Mark Lyons Solomon Hill

Solomon Hill, Mark Lyons help No. 7 Arizona outlast Stanford

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For a team that has so much youth in its regular rotation, it was Arizona’s two seniors who powered the Wildcats to a win over an upstart Stanford team Wednesday night.

Mark Lyons scored a season-high 25 points and Solomon Hill had 23, the two accounting for nearly 66 percent of Arizona’s overall offensive output in a 73-66 win at McKale Center in Tuscon, Ariz.

Hill played the last four minutes of regulation with four fouls, but avoided fouling out. His emphatic dunk with 1:08 to play to all but put the final nail in Stanford’s coffin.

The Cardinal did not go down without a fight, though.

Stanford used the same energy it had found in its previous two games to jump out to a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes Wednesday night.

Guard Aaron Bright was hot both off the dribble and from three-point range, scoring seven of those first ten for the Cardinal. His dribble penetration opened up perimeter opportunities for teammates all night and Bright finished with 16 points.

A key matchup coming into Wednesday night’s game is how reigining Pac-12 Player of the Week Josh Huestis and versatile junior Dwight Powell would fare against the young but talented Arizona front line of Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley.

Tarczewski and Ashley combined for six points on just 2-of-9 shooting from the floor, while Huestis finished with his fifth double-double of the season, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Powell was the Cardinal’s most effective offensive option, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Without that offensive help from the Arizona front line, more weight fell on the shoulders of the veteran guard Lyons, who responded as he often has in Pac-12 play. He did his best to counter Bright’s hot shooting from the outside with 9-of-13 shooting from the floor.

With 15:39 to play, a Bright three-pointer pushed the Stanford lead to three, 37-34. On the next possession, a Lyons assist led to an Ashley. The Xavier transfer then followed that up with a layup that gave Arizona its first lead of the game, 38-37, with 14:35 to play.

Dwight Powell’s athleticism and versatility became important for the Cardinal through the middle of the second half. Stanford went to him on four of five straight possessions, attacking Ashley and forcing him to foul out with 6:40 to go.

Solomon Hill became Arizona’s most effective scorer in the latter half of the second, scoring five straight points to tie the game at 54 with 4:44 to play.

Angelo Chol competed in the paint to grab eight rebounds and add six points.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

VIDEO: New Mexico loses game on blown call by officials

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Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.

New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.

Here’s the situation: New Mexico is up by three with 12 seconds left and the ball under their own basket. Their allowed to run the baseline, so Craig Neal calls a play where the inbounder throws the ball to a player running out of bounds.

Totally league as long as the player establishes out of bounds before touching the ball. The referee rules that he doesn’t.

Here’s the video:

The problem?

According to the rules, Xavier Adams — the player receiving the pass from Cullen Neal — only needed one foot on the floor out of bounds in order to establish himself as an inbounder that was able to catch that ball. He got one foot down (see the picture above), but the referees appeared to rule that he needed to have both feet down.

That was incorrect, according to the Mountain West office.

“While this was a very close judgment call made at full speed, it has been determined after careful review of slow-motion video replays the call was in fact incorrect,” the league said in a release. “The New Mexico player did get one foot down (two feet are not required) out-of-bounds before receiving the ball, thus establishing his location in accordance NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 4.23.1.a and 7.1.1.  By rule, the officials were not permitted to go to the monitor during the game to review this play.”

And here’s the kicker: When SDSU got the ball back, they hit a three to send the game into overtime, where the Aztecs won. But if New Mexico had won this game, they’d be sitting at 8-2 in MWC play, one game behind SDSU in the loss column with a return game against them in The Pit.

Instead, they’re now three games back with seven to play, meaning that the race is effectively over.

It’s tough to blame the referees here — it was a bang-bang call that is only clear in slow-motion replay — but man, that’s a big call to miss.