Syracuse Tyler Ennis

Late Night Snacks: Baylor and Syracuse advance to Maui Invitational final

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GAME OF THE DAY: Baylor 67, Dayton 66

Baylor trailed by double-digits in the second half, but some late-game 3-pointers from Royce O’Neale and Gary Franklin set up Cory Jefferson’s heroics. He corralled a miss from Kenny Chery to put Baylor up 67-66 with 16 seconds to play. Baylor lead for a total of 2:08 on the evening. Dayton outplayed the Bears, but the Flyers will head to the third-place game to play Cal. Baylor and Syracuse meet in a battle of two top-20 teams on Wednesday night in the Maui Invitational final.

What would Maui be without a crazy finish?

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 10 Wisconsin 63, Saint Louis 57: The Badgers handed the Billikens their first loss of the season, while they stay undefeated. Frank Kaminsky led the way with 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

No. 12 Wichita State 75, BYU 62: The Shockers won the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, holding the Cougars without a field goal for the final eight minutes. BYU entered the game scoring 93.2 points per game. Ron Baker had a career-high 23 points.

Syracuse 92, Cal 81: The Golden Bears kept it close even without Richard Solomon, but career highs from Jerami Grant and Tyler Ennis put the Orange in the Maui Invitational final against Baylor.

STARRED

Jon Severe, Fordham: If you don’t know about this Fordham freshman, now you do. The 6-foot-3 Brooklyn native led Fordham over Manhattan with 30 points and five rebounds.

Metro State: The top team in Division II defeated its third Division I program during the NIT Season Tip-Off with an 83-69 win over MAAC contender Canisius. Mitch McCarron led the way with 28 points. He’s averaging 27.5 points per game against D1 teams this year.

Jordan Dykstra, South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits picked up their second straight win behind the senior forward’s 32-point, 13-rebound performance.

STRUGGLED

Tyler Haws, BYU: He scored 17 points, but he struggled, shooting 3-of-15 from the field in a loss to Wichita State.

Rutgers: Fairleigh Dickinson defeated Rutgers on Tuesday, the program’s first win over a Division I program in 21 games. The Knights lost to Division II Metro State earlier this season.

Rico Gathers’ celebration: Courtesy of Mark Titus:

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 13 Connecticut stayed undefeated with a 76-66 win over Loyola (Md.). Shabazz Napier only scored four points, but had seven points and seven assists along with three steals.

NOTABLES

  • Pittsburgh won the Legends Classic in Brooklyn in an 88-67 win over Stanford.
  • Boston College trailed at half, but defeated Sacred Heart behind Ryan Anderson’s 28 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Syracuse may have the best dunking team. Example A HERE. Example B HERE.
  • Gonzaga bounced back with a 113-81 win over Chaminade behind 18 points and seven assists from Kevin Pangos.
  • Marshall Henderson only logged 13 minutes, scoring eight points in an 84-50 win over North Carolina A&T.
  • Pendarvis Willaims scored 32 points, grabbed seven rebounds and five assists in Norfolk State’s win. OK, it was against against a D2 opponent, but the reigning MEAC Player of the Year is a legitimate pro prospect.
  • Elon bounced-back from a loss to Metro State with a 90-85 win over Georgia State. Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow had 34 points for Georgia State.
  • Noah Vonleh connected on his first collegiate three. More importantly, he posted his fifth double-double in Indiana’s 77-46 win over Evansville.
  • Chris Obekpa had six of St. John’s 15 blocks in the Red Storm’s 65-47 win over Longwood.

Mountain West issues statement on Colorado State/New Mexico altercation

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The Mountain West issued a statement on Monday in response to the altercation that happened after New Mexico’s win at Colorado State on Saturday.
Following the Lobos’ 84-71 road victory, Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal captured an incident on video between Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo and the New Mexico coaching staff.
Both sides claimed that the other was the instigator and the incident didn’t make anybody in the video look good.
For as bad as things might have looked, the Mountain West has decided not to hand down any sort of punishment. After an investigation, the conference could not truly determine the root cause of all the drama saying in the release, “A number of conflicting perspectives have emerged and, in some cases, there is no definitive proof as to the responsible party or parties.”
What has been determined is the entire incident created an undesirable athletic competition environment, and did not reflect favorably upon either basketball program, either member institution or the Conference. There were a number of errors in judgment throughout the course of the afternoon and poor decisions made by various individuals. Such conduct is unacceptable.
The Colorado State and New Mexico athletic departments have already initiated follow-up conversations with all appropriate parties to address the events of this past Saturday. Those will continue, with the institutions taking corrective measures they deem appropriate and advising the Conference office accordingly.
The Mountain West Board of Directors and Joint Council have been adamant in their emphasis on good sportsmanship and appropriate behavior. Those involved with this most recent incident will be under close scrutiny going forward – as will all Mountain West constituents.

Obviously there is a lot to sift through with this incident but hopefully these two teams don’t have any further incident when they play at New Mexico on Feb. 21st.

