Dorian Finney-Smith

Late Night Snacks: Kentucky, Florida get back in the win column

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 19 Florida 67, No. 13 Kansas 61

Florida played the first month with many players sidelined for various reason. Chris Walker, the Gators hope, will be another piece they get back soon. On Tuesday night, Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill returned from injuries to team up in the back court. The length of the front court caused problems for the Kansas offense. The 1-3-1 defense sparked a 21-0 run in the first half. Wilbekin ended with 18 points, six assists and four steals. Andrew Wiggins also finished with his first collegiate double-double.

Don’t worry Kansas fans. Rob Dauster says so: Read here

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 11 Kentucky 70, Boise State 55: The Wildcats bounced-back from Friday night’s loss to Baylor. The young UK team held the nation’s top offense to 55 points. James Young with a game-high 21 points, Julius Randle with another double-double and Willie Cauley-Stein with nine blocks and blonde hair.

No. 20 Gonzaga 80, West Virginia 76: The Zags trailed for much of the ball game, but three consecutive 3-pointers from Kevin Pangos capped an 18-2 run late in the second half.

STARRED

Andrew WigginsKansas: The freshman went for 26 points (20 in the second half) and 11 rebounds, both career highs, in the Jayhawks loss. It was his first double-double and his threes down the stretch gave KU a shot after a horrid first half.

Jerrell Benimon, Towson: A triple-double for Benimon. It was against Central Pennsylvania College. But still 17 points, 18 and 10 assists is a tough feat to accomplish.

Z. Mason, Chattanooga: Went for 41 points and 12 rebounds against Hiwassee College, a liberal arts school of less than 400 students. He also goes by just Z, that should also be noted.

STRUGGLED

Kansas offense: Jayhawks committed 24 turnovers, 16 to help dig a 15-point hole in the first half. The turnovers went along with an eight-minute stretch without a basket.

Jon Severe, Fordham: The heralded freshman is in a major slump. Continued with 2-of-9 for seven points in a 77-73 win over Colgate.

Travis Bader, Oakland: Mid-major standout finished 2-of-11 from the field for 11 points in an 81-54 loss to Indiana. He was 0-for-10 from three, which breaks his 62 game streak of connecting on at least one 3-pointer.

NOTABLES

    • First off, Seton Hall guard Tom Maayan played his last game. He’s going back to Israel to fulfill his military service. Best of luck. Stay safe.
    • Illinois moves to 9-1 in a 72-65 win over Dartmouth. Rayvonte Rice led five members of the Illini in double figures with 13 points.
    • Semaj Christon had 19 points, but Xavier had to rally in the second half to defeat Evansville 63-60.
    • Austin Hollins’ 20-point, 14-rebound performance leads the Golden Gophers in Minnesota’s 75-59 win over South Dakota State.
    • After losing to Fairliegh Dickinson on Dec. 1, Seton Hall has knocked off fellow New Jersey programs Rutgers and on Tuesday night N.J.I.T. in a 71-55 win.
    • Evan Gordon was 10-of-12 and scored 26 points off the bench for Indiana in the Hoosiers’ win over Oakland.
    • Central Connecticut State defeats Hartford 73-59 in a Constitution State clash. Kyle Vinales and Faronte Drakeford both with 14 for the Blue Devils.
    • Eastern Michigan tops Green Bay 67-58. Green Bay had topped Virginia three days before.
    • Jordan Loveridge with 27 points in Utah’s 74-66 win over Idaho State. Utes are 8-1.
    • And finally, Nevada’s Deonte Burton dunked on the entire state of California, but the Wolf Pack lost to Cal 92-84:

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

VIDEO: New Mexico loses game on blown call by officials

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Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.

New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.

Here’s the situation: New Mexico is up by three with 12 seconds left and the ball under their own basket. Their allowed to run the baseline, so Craig Neal calls a play where the inbounder throws the ball to a player running out of bounds.

Totally league as long as the player establishes out of bounds before touching the ball. The referee rules that he doesn’t.

Here’s the video:

The problem?

According to the rules, Xavier Adams — the player receiving the pass from Cullen Neal — only needed one foot on the floor out of bounds in order to establish himself as an inbounder that was able to catch that ball. He got one foot down (see the picture above), but the referees appeared to rule that he needed to have both feet down.

That was incorrect, according to the Mountain West office.

“While this was a very close judgment call made at full speed, it has been determined after careful review of slow-motion video replays the call was in fact incorrect,” the league said in a release. “The New Mexico player did get one foot down (two feet are not required) out-of-bounds before receiving the ball, thus establishing his location in accordance NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 4.23.1.a and 7.1.1.  By rule, the officials were not permitted to go to the monitor during the game to review this play.”

And here’s the kicker: When SDSU got the ball back, they hit a three to send the game into overtime, where the Aztecs won. But if New Mexico had won this game, they’d be sitting at 8-2 in MWC play, one game behind SDSU in the loss column with a return game against them in The Pit.

Instead, they’re now three games back with seven to play, meaning that the race is effectively over.

It’s tough to blame the referees here — it was a bang-bang call that is only clear in slow-motion replay — but man, that’s a big call to miss.