OVC Players of the Week
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ja Morant, G 6-3, 175, So. Dalzell, S.C. Murray State
In two wins Morant averaged 33.5 points, 10.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 3.0 rebounds/game while hitting 57.6 percent (19-of-33) from the field, 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range and 95.7 percent (22-of-23) from the free throw line. In a win over SIUE, Morant became the first Division I player in the past 20 years to have 40 points, 11 assists and five steals in a game. The sophomore hit 21-of-21 free throws in the game, establishing a new OVC record for most made free throws in a game without a miss (breaking the old mark of 17-of-17 set in 1966-67). The 21 makes without a miss was the most by a DI player in the past 20 years and just three off the NCAA all-time record. The 21 total made free throws are the most in a game by a Division I player this season. Morants career-high 40 points in the game are tied for the most by an OVC player this season and ranks 19th nationally. It marked just the ninth time in MSU history that a player had scored 40 or more points. He began the week with 27 points, 10 assists, three rebounds, a block and steal in a win over Eastern Illinois. He hit 11-of-16 field goals (4-of-5 3-pointers) in the win over EIU. For the week Morant had only six turnovers in 77 minutes of court time. Morant has had seven-straight games with double-digit assists and in four of his last five games he has recorded as least 20 points and 10 assists. Morant ranks first nationally in assists (10.7 - 2.8/game more than second place), second in double-doubles (13) and is seventh in scoring (24.3 points/game).
This is the sixth time in 11 weeks that Morant has won the award this season.
With his sixth weekly honor, Morant ties MSU Hall of Fame member Frank Allen who was honored six times from 1989-93. Isaiah Canaan (2009-13) and Marcus Brown (1992-96) each set the bar for the Racers with 10 career honors each. Popeye Jones (1988-92) and Jeff Martin (1986-89) each had seven.
Others Nominated: Terry Taylor, Austin Peay; Mack Smith, Eastern Illinois; Nick Mayo, Eastern Kentucky; Jason Burnell, Jacksonville State; Lamontray Harris, Morehead State.
CO-NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Ty Hudson, G 6-1, 200, R-Jr. Baton Rouge, La. Jacksonville State
In a pair of wins Hudson, a transfer from Clemson, averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks/game while hitting 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the field. The victories helped Jacksonville State improve to 6-0 in OVC play, its best-ever start. The junior had a career-high 18 points in the teams overtime victory over Belmont. He hit 7-of-15 field goals (3-of-6 3-pointers) and 1-of-2 free throws in 36 minutes against the Bruins. Hudson also tied his career-highs with five assists and three steals against the Bruins. He followed that performance with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block against Tennessee Tech.
CO-NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Tyresse Williford, G 5-10, 165, Jr. Chicago, Ill. SIUE
Williford, a transfer from Wabash Valley College, averaged 23.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds/game while hitting 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from the field, 40 percent (4-of-10) from 3-point range and 94.7 percent (18-of-19) from the free throw line in two games. Against Murray State he scored a career-high 33 points, going 10-of-17 from the field (2-of-6 from 3-point range) and a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line. In that game he added four assists and four rebounds in 35 minutes of action. He began the week with 13 points, four assists and a rebound against Austin Peay. In that game he hit 7-of-8 free throws.
Others Nominated: Jabari McGhee, Austin Peay; Shareef Smith, Eastern Illinois; Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey, Tennessee State; Preston Parks, UT Martin.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Nick Muszynski, C 6-11, 235, Fr. Pickerington, Ohio Belmont
Muszynski averaged 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 blocks/game while hitting 72.0 percent (18-of-25) from the field and 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the free throw line. The freshman opened the week with 23 points, five rebounds, a block and assist in an overtime loss at Jacksonville State. In that game he hit 10-of-16 field goal attempts and was 3-of-4 at the line. He capped the week with 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting in a home win over Tennessee State. Against the Tigers he added six rebounds, five assists, four blocks and a steal. Muszynski has tied or matched his career-high in scoring in three of his past four games. He leads the OVC and ranks 18th nationally in blocked shots (2.47/game) and leads all OVC freshmen in scoring (15.1 points/game).
Others Nominated: Antwuan Butler, Austin Peay; Cam Burrell, Eastern Illinois; Jomaru Brown, Eastern Kentucky; KJ Williams, Murray State.