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Late Night Snacks: Another buzzer-beater for South Dakota State?

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Games of the Night

Duke 73, Ohio State 68: The Blue Devils were down by double digits in the first half, but a couple of fast break dunks in the early part of the second half sparked the Blue Devils. Duke eventually won, on the strength of 21 points and 17 boards from current Player of the Year favorite Mason Plumlee, while Rasheen Sulaimon caught fire in the second half, scoring all 17 of his points.

The bad news for Ohio State? This game showcased their lack of scoring balance. That will be trouble come Big Ten play.

South Dakota State 71, North Dakota 70: For the second time this season, the Jackrabbits won a game at the buzzer. And for the second time this season, it was Chad White, and not Nate Wolters, hitting said game-winner:

Oklahoma 63, Oral Roberts 62: Oklahoma was a sleeper pick in the Big 12 heading into the season, and while struggling to hold off a Southland Conference opponent would usually be a bad sign, we’ll make an exception for ORU, who is consistently one of the most dangerous mid-major programs in the country. The Golden Eagles were up 54-44 with nine minutes left, but the Sooners used a 14-2 run to take the lead with two minutes left. Warren Niles, who had 21 points, had a good look at a ten foot pull-up on the baseline for the win, but it bounced off the back of the rim.

Important Outcomes

Miami 67, Michigan State 59: The Hurricanes steam-rolled the Spartans, impressively inserting their names into the conversation in an ACC that’s suddenly wide-open behind Duke. The question to ask is whether this is a sign of things to come for the Canes, or if it will end up being the highlight of their season.

Virginia 60, Wisconsin 54: Tony Bennett took his Cavalier club into the Kohl Center and knocked off Bo Ryan thanks to 22 points, five assists and five boards from Joe Harris. As impressive as this win was for UVA, I think it says more about a Wisconsin team that looks like it is going to struggle this year. They simply don’t have the playmakers offensively.

Here’s a stat for you: this is Wisconsin’s first November home loss since 1997, when they fell against in-state rival Marquette. Bo Ryan was 33-0 previously.

UCLA 82, Cal St-Northridge 56: With all the drama surrounding UCLA over the past couple of seasons, no one would have been surprised to see the Bruins fold. Instead, UCLA came out in a 2-3 zone and stifled Northridge. While the Matadors were 6-1 coming in, this is still a game that the Bruins should have no problem winning, although the same could have been said about Cal Poly. Regardless, a win is a win at this point, and the Bruins did it in convincing fashion. Of note: Larry Drew II now has 57 assists and nine turnovers on the season.

Starred

Derrick Marks, Boise State: The little fella had 35 points on 13-19 shooting to lead the Bronco’s to an 83-70 win over No. 11 Creighton.

Brandon Davies, BYU: Davies had 21 points, 10 boards, six assists, four steals and two blocks in a win over tough-but-shorthanded Montana.

Deonte Burton, Nevada: Burton had 26 points and seven assists for the Wolf Pack, who beat UC Davis. Oh, he also had the game-winner:

Struggled

Houston: The Cougars will be in the Big East next season. They lost to Prairie View A&M tonight.

Delaware players not named Jamelle Hagins: Hagins had 18 points, 23 boards and five blocks, but the Blue Hens still managed to lose to Lafayette. Hagins was 5-7 from the floor, the rest of the team was 16-51. Lafayette was 1-6 coming in. To be fair, Delaware was without Jarvis Threatt, but this was a team picked to finish second in the CAA.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas: The future lottery pick had 12 points on 3-13 shooting coming off the bench as the Mean Green dropped to 3-4 on the season with a loss to UT-Arlington.

Wisconsin ends No. 2 Maryland’s 27-game home win streak

Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown (30) shoots during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Maryland, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
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Just over a month ago Wisconsin lost at Northwestern, dropping to 9-9 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten and had the look of a team that would have to fight simply to get into the NIT. Since then, Greg Gard’s Badgers have won seven straight games with the most recent triumph being a 70-57 victory at No. 2 Maryland. Not only did Wisconsin become the first Big Ten team to beat the Terrapins at the Xfinity Center since Maryland joined the Big Ten, but they also ended Maryland’s 27-game home win streak.

And it was Wisconsin’s offensive balance that stood out, as four starters scored in double figures led by forward Vitto Brown.

Brown, who accounted for 18 points and five rebounds in Wisconsin’s win over Nebraska Wednesday night, was even better against Maryland as he scored a career-high 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. While Bronson Koenig (16 points, six rebounds, five assists) and Nigel Hayes (14 and six rebounds) are the ones expected to shoulder much of the load, players such as Brown, Ethan Happ and Zak Showalter (11 points) will also be key as Wisconsin makes its push for an NCAA tournament bid.

In Wisconsin’s first five conference games Brown averaged 4.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per contest. Since then he’s averaging 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, scoring in double figures in each of Wisconsin’s last three games.

