Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Indiana falls and eight overtime games on Thursday

3 Comments

Game of the Night: Marist 105, Iona 104 (2OT)

On a night that featured eight games that went to overtime this thriller in New Rochelle took the cake. A Chavaughn Lewis 65-footer as time expired in the first overtime tied the game, with Marist winning by a point when Lewis blocked a Sean Armand shot attempt at the end of the second overtime. Adam Kemp led the way for Marist with 29 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots, and Lamont Jones scored 37 off the bench to pace the Gaels. Iona allowed an opportunity to close the gap at the top of the MAAC slip away, as first-place Niagara lost at Rider.

Important Outcomes 

1. Illinois 74, No. 1 Indiana 72 

This was a win the Fighting Illini, who entered Thursday with a 2-7 record in Big Ten play, needed for their NCAA tournament resume. A Tyler Griffey layup as time expired gave Illinois the win in a game they trailed by as many as 13 in the second half. Indiana still has yet to beat an NCAA tournament-worthy team on the road, and the lack of such a victory could get them in trouble when it comes to landing in the Midwest Region on Selection Sunday.

2. No. 4 Duke 98, N.C. State 85 

In the first of two games the Blue Devils will play against teams whose fans stormed the court after beating Duke, Mike Krzyzewski’s team put together its best half of offense this season. Duke scored 58 first-half points, then held on as Richard Howell (23 points, nine rebounds) attempted to come back in the second half. But Howell fouling out on a flagrant 1 with 8:54 remaining essentially shut the door on the Wolfpack. Mason Plumlee led the Blue Devils with 30 points and nine rebounds, and both Seth Curry (26 points) and Quinn Cook (21) surpassed the 20-point mark as well.

3. Colorado 48, No. 19 Oregon 47 

Illinois wasn’t the only team to pick up a needed resume-building victory. Colorado led just once all night in Eugene: on an Andre Roberson layup with 23 seconds remaining. But all that matters for the Buffaloes is that they were able to get the win, which drops Oregon to 1-3 without point guard Dominic Artis and leaves Arizona alone atop the Pac-12. Roberson (ten points, 13 rebounds) was the lone Colorado player to reach double figures, and E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory scored 14 apiece to lead Oregon.

Other Notable Outcomes 

1. Murray State 79, Belmont 74 

Belmont may still have the best record in the OVC but the Racers made sure that it was understood who the defending champions are. Isaiah Canaan led all scorers with 26 points and hit the three-pointer that gave Murray State the lead for good with 35 seconds to go. Ian Clark led Belmont with 22 points, but the Bruins’ comeback from 16 down in the second half fell short.

2. San Diego 74, BYU 68 

The Cougars had the most damaging loss of the night when it comes to the NCAA tournament, falling by six at San Diego. Tyler Haws (27 points) and Brandon Davies (20) combined to shoot 18-of-31 from the field, but their teammates shot 8-of-31. Johnny Dee scored 19 to lead the victorious Toreros.

3. Texas A&M 70, No. 21 Missouri 68

The Tigers dropped to 0-5 in true road games, losing in College Station on a Fabyon Harris three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining. Harris led the Aggies with 17 points while Missouri once again struggled with turnovers. The Tigers turned the ball over 16 times, which resulted in 22 points for Texas A&M.

Starred

1. G Nate Wolters (South Dakota State) 

Wolters went off on Thursday, scoring 53 points on 17-of-28 shooting to lead the Jackrabbits past Fort Wayne, 80-74. Wolters also grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists. On Saturday Wolters and the Jackrabbits take on an Oakland team led by Travis Bader, who scored 47 (the previous high in college basketball this season) in a win over IUPUI on January 24.

2. F Jamal Olasewere (LIU Brooklyn) 

Olasewere shot 12-of-13 from the field in the Blackbirds’ 81-75 win at Central Connecticut State, scoring 25 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

3. C Adam Kemp (Marist) 

29 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots in the Red Foxes’ 105-104 double overtime win at Iona.

Struggled

1. Central Arkansas

The Bears had a rough night offensively, shooting 31.3% from the field and turning the ball over 20 times in their 72-36 loss at Stephen F. Austin.

2. F Milton Jennings and F Devin Booker (Clemson) 

These two controlled the first meeting between the Tigers and Virginia, combining for 36 points and 20 rebounds. To say the least that didn’t happen tonight as they combined for nine points and 12 rebounds in a 78-41 loss in Charlottesville.

3. Virginia Tech players not named Cadarian Raines or Erick Green

While Raines (14 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots) and Green (29 points) combined to score 43 points, their teammates accounted for just 12 points on 5-of-29 shooting in a 60-55 loss to Maryland.

