Baylor v Kentucky

Late Afternoon Snacks: Heslip returns, Cashmere is clutch

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It’s Saturday, and we have a full slate. You’re bound to get hungry somewhere between the Pregame Shootaround and the Late Night Snack (who can eat an actual meal at a time like this?), so we’re going to re-rack the day with some Late Afternoon Snacks right here, right now.

Important Results

Baylor 64, No. 8 Kentucky 55 – Sans Brady Heslip, Baylor dropped a home game to Charleston. With him, the Bears waltzed into Rupp Arena and pounded the uber-talented Wildcats in a stunning showing. Heslip only had ten points, but the threat of his hot hand had to help, as all five starters appeared to be more in synch and managed a balanced scoring effort. Nerlens Noel had an impressive 18 boards in the losing effort, and the Wildcats confirmed the early season trope laid on them: ridiculously talented, not very disciplined, but absolutely a dangerous team when they get it together.

No. 17 Cincinnati 58, Alabama 56 – It took a last second jumper from Cashmere Wright to keep the Bearcats undefeated. They struggled in a slow-paced game with a tough Alabama team that seemed primed for a big road win. Les Duex Trevors played iron-man minutes for the Tide, with Lacey scoring 16 and Releford chipping in 12, but Cincy pulled through with 13 apiece from JaQuon Parker and Sean Kilpatrick, and a crucial 10 points from Titus Rubles. At least something went right for the Big East this week.

No. 5 Louisville 69, Illinois State 66 – It was almost an awful, no good, very bad day for the Commonwealth as a whole (though schadenfreude would have kept both fanbases warm) as Louisville came within a bare smidgen of losing to Illinois State of the MVC at KFC Yum! (Is it a good idea to let KFC name your arena when you have a bird as a mascot? Discuss). ISU’s Jackie Carmichael ran riot inside as Gorgui Dieng continued to nurse a bad hand, but the backcourt duo of Peyton Siva (20 points) and Russ Smith (24) gave the Cards just enough to salvage the win.

Games of the Evening

No. 23 San Diego State vs. UCLA, 10:00 pm ET – SDSU is a soaring mid-major, UCLA is a blue blood trapped in a downward spiral. Both have good players, so let’s show up and see how the script plays out.

Detroit at Pitt, 7:00 pm ET – Highly-recruited Ray McCallum, Jr. went to Detroit to play for his father. Highly-recruited Trey Zeigler went to Central Michigan to play for his. Three years later, McCallum has been to the NCAA tournament and is averaging over 20 points per game, still at Detroit. After Ernie Zeigler was fired, Trey found himself at Pitt, where he’s a backup averaging just 6.3 ppg. They may not spend much time on the floor together, but their opposing fates converge in a game between two postseason contenders tonight.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.

Gill’s 16, ‘D’ lead No. 7 Virginia past Virginia Tech, 67-49

Lehigh Virginia Basketball
AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Anthony Gill scored 16 points and No. 7 Virginia turned the tables on state rival Virginia Tech with a 67-49 victory Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ seventh straight.

Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as their worst performance of the season, and extended their winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.

Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since breaking his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team wasn’t ready to play when it lost to the Hokies earlier, but they have been surging of late and were focused from the outset. They were credited with assists and 14 of their first 15 baskets and forced 10 turnovers in the first half; they forced just eight in the last meeting of the teams.

For most of the game, the Hokies had more turnovers than field goals.

The Cavaliers led 32-20 at halftime and extended their advantage to 47-29 on a three-point play by Mike Tobey with 12:11 remaining. It capped an 11-4 run for Virginia, during which LeDay was whistled for his fourth foul. On Virginia’s next trip down court, it got the ball to Gill inside and LeDay basically backed off and let him score, quickly earning a spot on the bench.

The Cavaliers’ lead never dipped into single digits again.

The Hokies had just eight turnovers and outscored Virginia 26-6 off turnovers in their first meeting. This time, Virginia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime and the Cavaliers had already turned them into 15 points. Virginia Tech finished with 16 field goals and 15 turnovers.

Already leading 9-6, Virginia got scoring from eight players in a 23-8 run that spanned about 8 1/2 minutes.

Gill started it with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, London Perrantes had a four-point play and Wilkins finished it with two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 32-14 lead with 2:06 left in the half. They didn’t score again, and the Hokies closed within 32-20 by halftime.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 57.1 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half of their 70-68 victory against Virginia on Jan. 4. … Virginia Tech’s starting five totaled four points in the first half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have held four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 12 Miami next Wednesday.

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

Follow Hank on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org