including a season-high 22 this past Monday against Tougaloo. He also has five games where he has scored three points or less. He’ll have to play well for SUNO to pick up its second conference win.
Chris Ward, Philander Smith: Ward has scored in double figures in 17 games this season and tied his season-high with 22 points in the Panthers’ win over then-No. 21 Xavier. Ward is shooting nearly 55 percent from the floor and is grabbing just under six rebounds per game.
Edward Waters (9-12, 2-4) at No. 9 Talladega (18-4, 5-1) (Tip-off 5:00 PM CT): The Tornadoes return home after having their 10-game win streak snapped at Dillard, before rebounding with wins at Xavier and SUNO. Edward Waters will be playing its fourth straight game on the road; the Tigers are 1-2 during that span so far. Talladega needs a win to stay atop the GCAC standings and to hold on to its spot in the NAIA Top 10, while EWC just needs a win. This is the first meeting of the season between the two schools; Talladega won both meetings last season.
Players to watch: Keith Williams Jr., Edward Waters: Williams is the Tigers’ second-leading scorer at 13.3 points per game, but is averaging 18.1 points per game against conference foes on 54 percent shooting. If Edward Waters can slow the pace, Williams could be a key factor in an upset.
Jordan Washington, Talladega: During Talladega’s three game trek through New Orleans, Washington showed why he’s one of the nation’s top scoring threats by scoring 70 points in the three games, including 32 against Xavier. He’s topped 20-points in 12 games this season, and 30 points three times. If he can’t be contained, it will be a long afternoon in Tornado Alley for Edward Waters.
GCAC Game of the Week
Tougaloo (9-7, 2-3) at No. 24 Dillard (13-6, 4-1) (Tip-off 5:00 PM CT): Dillard is still riding high off its biggest win in more than a decade, an 84-74 win over No. 9 Talladega. Since then they’ve rolled of two more victories and extended their win streak to a season-high four games. For some perspective, the Bleu Devils averaged 3.77 wins per season over the last four years. Now, they’ll play their first home game as a ranked team in more than a decade against Tougaloo. The Bulldogs have done pretty well against ranked opponents this season, winning four of nine games against top 25 foes. Tougaloo also beat the Bleu Devils at home on Jan. 2, 100-92. The Bulldogs will be looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since they had a five-game win streak snapped at Talladega. Dillard is 7-3 at home this season, while Tougaloo is 4-7 away from the Dawg Pound.
Players to watch: Andravious Smith, Tougaloo: Smith is averaging 13.8 points per game for the Bulldogs and shoots 46 percent from the floor; his scoring average improves to 17.4 against GCAC competition. While Quintarius Porter may score more points, Smith leads the team in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and steals (1.7 spg).
Demetric Austin, Dillard: Austin is the reigning GCAC Player of the Week after his 28-point, 10-rebound performance against Talladega. He’s followed that up with 44 point in two games so far this week, shooting 18-32 from the floor. In his first game against the Bulldogs, he posted 24 points and eight boards. Another performance like that could signal victory for the Bleu Devils.