Creighton Wichita St Basketball

Missed buzzer-beater gives Wichita State big win over No. 12 Creighton

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A couple of our favorite water-cooler debates were fired back up by the end of this classic 67-64 Wichita State win.

Should a coach call for the foul when his team is up three with under :10 left on the clock? Are referees blind and/or willfully destroying college basketball?

With Carl Hall at the line, having missed the front end of his two foul shots, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall clearly and forcefully instructed his team to foul if Hall missed the second. He did, and Ethan Wragge got the rebound. As the ball advanced up the floor, a WSU player laid hands on his opponent, and… nothing. Wragge got a long look from three that failed to fall, and the game was over.

Was the tense ending more exciting for us, the viewers? Heck yes. Was it the right call? Heck no. Had Wragge made the buzzer-beater, and WSU lost in OT, Marshall’s head might have spun around before exploding, and who could have blamed him?

While we’re speculating, an OT period likely wouldn’t have worked in the Bluejays’ favor, because starting guards Jahenns Manigat and Grant Gibbs had already fouled out by the time Hall stepped to the line. Gibbs left with 14 points, but Manigat had a horrible game, scoring zero points in 13 minutes. Still, he also had zero turnovers.

The Shockers showed a very well-rounded squad to the home crowd at Koch Arena. Carl Hall had a 17/13 double-double in his second game back from a hand injury that cost him seven games. His frontcourt mate Cleanthony Early had 13, and the backcourt duo of Malcolm Armstead and Demetric Williams combined for 25 points.

Doug McDermott burnished his All-American credentials in the loss, scoring 25 points and hitting 4-5 from deep. If WSU’s Marshall wants to hang his hat on one thing from this game, it would have to be his team’s success in keeping the ball in Wragge’s (1-6 from deep) hands for the final shot when McDermott was flat killing it from outside.

The win puts Wichita State in a 6-1 tie with Creighton atop the Missouri Valley standings. Better yet, the two teams don’t meet again until WSU travels to Omaha on March 2. Season-ending battle for supremacy between two top-notch MVC squads? Yes, please.

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

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.