Jerry Storm

Iowa beats Wisconsin, honoring Chris Street’s 20th anniversary

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The story coming out of Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday evening had nothing to do with the basketball game being played on the floor and everything to do with honoring No. 40.

Twenty years ago Saturday, Chris Street was killed when a snow-plow struck the car that he was driving. If you don’t know the story, watch this. In short, Street was a typical Midwestern sports star: humble, hard-working and a fan favorite. He was averaging 14.5 points and 9.5 boards as a junior when he died.

Iowa honored and celebrated Street’s life at halftime, as the 20 players that have won the Chris Street Award since his passing and more than 50 members of Street’s family were in attendance. They all wore matching t-shirts that the team had on during warm-ups. A video tribute was played in the arena as well.

And you can’t help but think that the added energy and spirit in the building had something to do with what happened on the court, as the Hawkeyes jumped out to a 30-10 lead on the Badgers on Saturday night. Wisconsin hit just three of their first 19 shots from the field, digging themselves a hole that was simply too big to climb out of.

This was an enormous win for an Iowa team looking to change the direction of their program. Fran McCaffery has as much talent on the roster as the Hawkeyes have seen in a decade, and after a couple of close calls, they finally notched a win over one of the Big Ten’s elite. Aaron White led the way with 17 points and seven boards, hitting the final two free throws to seal a 70-66 win.

The outcome throws a wrench into an already-complicated Big Ten race. Wisconsin entered as the league’s last undefeated team, having knocked off Indiana in Assembly Hall on Tuesday and whooped up on Illinois in the Kohl Center last Saturday. They were playing their best basketball of the season and looked like a serious contender for the Big Ten title.

Until they rolled in Carver-Hawkeye Arena as Iowa honored a fallen member of their program.

You don’t have to be one of our more spiritual readers to see how much Saturday night’s performance resembled the move “The 6th Man”. The only difference? Chris Street was probably a better player than Kadeem Hardison.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: