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Late Night Snacks: Two undefeated teams go down and No. 3 Ohio State survives

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Ohio State 64, Notre Dame 61

Notre Dame had their marquee victory all locked up. Losses at home to Indiana State and North Dakota State were nullified. The Irish were back in the conversation as one of the best teams in the ACC. With less than a minute left, they had taken a 58-50 lead on No. 3 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden. And then it all went awry, as the Irish missed two free throws, committed four turnovers and fouled a three-point shooter and lost, 64-61.

The good news for the Irish? For 19 minutes in the second half, they dominated one of the best teams in the country. As disappointing as the finish was, Notre Dame is a talented team that looks like they are getting close to finding their stride.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 13 Oregon 100, BYU 96 OT

You knew that pitting Oregon and BYU against each other would result in an uptempo, high-scoring game filled with fast breaks and threes. That’s exactly what happened. The added bonus? BYU was in control for most of the game, only trailing in regulation when Oregon scored the first basket of the game. But Oregon came storming back, choking away a chance to win in regulation when Elgin Cook missed two free throws with just 1.8 seconds left. They would eventually go on to win in overtime.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 7 Oklahoma State got 23 points and 11 boards from Markel Brown in a 78-73 win over No. 20 Colorado. Brown’s first double-double of the season was a needed boost with the Oklahoma State big men struggling.

2) Cullen Neal scored 24 points for New Mexico, allowing to Lobos to forget about missing Hugh Greenwood and help them pick up a much-needed, 75-68 win over Marquette. Raphielle Johnson wrote a couple of stories off of this game.

3) No. 18 Kansas dominated Georgetown, winning 86-64 despite getting just 12 points on 3-for-10 shooting from Andrew Wiggins. Their four big men combined to shoot 14-for-16 from the floor.

STARRED

1) Adreian Payne went for 33 points in a dominating performance against Texas as No. 5 Michigan State knocked off the Longhorns 92-78. He was 10-for-13 from the field.

2) J.P. Tokoto finished with 22 points, 11 boards, five steals, four blocks and two assists in a 97-85 overtime win over Davidson.

3) Julius Randle popped off for 29 points and 10 boards, shooting 8-for-10 from the floor, as No. 19 Kentucky erased an eleven point deficit in a win over Belmont.

STRUGGLED

1) Chaz Williams finished with just 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting as No. 22 UMass picked up their first loss of the season to Florida State.

2) Gary Bell Jr. finished just 1-for-7 from the floor as No. 21 Gonzaga suffered a damaging loss against Kansas State in Wichita.

3) Jordan Clarkson went for 25 points, eight assists and six boards for No. 23 Missouri, but the rest of his supporting cast had an off-night as the Tigers lost to Illinois 65-64.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 5 Michigan State 92, Texas 78
  • No. 6 Louisville 85, FIU 56
  • No. 8 Villanova 88, Rider 67
  • No. 15 Memphis 77, Southeast Missouri 65
  • No. 16 Florida 66, Fresno State 49
  • No. 24 San Diego State 65, McNeese St. 36

NOTABLES

  • N.C. State has one of the best forwards in the ACC (if not America) in sophomore T.J. Warren, and he led the Wolfpack to a 90-79 win over East Carolina with 32 points and eight rebounds.
  • D.J. Irving scored 25 points to help lead Boston University to an 83-77 win at Maryland. The Terrapins turned the ball over 17 times, and it’s clear that their issues are bigger than not having PG Seth Allen.
  • With point guard Rysheed Jordan out due to a family illness, St. John’s scored 96 points in their nine-point win over Youngstown State. D’Angelo Harrison scored 29 points and became the school’s all-time leader in made three-pointers.
  • J.D. Weatherspoon scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Toledo’s 71-67 win over Cleveland State, moving the Rockets to 11-0 in the season.
  • Siyani Chambers scored 27 points to lead Harvard to a 74-68 win over Vermont, moving the Crimson to 10-1 on the year.
  • VCU ripped off a 31-0 first-half run against Virginia Tech, coasting to an 82-52 victory over the Hokies. VCU beat both in-state ACC teams this season.
  • Jermaine Marshall scored 27 points and Jahii Carson fell three rebounds short of a triple-double (16 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds) in Arizona State’s 76-62 win over Texas Tech.
  • Isaiah Philmore and Matt Stainbrook scored 17 points apiece in Xavier’s 77-74 win at Alabama.
  • Jarvis Threatt scored nine of his team-high 29 points in overtime as Delaware outlasted Bryant 108-107. Dyami Starks led all scorers with 35 points in a losing effort.

UT-Arlington dominates, upsets No. 12 St. Mary’s

Texas-Arlington's Kevin Hervey, left, reacts to a 73-68 NCAA college basketball game win as Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate looks on  in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
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UT-Arlington made a statement on Thursday night, completely dominating No. 12 Saint Mary’s in a 65-51 upset win in a true road game in Moraga.

