Ben Howland

Late Night Snacks: Trouble’s Bruin

1 Comment

First of all, check out our Late Afternoon Snacks to see what happened while the sun was up. Then read what happened since then:

Games of the Night

No. 23 San Diego State 78, UCLA 69: A sign in the stands said “We Run Cali” It was held by an Aztec fan in red and black. Jamaal Franklin had 28 points for the Aztecs, who held the once-mighty Bruins at bay on a neutral court in Anaheim. Larry Drew II had an 11-assist game for the Bruins, but only freshman Jordan Adams (23 points) made his unselfishness worthwhile. I wonder how Shaka Smart would look in blue and gold?

No. 25 New Mexico 77, Indiana State 68 (OT): Larry Bird ain’t walking through that door. But the Sycamores threw one heck of a scare into the Lobos, who were visiting Terre Haute and probably wished they hadn’t. ISU Guard Jake Odum scored 25 in the losing effort. The good news for UNM is that Tony Snell only scored seven points. Yes, that IS the good news, because Kendall Williams took over, scoring 24 to lead all other starters into double figures. Snell became a marked man as the Lobos crafted their undefeated record, and it’s good to know that the other guys can pitch in when he has an off night.

UCSB 83, Santa Clara 80 (OT): Bronco Kevin Foster carpet-bombed the rim, scoring 28 points on 9-23 shooting, but Gaucho center Alan Williams did him one better, scoring 29 in a much more efficient manner. Williams was 9-13 from the floor, 11-15 from the stripe, and had 17 boards to salt away the road win.

Important Outcomes

No. 3 Michigan 74, Bradley 66: Most of the time, this game would have been a guarantee game played in Crisler. But the Wolverines stepped into a thrashing, howling mid-major lion’s den in Peoria instead. Bradley made it tough, with five players scoring in double figures. The usual figures played well for Michigan, but 6’6″ freshman Nik Stauskas earned the game ball, knocking down 4-5 three-pointers on his way to 22 points. It was a stiff road test, and the Wolverines handled it with poise.

No. 11 Creighton 80, St. Joe’s 51: This is important because St. Joseph’s is a legit contender for the A-10 crown this season, and the Bluejays stomped a mudhole in them. Langston Galloway was the only Hawk in double figures — barely — with ten points. Greg McDermott and Gregory Echenique combined to score 39 points before taking much of the second half off, as the entire Bluejay bench got a chance to play.

Wyoming 76, No. 19 Colorado 69: Two undefeated teams entered the amusingly named Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, and only one came out umblemished. It was Larry Shyatt’s homestanding Cowboys who managed the feat, absorbing 24 points from Spencer Dinwiddie and 16 from Andre Roberson, but battling back with a balance scoring effort, led by Leonard Washington’s 22 and Larry Nance, Jr’s 14.

Starred

Kadeem Batts, Providence: The stat line says it all. 32 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks. Batts was a machine in a 73-63 win over Mississippi State.

Will Clyburn, Iowa State: The Cyclones turned on the Hilton Magic for their guests from Provo, and Clyburn pulled 32 points out of his… hat in an 83-62 domination of Brigham Young.

Struggled

Nicholls State: The poor Colonels were doubled up in every meaningful category except turnovers by the Michigan State Spartans. There, the visitors were very generous, giving the ball up 18 times to just 8 for the Spartans.

Askia Booker: The sophomore who performed so brilliantly in leading Colorado to a national ranking fell flat on his northern trip, scoring just six points and amassing a .154 shooting percentage on the night.

College basketball fans: The news that beloved coach Rick Majerus passed away at age 64 was a harsh blow to those of us who love the game. Majerus was a brilliant, self-deprecating man who made the game fun, and he will be missed.

Mountain West issues statement on Colorado State/New Mexico altercation

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-5-28-14-pm
Leave a comment
The Mountain West issued a statement on Monday in response to the altercation that happened after New Mexico’s win at Colorado State on Saturday.
Following the Lobos’ 84-71 road victory, Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal captured an incident on video between Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo and the New Mexico coaching staff.
Both sides claimed that the other was the instigator and the incident didn’t make anybody in the video look good.
For as bad as things might have looked, the Mountain West has decided not to hand down any sort of punishment. After an investigation, the conference could not truly determine the root cause of all the drama saying in the release, “A number of conflicting perspectives have emerged and, in some cases, there is no definitive proof as to the responsible party or parties.”
What has been determined is the entire incident created an undesirable athletic competition environment, and did not reflect favorably upon either basketball program, either member institution or the Conference. There were a number of errors in judgment throughout the course of the afternoon and poor decisions made by various individuals. Such conduct is unacceptable.
The Colorado State and New Mexico athletic departments have already initiated follow-up conversations with all appropriate parties to address the events of this past Saturday. Those will continue, with the institutions taking corrective measures they deem appropriate and advising the Conference office accordingly.
The Mountain West Board of Directors and Joint Council have been adamant in their emphasis on good sportsmanship and appropriate behavior. Those involved with this most recent incident will be under close scrutiny going forward – as will all Mountain West constituents.