No. 22 Xavier’s slide continues with loss to short-handed No. 7 Creighton

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 16:  Chris Mack the head coach of the Xavier Musketeers  gives instructions to his team against the Creighton Blue Jays during the game at Cintas Center on January 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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It’s officially time to be concerned about No. 22 Xavier.

The Musketeers have now lost three straight games, all to the top three teams in the Big East, and currently sit at 13-5 on the year with just a single good win to their name: Clemson.

But prior to Monday’s loss to No. 7 Creighton, Xavier had lost all of their games on the road to teams that will either get a top five seed in the NCAA tournament (Villanova, Butler, Baylor) or play at altitude (Colorado). On Monday, the Musketeers not only lost 72-67 to Creighton, but they did so on a day where the Bluejays lost star point guard and all-american candidate Mo Watson to a knee injury midway through the first half and spent the majority of the game playing with star center Justin Patton saddled with fouls.

Should I mention that Creighton, who is third-nationally in three-point percentage, shot 5-for-19 from beyond the arc, or that their two best healthy guards – Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas – shot a combined 10-for-31?

All of the stars were aligned. Coming how to an afternoon game against a top ten team on a holiday after losing back-to-back games on the road, and that top ten team lost their most important player early in the first half?

This should have been where Xavier landed that first elite win.

Instead, the Musketeers are left scratching their head again.

And it begs the question: If not now, when?

The Musketeers still play Villanova and Butler at home, visit Creighton and have the Crossroads Classic at Cincinnati. There are opportunities for them to get wins that they need.

But if they cannot get a win over a short-handed Creighton team at home, who are they actually going to be?

VIDEO: No. 7 Creighton beats No. 22 Xavier, loses all-american Mo Watson to a knee injury

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Creighton point guard Mo Watson was carried off of the Cintas Center floor on Monday afternoon after an ugly-looking injury in the first half.

Watson drove the lane and landed on his left leg. He immediately grabbed the knee in clear distress:

The Bluejays would hold on to win a thrilling, hard-fought game, 72-67, without Watson. That’s impressive, and it means that they move into a tie for first place in the Big East with Villanova, but the story of this game was Watson.

According to a reporter at the game, Watson told head coach Greg McDermott that he “heard it pop“. Losing Watson to any significant injury would be catastrophic for the No. 8 Bluejays. Watson entered Monday averaging 13.4 points and a nation’s-best 8.8 assists. He’s been in the top ten of our Player of the Year Power Rankings all season long, is a clear-cut candidate for an all-american team and is the engine for the high-powered offense that has made Creighton a Final Four contender.

The injury may be somewhat controversial as well. Two minutes before the video clip above, Watson banged knees with a Xavier defender and had to be helped off of the floor. He was tested on the sideline and allowed to return to the game, albeit with a noticeable limp.

UPDATE: Greg McDermott told FS1 after the game that Watson’s ligaments are intact, but that they are concerned about the meniscus.

College Basketball Coaches Poll: Kansas vaults to No. 1

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 03:  Devonte' Graham #4 of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with Frank Mason III #0 after making a three-pointer during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Allen Fieldhouse on December 3, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Kansas vaulted up to the No. 1 spot in the Coaches Poll for the first time this season, receiving 23 of the 32 first place votes.

Villanova comes in at No. 2 while UCLA, Gonzaga and Kentucky finish up the top five. Bay.or, who was No. 1 in the country last week, is No. 6 while Duke fell all the way to No. 18 with a pair of losses last week.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

1. Kansas (23 first-place votes)
2. Villanova (4)
3. UCLA (2)
4. Gonzaga (3)
5. Kentucky
6. Baylor
7. Creighton
8. West Virginia
9. North Carolina
10. Oregon
11. Louisville
12. Florida State
13. Arizona
14. Butler
15. Notre Dame
16. Virginia
17. Wisconsin
18. Duke
19. Xavier
20. Cincinnati
21. Florida
22. Purdue
23. Saint Mary’s
24. South Carolina
25. Maryland

College Basketball AP Top 25: Villanova is back to the top spot

VILLANOVA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Kris Jenkins #2 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Temple Owls at The Pavilion on December 13, 2016 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Temple Owls 78-57. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Villanova vaulted back into the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll after falling out for a week when they lost at Creighton.

Kansas comes in at No. 2 while UCLA, Gonzaga and Kentucky finish up the top five. Bay.or, who was No. 1 in the country last week, is No. 6 while Duke fell all the way to No. 18 with a pair of losses last week.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBC Sports Top 25

1. Villanova (28 first-place votes)
2. Kansas (32)
3. UCLA (3)
4. Gonzaga (2)
5. Kentucky
6. Baylor
t-7. Creighton
t-7. West Virginia
9. North Carolina
10. Florida State
11. Oregon
12. Louisville
13. Butler
14. Arizona
15. Notre Dame
16. Virginia
17. Wisconsin
18. Duke
19. Florida
20. Cincinnati
21. Purdue
22. Xavier
23. Saint Mary’s
24. South Carolina
25. Maryland