Top 25 Scores

Illinois 74, No. 1 Indiana 72

No. 4 Duke 98, N.C. State 85

No. 6 Gonzaga 82, Pepperdine 56

Colorado 48, No. 19 Oregon 47

Texas A&M 70, No. 21 Missouri 68

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej

Roach scores 20 as Texas beats No. 8 Texas Tech 67-58

(Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

AUSTIN, Texas — Kerwin Roach II scored 20 points in a surprise return to the lineup and Texas got another home win over a Top 25 opponent in a week, beating No. 8 Texas Tech 67-58 Wednesday night.

Roach, who had missed the previous two games with a fracture in his left, non-shooting hand, was expected to miss a few more. But he suited up for pregame warmups and was cleared to play right before tipoff.

Roach gave the Longhorns a new threat both inside and out with his 3-point shooting and aggressive drives to the basket. The Longhorns — who beat then-No. 16 TCU 99-98 in double-overtime last Wednesday — also played their best defense in weeks, anchored by freshman center Mo Bamba under the basket. Bamba had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.

Texas (12-6, 2/3 Big 12) led by 13 early in the second half before the Red Raiders rallied to get within four. But the Longhorns got two big 3-pointers by Eric Davis, Jr., including one with 3:28 left that pushed the lead back to 10.

Jarrett Culver scored 16 points to lead Texas Tech (15-3, 4-2).

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are having their best season in years and second-year coach Chris Beard has the program contending for the Big 12 title. But they missed a chance to pick up an important road win and dropped their 22nd consecutive game in Austin. The Red Raiders haven’t beaten Texas in Austin since 1996, when both programs were in the old Southwest Conference.

Texas: The Longhorns will get a shot of confidence in an inconsistent season with another big win. Most of all the Longhorns showed they can protect a big lead, even if just barely. Texas let a double-digit second half lead get away in a crushing road loss at Oklahoma State last week.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech plays at Iowa State

Texas plays at No. 6 West Virginia

SMU lands massive résumé win at No. 7 Wichita State

AP Photo
Leave a comment

It’s too strong to say that SMU saved their season on Wednesday night.

The Mustangs already own a neutral court win over No. 14 Arizona. They also knocked off USC, Boise State and UCF, all of which will be varying degrees of “good win” come Selection Sunday. That loss to Northern Iowa doesn’t look good today, and it’s hard to imagine losses to Tulane and Temple – the latter of which came at home – are going to age gracefully, but in a year where it seems like everyone is mediocre at best, a marquee win combined with a stable of solid résumé wins could end up being enough.

That said, on Wednesday, SMU sure went a long way towards making sure they won’t have to sweat out the bracket reveal, as the Mustangs went into Koch Arena and knocked off No. 7 Wichita State, 83-78. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for SMU.

The star of the show was Shake Milton. A player that has had NBA hype for what seems like the better part of a decade, Milton had a career-high 33 points on Wednesday night, the best game of his career in what has been a breakout junior season. He did it on 11-for-14 shooting, making 5-for-6 from three and outdueling fellow NBA Draft prospect Landry Shamet, who finished with 20 points and 10 assists.

SMU now has two elite wins to pin at the top of the tournament profile – both of which came away from home – and it affords them a bit of breathing room as they matriculate through American play.

This win isn’t just a big deal for SMU.

It matters for the American has a whole as well.

Heading into today, it looked like the conference was trending towards getting just two bids to the Big Dance – Wichita State and Cincinnati – and that, in turn, created a problem for everyone else in the conference. If there are only two good teams in the league then there are only two teams that American bubble dwellers can beat and improve their résumé. We won’t know how much this affects SMU’s computer numbers until they update, but it is safe to assume that a win over a team that is top 20 in both the RPI and KenPom will help significantly. Entering Tuesday, SMU was rated 83rd in the RPI.

Assuming that Jarrey Foster’s knee sprain doesn’t turn out to be serious – he left the game after six minutes and did not return – than this day could not have possibly gone better for the Mustangs.

On the other hand, it does raise some questions about this Wichita State team.

Specifically defensively.

As we noted earlier today, Wichita’s defense hasn’t exactly been great this season. They entered today ranked outside the top 25 in defensive efficiency, and the return of Markis McDuffie, who has yet to return to the starting lineup, has not exactly helped matters.

But it really came to a head on Wednesday night. SMU scored 83 points on 60 possessions, or 1.383 points-per-possession, which is the worst ass-kicking that the Shockers have received under Gregg Marshall, who has been employed by the school for a decade. The only time anyone came close to that involved Doug McDermott going for 41 points and shooting 15-for-18 from the floor.

And that game came on the road.

