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Late Night Snacks: No. 21 Iowa State remains undefeated

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 21 Iowa State 90, BYU 88

With Melvin Ejim, Dustin Hogue and DeAndre Kane all disqualified in crunch time, Iowa State was on the ropes in Provo. But the Cyclones were able to do enough to hang on, with a Daniel Edozie blocking a Tyler Haws jumper in the final seconds to preserve the lead. Georges Niang scored 19 points and dished out eight assists for Iowa State, which also limited the BYU tandem of Haws and Matt Carlino to 4-for-18 shooting in the second half.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) North Carolina Central 82, N.C. State 72 (OT) 

Levelle Moton’s Eagles earned their first-ever win over an ACC school and the foul line was the difference, as North Carolina Central outscored the Wolfpack by 18 (41-23) from the charity stripe. T.J. Warren scored 13 points before fouling out for the Wolfpack, and when he’s kept relatively quiet N.C. State is going to struggle.

2) No. 20 Baylor 69, Charleston Southern 64

Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson showed up for the Bears, combining for 32 points, 19 rebounds and nine blocked shots to help Baylor hold off Charleston Southern. Brady Heslip added 11 off the bench, while Will Saunders led the Buccaneers with 16 off the bench. Baylor shot just 38.9% inside of the arc, a number that’s a bit low when considering the amount of size at Scott Drew’s disposal.

3) No. 8 Ohio State 63, American 52

Amir Williams (16 points, seven rebounds) and Shannon Scott (13, nine and four assists) led the way for the Buckeyes, who played well enough defensively to take care of the Eagles in Columbus. One concern that needs to be addressed is the recent offensive production of LaQuinton Ross. Ross shot 1-for-7 on Wednesday, and on the season he’s shooting just 26.7% from the field. OSU will need more from Ross when taking on better teams.

STARRED: 

1) Alec Peters (Valparaiso): The Crusaders fell 100-92 at Evansville but Peters’ performance should be noted, as he scored 30 points one day after returning from his hometown of Washington, Ill., which was hit hard by a tornado on Sunday. D.J. Balentine led Evansville with 32 points, four rebounds and three assists.

2) Dylon Cormier (Loyola-MD): 34 points, ten rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Greyhounds’ 89-83 overtime win at UMBC.

3) Zaid Hearst (Quinnipiac): 22 points, 14 rebounds and three assists in the Bobcats’ 71-68 win over Hampton.

STRUGGLED: 

1) Central Arkansas: Turned the ball over 24 times in their 94-57 home loss to Louisiana Tech.

2) N.C. State’s three-point shooting: The Wolfpack shot 3-for-20 from beyond the arc, with players not named Ralston Turner (2-for-8) combining to shoot 1-for-12.

3) Fairfield: Remove Marcus Gilbert (8-for-17) from the equation and the Stags shot just 9-for-34 from the field in their 63-49 loss to Holy Cross.

NOTABLES: 

  • Remember Brendan Lane? The former UCLA Bruin is off to a good start at Pepperdine, with his most recent outing being a 23-point, nine-rebound, six-block effort in the Waves’ 83-77 loss to San Jose State.
  • Another big man who’s played well of late is Cincinnati senior Justin Jackson, who accounted for 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in the Bearcats’ 81-62 win over Campbell.
  • Princeton freshman forward Will Barrett will eventually be one of the best players in the Ivy League. Barrett scored 22 points in the Tigers’ 81-80 overtime win over Lafayette.
  • Dayton moved to 4-0 with an 82-72 win at Georgia Tech. Next up for the Flyers is an appearance in the Maui Invitational, which should give them a shot at at least one quality win (if not more).
  • Dave Sobolewski scored 25 points to lead Northwestern to an easy win at UIC, 93-58.
  • Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi were excellent in the Crimson’ 86-68 win over Bryant, with Saunders going for 25 points and Moundou-Missi 23 (he also had nine rebounds and four blocks).
  • Talib Zanna scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Pittsburgh to a 77-58 win over Lehigh.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.