Kendall Williams, Wes Eikmeier

Player of the Week: Kendall Williams, New Mexico

Leave a comment

Player of the Week: Kendall Williams, New Mexico

A lot of players put up impressive performances this week, but there really wasn’t much of a discussion as to who the Player of the Week would be. Kendall Williams in a landslide. The junior point guard scored 46 points — shooting 12-16 from the floor and 10-13 from three — as the Lobos went into Moby Arena and knocked off Colorado State, 91-82.

The 26 points that Williams scored in the second half would have been a career-high. He scored 20 points after picking up his fourth foul midway through the second half. He hit three threes to cap off a game-winning, 14-2 run in the final five minutes. And, more importantly, he carried New Mexico to a win over the second-place team in the MWC despite the fact they were man-handled on the glass and gave up 82 points. The Lobos now have complete control over the conference race, taking a two-game lead with just four games remaining.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team

G: Trey Burke, Michigan: The Wolverines bounced back from a stretch where they lost three out of four to beat both Penn State and Illinois this week. And while the youngsters on John Beilein’s roster continue to have their ups-and-downs in their first season as collegians, Trey Burke is still putting up huge numbers. He had 29 points and five assists in a win over Penn State, following that up with 26 points and eight assists to beat Illinois. On the week, he was 17-27 from the floor, 5-7 from three, 16-19 from the line and committed just a single turnover in 78 minutes.

G: Victor Oladipo, Indiana: Oladipo was, once again, the star for the Hoosiers as they went into East Lansing and knocked off Michigan State, taking over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. He had 19 points, nine boards and five steals in the win, including six points in the final minute and what turned out to be the game-winning tip-in with just under a minute left in the game.

F: Chris Crawford, Memphis: Crawford finished with 19 points, four boards and four assists in a win over Southern Miss on Saturday, which came a game after he nearly notched a triple-double against Houston. Crawford had 11 points, 13 boards, nine assists and three blocks against the Cougars. Making things all the more frustrating? Crawford could have had the triple-double had Adonis Thomas been willing to make a layup in the final seconds after Houston had conceded. Good sportsmanship prevailed, however.

F: Otto Porter, Georgetown: Porter has been simply sensational over the last seven weeks or so, but on Saturday, he had his breakout game. Porter scored 33 of Georgetown’s 57 points as the Hoyas went into the Carrier Dome and knocked off Syracuse. He added eight boards, five steals and two assists while shooting 12-19 from the floor and 5-10 from three. The win also gave Georgetown sole possession of first place in the Big East and thrust Porter into the National Player of the Year discussion.

C: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: Turns out that Kentucky’s season isn’t quite over yet, as the Wildcats beat both Vanderbilt and Missouri at home this week. Cauley-Stein had 20 points, seven boards and three blocks in the win over Vandy, following that up with 12 boards and seven blocks to help hold off the Tigers. He wasn’t the only Wildcats with a big week, but his emergence as a force in the paint helps to nullify the loss of Nerlens Noel.

Bench: Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Anthony Drmic (Boise State), Shabazz Napier (UConn), Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Brooks’ big game leads No. 15 Oregon over Fresno State 78-73

Dillon Brooks, Torren Jones
AP Photo/Chris Pietsch
Leave a comment

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Dillon Brooks had 21 points and 10 rebounds and No. 15 Oregon staved off a late rally by Fresno State for a 78-73 victory Monday night.

Chris Boucher and Elgin Cook added 14 points each for the Ducks (6-0), who led 70-52 with 6:35 to play before Marvelle Harris scored 13 points in a 16-2 run by the Bulldogs (5-1) that cut the deficit to four.

A driving layup by Brooks put Oregon up 74-68 with 1:20 left, and the Ducks held on by making four of six free throws in the final 45 seconds.

Harris, who didn’t score until the 12:04 mark of the second half, led Fresno State with 18 points, while Paul Watson added 11 and Torren Jones had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 41-32 behind Jones and Karachi Edo, who had nine rebounds and 10 points.

Freshman Tyler Dorsey, Oregon’s leading scorer at 15.2 points per game, finished with 12.

The Ducks scored the game’s first 11 points, went up by as many as 14 and took a 37-25 halftime lead. The Ducks did most of the damage from inside the 3-point arc (9 of 10) and at the free throw line, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-5.

Fresno State, meanwhile, missed its first six shots from the field, shot 29.0 percent (9 of 31) and saw its top two scorers, Harris and Cezar Guerrero, held scoreless for the first 20 minutes.

The senior guards came in averaging 20.2 and 13.2 points per game, respectively.


Fresno State: Harris, the preseason choice for Mountain West Conference player of the year, needed one point to crack the Bulldog’s all-time top 10 in scoring. After going scoreless in the first half, he finished with 18 to rank 10th with 1,425, one behind Tod Bernard in ninth place, in 107 career games. . The Bulldogs fell to 2-10 all-time against Oregon. They last time they beat the Ducks, who have won the last five meetings, was in 1995. . Fresno State hasn’t beaten a Top 25 team on the road since 2000.

Oregon: The double-double was the second of the season Brooks and fourth of his career. . The Ducks are 40-2 against nonconference opponents since moving into Matthew Knight Arena five years ago. . The 6-0 start is Oregon’s second in the last nine years. The Ducks started 13-0 two seasons ago.

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
Leave a comment

Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.