Junior Cadougan

Late Night Snacks: Marquette outlasts UConn in a thriller

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Game of the Day: Marquette 82, UConn 76 OT

While the lasting memory of this game will be the substantial gaffe from the referees at the start of the overtime, it’s worth noting that the sequence that earned the fans in attendance five minutes of free basketball was one of the most entertaining finishes of the young season. With the Huskies up 67-66 and a five second difference on the shot clock and the game clock, Ryan Boatright his a tough fadeaway jumper at the shot clock buzzer to give the Huskies a five point lead. But UConn decided not to foul and no one called a timeout, which allowed Junior Cadougan to get a wide-open look at a three at the other end. He hit it as time expired. It was the first three the Golden Eagles hit on the night.

In the overtime, UConn had a bucket incorrectly waived off, and after Marquette scored and Omar Calhoun answered with a three to give UConn a one point lead, Vander Blue hit Marquette’s second three of the game, banking in a triple from the wing on a shot that Shabazz Napier nearly blocked. The Golden Eagles would go up 74-72 and never look back.

Starred: Greg Gantt, Florida Atlantic

For the sixth consecutive game, Gantt reached the 20 point plateau as he went for 24  in a 61-57 win over Hofstra. The last time Gantt scored less than 20 came against Warner South, when he finished with 19 points. The last time he didn’t break 20 points against a Division I opponent? November 18th. 10 games ago. He’s averaging 22.3 points on the season, good for fifth in the country.

Struggled: Manhattan

The Jaspers have had a rough season as their star, George Beamon, has struggled to get healthy after injuring his ankle. They lost 50-44 to Stony Brook on Tuesday night, shooting 34.1% from the floor and committing 17 turnovers.

It’s worth noting that Stony Brook now leads the nation in true road wins. They have six of them.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.