GAME OF THE NIGHT: Providence 82, Boston College 78 OT
The Friars got 28 points from Bryce Cotton, seven of which came in the extra frame, as we got a thriller in the first game of the new Big East. BC forced the overtime when Olivier Hanlon, who finished with 23 points before fouling out, finished a three-point play with 18 seconds to tie the game. Cotton airballed a three at the other end, but redeemed himself by scoring four straight points in overtime after the Eagles had opened a 75-72 lead.
A paragraph worth of a recap doesn’t do this game justice, which is precisely what you should expect when Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery are on the call. Ryan Anderson chipped in with 21 points for BC, while LeDontae Henton had 15 points and 13 boards for Providence. Believe it or not, this could end up being an important win in March as both teams should be in NCAA tournament contention in March.
THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Fresno State 98, UC-Irvine 97 OT
How do you feel about half-court, overtime buzzer-beaters? Good? Me too. The crazy part about this game is that it capped an insane final minute that saw five lead chances. Five!
1) No. 19 Oregon 82, Georgetown 75: The Ducks got 55 combined points from their five incoming transfers, picking up a key non-conference win over a very good Georgetown team. Josh Smith finished with 25 points in his first game with the Hoyas.
2) No. 18 UConn 78, Maryland 77: Shabazz Napier led the way for the Huskies with 18 points, seven boards and seven assists as UConn held on despite blowing a 17 point lead in the final 10 minutes of the second half.
3) No. 19 Wisconsin 86, St. John’s 75: Five Badgers finished in double-figures as Wisconsin went 11-23 from beyond the arc in a win that they dominated from the start. St. John’s whittled an 18 point lead to four late in the second half, but Wisconsin answered with a pair of threes to push the lead back to 10.
1) Casey Prather doubled his previous career-high as he went for 28 points in No. 10 Florida’s 77-69 win over North Florida. The Gators needed every single one of those buckets, as they are dealing with starting the season short-handed. Patric Young had a dominating, two-point and two-rebound performance.
2) Trevor Cooney went off for 27 points, hitting 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, as No. 8 Syracuse erased an early 14 point deficit in an 82-60 win over Cornell. It’s worth noting that Tyler Ennis went 0-for-6 from the floor but finished with eight boards and seven assists to just two turnovers.
3) Kadeem Jack went for 30 points and 12 boards as Rutgers beat Florida A&M 92-84. The Scarlet Knights have a lot of work to do, but that work is easier when Jack can go for 30.
1) Miami won the ACC regular season and tournament championships a season ago. The Hurricanes kicked off their defense of those titles by losing to St. Francis NY in overtime at home.
2) Kansas State lost their opener at home to Northern Colorado 60-58. You know who didn’t struggle? 6-foot-4 power forward Derrick Barden, who finished with 16 points and 17 boards for UNC.
3) Whoever was guarding Davante Gardner. Marquette’s big man finished the night with 25 points in 23 minutes off the bench, going 5-for-7 from the field and 15-for-20 from the charity stripe. Efficient. Todd Mayo added 20 off the bench in the 63-56 win over Southern.
- In his first game as the point guard for No. 25 Baylor, JuCo transfer Kenny Chery put together 14 points, four assists and just a pair of turnovers in the Bear’s 72-60 win over Colorado. Not an easy thing to do against a team with that much perimeter defensive talent.
- Aaron Gordon had 13 points, 10 boards and four blocks as No. 6 Arizona beat Cal Poly 73-62.
- For the first time in Duke history, the Blue Devils had four players — Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon — score 20 points in the same game in their 111-77 win over Davidson.
- Andrew Wiggins finished with 16 points and just nine FGAs as No. 5 Kansas beat UL-Monroe 80-63.
- Julius Randle put on a show (23 and 15) but how about Marcus Lee (17 points) and Alex Poythress (10 points, 13 boards) showing out in Kentucky’s win over UNC-Asheville.
- No. 7 Michigan struggled early, but ran over UMass-Lowell, 69-42, behind 17 points from Caris LaVert.
- Marcus Smart had a quiet night as his teammates whipped up on Mississippi Valley State by 55 points.
- Gary Harris finished with 20 points, 10 boards and six assists in a blowout win over McNeese State.
- Doug McDermott had 20. Creighton dropped 101 and won by 30.
- St. Mary’s started the year nicely, knocking off Louisiana Tech by 13 behind 28 points from Brad Waldow and 18 points, seven boards and six assists from Stephen Holt.
- Kyle Anderson had 12 points, 12 boards and seven assists, but UCLA needed Damion Lee to airball a wide-open three with eight seconds left to hang on to a 72-67 win.
- Buddy Hield had 19 points and Ryan Spangler added 15 points and 12 boards in a come-from-behind win over Alabama, 82-73, in Texas.
- Bucknell put a scare into Stanford on the road, losing to the Cardinal 72-68.
- An impressive start to the season for Khem Birch, who had 13 points, 17 boards and four blocks in an ugly win over Portland State. Roscoe Smith added 16 points and 10 boards for UNLV.
- A cool 28 points and 13 boards for BYU’s Tyler Haws in a dominating win over Weber State.
- T.J. Warren had 21 of his 27 points in the second half as N.C. State avoided a loss to Appalachian State.
- Texas picked up a solid win over Atlantic Sun favorite Mercer, 76-73.
- Florida-Gulf Coast got worked over by Nebraska as the Cornhuskers unveiled their brand new arena. Is #DunkCity still #DunkCity?
- Anthony Drmic kicked off the season in a nice way, going for 34 points as Boise State scored 116 on Friday.
- Drake transfer Rayvonte Rice had 22 points and nine boards in his debut for Illinois while Drake transfer Joey King went for 20 in a win for Minnesota.
- J.J. Mann went for 21 points as Belmont knocked off Lipscomb in the first Battle of the Boulevard between Rick Byrd and Casey Alexander.
- James Bell and Jayvaughn Pinkston had 46 points combined as Villanova overcame a 1-for-7 night by Ryan Arcidiacono.