Overall Wisconsin’s looked far more fluid offensively during this win streak, and over the last three games the Badgers have shot very well from the perimeter as they made nearly 51 percent of their attempts (12-for-26 against Maryland). Add in Wisconsin’s ability to take advantage of Maryland’s defensive rebounding issues, converting 13 offensive boards into 20 second-chance points, and it was easy to see why Wisconsin was able to grab control of the game in the first half during a 20-0 run that gave them the separation they needed.

Maryland’s issues throughout conference play remain the same, as they struggled to end defensive possessions while also turning the ball over far too often (seven times) during the aforementioned Wisconsin run. With Melo Trimble not playing at the level he’s capable of reaching (he may not be completely healthy), Maryland has some things to address during this stretch run.

But more than anything, Saturday was the product of a Wisconsin team that’s starting to click at the right time. And as crazy as it may seem, given how Wisconsin began Big Ten play, the Badgers only two games out of first place.

No. 5 Xavier finds shooting touch in 74-57 blowout at Butler

Xavier head coach Chris Mack talks with James Farr (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Indianapolis. Xavier won 74-57. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) No. 5 Xavier learned its lesson.

To keep winning, it must continue do the dirty work.

Four days after stumbling at Creighton, the Musketeers got back to basics and used a balanced offense and a smothering defense to run away from Butler 74-57 on Saturday.

“We played much better today and after about the first four or five minutes, we defended,” coach Chris Mack said. “Our shots were, in my opinion, really good ones because we got in the lane, we made the extra pass and I thought that was the difference.”

Whatever the explanation, the Musketeers (22-3, 10-3 Big East) certainly looked worthy of the highest ranking in school history.

After making a season-low 30 percent from the field and just 1 of 21 3-point attempts in Tuesday’s loss, Xavier rebounded by shooting 56.9 percent and going 9 of 18 beyond the arc. J.P. Macura led the way with 13 points while Edmond Sumner and Remy Abell each had 12.

But the biggest improvements showed up in other areas – defense, rebounding and effort. They allowed 36 points over the final 31 1/2 minutes.

“Everybody was boxing out and rebounding, and on the offensive end we have so much talent we could get whatever we wanted,” said Abell, who started his college career playing for the Indiana Hoosiers.

The difference was obvious.

Butler (17-8, 6-7) was held almost 25 points below its season average.

Kelan Martin, with 15 points, and Andrew Chrabascz, with 12, were the only players to score more than 10. And the top three scorers – Martin, Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones – were a combined 11 of 39 from the field as the Bulldogs’ three-game winning streak came to an end.

Xavier crushed the Bulldogs so thoroughly that chants of “Let’s Go X” resounded throughout sold out Hinkle Fieldhouse over the final minutes.

“We didn’t have near the effort, the juice, the purpose defensively and we didn’t move the ball offensively and that was actually the case from the opening minute,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. “We mentioned that in the four-minute media and said that had to improve and when it doesn’t these things happen.”

Butler used a 9-0 first-half run to take a 21-13 lead midway through the first half.

Xavier answered with a 27-6 run that included four 3s and a three-point play in a 27-6 run to make it 40-27. The Bulldogs got as close as 47-39 early in the second half, which later became a seven-point deficit after a replay review gave Dunham a 3.

But the Bulldogs couldn’t get closer.

“You can go 1 for 21 one game, and then the next game it’s – I’m sure it was better,” Macura said. “That’s basketball.”

POINTERS

Xavier’s dominance showed up in two key stats on the box score. The Musketeers outscored Butler 36-14 in points off the bench and 36-18 in the paint despite having only two offensive rebounds. Xavier has won six of its last seven.

ON THE ROAD

Even the road has been kind to the Musketeers this season. They have won seven times in true road games, their highest season total since 2010-11. They have also won five Big East games on the road – more than they won in either of their first two seasons in the league and they have won 10 of the last 13 at Hinkle.

MOVING UP

Dunham continues his ascent on the Bulldogs’ career scoring list. After moving from 14th to sixth on the list in the first 23 games this season, Dunham moved passed Lynn Mitchem (1,798) for fifth and within one point of A.J. Graves (1,807) for fourth. Matt Howard is third (1,939) and the only 2,000-point scorers in school history are Chad Tucker (2,321) and Darrin Fitzgerald (2,019).

TIP-INS

Xavier: Former Indiana prep star Trevon Bluiett had 11 points and four rebounds and James Farr had 12 rebounds. … Each of Xavier’s 22 wins has come by at least seven points. … The Musketeers were the highest-ranked team to play at Hinkle Fieldhouse since No. 3 DePaul visited Feb. 23, 1981.

Butler: Shot 33.3 percent overall and was 8 of 22 on 3s. …. The Bulldogs only have three wins at home against Top 10 teams – No. 8 Gonzaga in January 2013, No. 3 Michigan in 1965-66 and No. 5 Tennessee in 1958-59. … Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence attended the game.

UP NEXT

Xavier hosts No. 20 Providence on Wednesday.

Butler hosts Creighton on Tuesday.