I wrote a column earlier this season wondering whether or not we could start discussing Wichita State as potentially the best team in the country. That column was predicated on the idea that the Shockers were going to be one of the nation’s best defensive teams.

Because they always are.

During this six-year run of consecutive NCAA tournaments, the Shockers have never finished lower than 26th in defensive efficiency. The last four years they’ve finished in the top 15, and that is despite playing in the Missouri Valley. (KenPom adjusts his efficiency numbers for opponent strength.)

Wichita State was 26th entering today.

They’re now 55th.

Only two teams have ever reached a national title game with a lower defensive efficiency.

This is a problem that badly needs fixing, but if McDuffie wasn’t the answer, is there one?

Texas Tech honors Andrew Jones before game against Texas

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Texas Tech became the latest team to show support towards Texas sophomore Andrew Jones, who was diagnosed with leukemia last week.

The Red Raiders are facing the Longhorns on Wednesday as they wore shooting shirts with Jones’ No. 1 and name on the back, joining Oklahoma State as recent opponents to show support.

So far, over $104,000 has been raised in just over five days for the Andrew Jones and Family Support Fund, which has been started by the University of Texas to help the family pay for medical expenses.

No. 1 Villanova leads by 44, beats Ewing, Georgetown 88-56

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON — Top-ranked Villanova led by as many as 44 points — 44! — and gave Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing a rude welcome back to the schools’ rivalry, handing the Hoyas their worst loss in more than 40 years, 88-56 on Wednesday night.

Jalen Brunson led the way with 18 points and seven assists for Villanova (17-1, 5-1 Big East), which finished 17 for 33 on 3s, while Georgetown went 4 for 15.

Mikal Bridges scored 17 for the Wildcats, winners of seven consecutive games against the Hoyas, Villanova’s longest streak in a series that dates to 1922.

The last time Ewing faced Villanova in any capacity was in the last game of his college playing career at Georgetown, a surprising 66-64 victory for the underdog Wildcats in the 1985 NCAA championship game. It was quite clear, quite quickly, on Wednesday that there would be no such tight outcome —nor any chance of an upset by Georgetown (12-6, 2-5).

This is Ewing’s first season as a head coach at any level, and he opted to go with an easy-as-can-be non-conference schedule to try to build his players’ confidence. Now that league play is underway, especially against a foe like Villanova, the gap between the Hoyas and the best teams is obvious.

It was 42-20 at halftime, and Georgetown to that point had more turnovers (nine) than made baskets, shooting 8 for 26, including 0 for 8 on 3s.

Villanova just kept pushing the margin after the break, going up by 30, then 40, and then reaching the apex at 88-44 on a layup by Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree with about 3½ minutes remaining. Less than a minute later, Villanova coach Jay Wright finally sent on the subs and pulled any remaining starters.

INJURED AND ILL

Villanova: Reserves Tim Delaney and Jermaine Samuels sat out with a virus.

Georgetown: Backup PG Trey Dickerson left in the first half with a back spasm and did not return.

BIG PICTURE

Villanova: Since its only loss, 101-93 at Butler on Dec. 30, Villanova has won four games in a row, propelled by an efficient offense that gets a lot of its work done from beyond the arc.

Georgetown: This was the Hoyas’ largest margin of defeat since a 33-point loss to Maryland, 104-71, on Dec. 10, 1974.

UP NEXT

Villanova: Travels to UConn on Saturday in a matchup between former Big East rivals and the Wildcats’ first game at Hartford in five years. Villanova is 12-0 in non-conference games heading into the last one on their schedule.

Georgetown: Hosts St. John’s on Saturday, the teams’ second meeting in less than two weeks. The Hoyas won 69-66 at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 9

NCAA pushes up college hoops start date as Champions Classic will open the season

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

The NCAA is pushing up the start of the college basketball regular season to begin on the Tuesday before the second Friday in November.

That means the Champions Classic will open the college basketball season in 2018-19 as announced in an official release on Wednesday. So now, we get Duke vs. Kentucky and Michigan State vs. Kansas in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to open the college basketball regular season?

Yes, please.

This is a very smart move for the NCAA as men’s and women’s basketball can now open the regular season a bit earlier. The made-for-TV, neutral-court spectacle of the Champions Classic is also the perfect programming to get casual sports fans to tune in for the opening night of college basketball.

There will also be a new level of intrigue for the Champions Classic with all four superpowers making their season debuts in the event next season. Instead of getting a regular-season tune-up to begin to campaign, all of these teams will get thrown straight into the fire.

Hopefully, the sport can continue to make moves like this to generate casual interest and develop more intriguing non-conference possibilities. College basketball’s regular season has suffered from too many lulls in the past. At least now the regular season will start with a bang.