Obviously there is a lot to sift through with this incident but hopefully these two teams don’t have any further incident when they play at New Mexico on Feb. 21st.

No. 22 Xavier’s slide continues with loss to short-handed No. 7 Creighton

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 16:  Chris Mack the head coach of the Xavier Musketeers  gives instructions to his team against the Creighton Blue Jays during the game at Cintas Center on January 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s officially time to be concerned about No. 22 Xavier.

The Musketeers have now lost three straight games, all to the top three teams in the Big East, and currently sit at 13-5 on the year with just a single good win to their name: Clemson.

But prior to Monday’s loss to No. 7 Creighton, Xavier had lost all of their games on the road to teams that will either get a top five seed in the NCAA tournament (Villanova, Butler, Baylor) or play at altitude (Colorado). On Monday, the Musketeers not only lost 72-67 to Creighton, but they did so on a day where the Bluejays lost star point guard and all-american candidate Mo Watson to a knee injury midway through the first half and spent the majority of the game playing with star center Justin Patton saddled with fouls.

Should I mention that Creighton, who is third-nationally in three-point percentage, shot 5-for-19 from beyond the arc, or that their two best healthy guards – Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas – shot a combined 10-for-31?

All of the stars were aligned. Coming how to an afternoon game against a top ten team on a holiday after losing back-to-back games on the road, and that top ten team lost their most important player early in the first half?

This should have been where Xavier landed that first elite win.

Instead, the Musketeers are left scratching their head again.

And it begs the question: If not now, when?

The Musketeers still play Villanova and Butler at home, visit Creighton and have the Crossroads Classic at Cincinnati. There are opportunities for them to get wins that they need.

But if they cannot get a win over a short-handed Creighton team at home, who are they actually going to be?

VIDEO: No. 7 Creighton beats No. 22 Xavier, loses all-american Mo Watson to a knee injury

img_3617
Leave a comment

Creighton point guard Mo Watson was carried off of the Cintas Center floor on Monday afternoon after an ugly-looking injury in the first half.

Watson drove the lane and landed on his left leg. He immediately grabbed the knee in clear distress:

The Bluejays would hold on to win a thrilling, hard-fought game, 72-67, without Watson. That’s impressive, and it means that they move into a tie for first place in the Big East with Villanova, but the story of this game was Watson.

According to a reporter at the game, Watson told head coach Greg McDermott that he “heard it pop“. Losing Watson to any significant injury would be catastrophic for the No. 8 Bluejays. Watson entered Monday averaging 13.4 points and a nation’s-best 8.8 assists. He’s been in the top ten of our Player of the Year Power Rankings all season long, is a clear-cut candidate for an all-american team and is the engine for the high-powered offense that has made Creighton a Final Four contender.

The injury may be somewhat controversial as well. Two minutes before the video clip above, Watson banged knees with a Xavier defender and had to be helped off of the floor. He was tested on the sideline and allowed to return to the game, albeit with a noticeable limp.

UPDATE: Greg McDermott told FS1 after the game that Watson’s ligaments are intact, but that they are concerned about the meniscus.

College Basketball Coaches Poll: Kansas vaults to No. 1

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 03:  Devonte' Graham #4 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with Frank Mason III #0 after making a three-pointer during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Allen Fieldhouse on December 3, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kansas vaulted up to the No. 1 spot in the Coaches Poll for the first time this season, receiving 23 of the 32 first place votes.

Villanova comes in at No. 2 while UCLA, Gonzaga and Kentucky finish up the top five. Bay.or, who was No. 1 in the country last week, is No. 6 while Duke fell all the way to No. 18 with a pair of losses last week.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

1. Kansas (23 first-place votes)
2. Villanova (4)
3. UCLA (2)
4. Gonzaga (3)
5. Kentucky
6. Baylor
7. Creighton
8. West Virginia
9. North Carolina
10. Oregon
11. Louisville
12. Florida State
13. Arizona
14. Butler
15. Notre Dame
16. Virginia
17. Wisconsin
18. Duke
19. Xavier
20. Cincinnati
21. Florida
22. Purdue
23. Saint Mary’s
24. South Carolina
25. Maryland

College Basketball AP Top 25: Villanova is back to the top spot

VILLANOVA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Kris Jenkins #2 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Temple Owls at The Pavilion on December 13, 2016 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Temple Owls 78-57. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Villanova vaulted back into the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll after falling out for a week when they lost at Creighton.

Kansas comes in at No. 2 while UCLA, Gonzaga and Kentucky finish up the top five. Bay.or, who was No. 1 in the country last week, is No. 6 while Duke fell all the way to No. 18 with a pair of losses last week.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

1. Villanova (28 first-place votes)
2. Kansas (32)
3. UCLA (3)
4. Gonzaga (2)
5. Kentucky
6. Baylor
t-7. Creighton
t-7. West Virginia
9. North Carolina
10. Florida State
11. Oregon
12. Louisville
13. Butler
14. Arizona
15. Notre Dame
16. Virginia
17. Wisconsin
18. Duke
19. Florida
20. Cincinnati
21. Purdue
22. Xavier
23. Saint Mary’s
24. South Carolina
25. Maryland