Back in October, I ranked both the Gaels and the Mavericks in the top-5 of my Mid-Major Power Rankings. Saint Mary’s was the obvious top choice, one of the nation’s most efficient offenses that returned Emmett Naar and Jock Landale. UT-Arlington, ranked fifth, served as a dangerous opponent. The Mavs had defeated Ohio State and Memphis in 2015, but their season was derailed once Kevin Hervey, a player with serious pro potential, tore his ACL.

With five starters back, including Hervey, who is just now getting back to 100 percent, UT-Arlington looks every bit the part of a March Cinderella.

The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead and forced the Gaels to play out of character. Saint Mary’s had only committed a season-high 14 turnovers before the midway point of the second half. The Gaels, who entered shooting 40 percent from three as a team, was held to 8-of-27 (30 percent) from beyond the arc.

UT-Arlington did an incredible job of closing out on shooters. And it didn’t matter the matchup, at times we saw Hervey, a 6-foot-9 junior, come out and run a guard off the 3-point line. While those statistics mentioned above show up in the box score, the amount of deflections don’t. The Mavericks used its length and athleticism to get their hands everywhere on the defensive end of the floor, making it difficult to find good looks.

In the first half, UT-Arlington controlled the glass. Saint Mary’s found more success in that department after halftime, as Kevin Clark’s offensive putback capped an 11-2 run, which cut the deficit to 52-41. However, the Mavs were able to counter each time the Gaels threatened, never letting the lead get to single digits.

Aside from the struggles the typically-efficient Saint Mary’s offense had, the Gaels struggled to keep UT-Arlington guards Erick Neal and Kaelon Wilson out of the lane, whether it be on a high ball screen or a handoff. Saint Mary’s never seemed to have a help-side defender there to protect the rim. Neal had 13 points and eight assists (five turnovers), while Wilson had 10 points off the bench. Hervey had a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds.

UT-Arlington is winners of eight straight after losing three straight. One of those wins includes a double-digit win over Texas in Austin. The Mavericks are the clear-cut favorite to win the Sun Belt. Come Selection Sunday, I’d say plenty of at-large teams would not like to be paired up with Scott Cross’ team.

Iowa cruises past No. 25 Iowa State

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Iowa Hawkeyes reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Iowa picked up a major win on Thursday night, defeating in-state rival No. 25 Iowa State, 78-64, in a contest the Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated.

Let’s put it this way: the Hawkeyes have played four top-100 teams, according to kenpom. In those games, all losses by the way, their defense has surrendered 91 points to Seton Hall, 74 points to a Virginia team that plays at the slowest tempo in the country, 100 points to Memphis and 92 points to Notre Dame.

On Saturday, on the same floor Iowa demolished the Cyclones, its defense allowed 98 points in a loss to Nebraska Omaha.

This is exactly the sort of win Fran McCaffery and Co. needed to right the ship as we inch closer and closer to conference play.

When the Cyclones went to their bench in the first half, Nick Baer sparked a 10-0 run which helped set the tone for the remainder of the half. Iowa State went without a field goal for more than six minutes during that span.

Iowa kept Iowa State from getting out and running, holding the Cyclones to zero fast break points through the first 20 minutes and limiting them to only 36 percent from the floor as a team. Iowa, on the other hand, shot 47 percent, including 59 percent in the first half, which led to a 15-point halftime lead.

Peter Jok torched Iowa State to the tune of 23 points (4-of-7 from distance).

Monte Morris was held in check with 10 points, while Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas shot a combined 4-of-13 from three (they each hit a three with less than three minutes to play and the outcome all but decided).

Iowa State’s offense is becoming a bigger concern. Just like against Gonzaga, the Cyclones dug a first-half hole they could shoot out their way of. And like last week’s overtime loss to Cincinnati, they struggled from beyond the arc.

Iowa landed a marquee win it needed, while its rival headed home with questions to answer after losing three of four.

 

Alabama wing sidelined due to weight loss

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Avery Johnson of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at HP Field House on November 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Alabama junior wing Nick King will not be with the team for Sunday evening’s matchup against No. 24 Oregon in Eugene.

According to Rainer Sabin of the AL.com, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said King undergoing a series of tests after losing more than 10 pounds in less than a week and a half.

Johnson told reporters that he is “very concerned” and estimates that as of now King will be sidelined for “a week or two.”

King, who played his first two seasons at Memphis, has appeared in all seven games for the Crimson Tide, averaging 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game.

Damonte Dodd out with MCL sprain

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 13: Melo Trimble #2 and Damonte Dodd #35 of the Maryland Terrapins react to a call as Alex Illikainen #25 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on in the second half at Xfinity Center on February 13, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. Wisconsin won 70-57.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Maryland could be without the services of starting center Damonte Dodd for the remainder of the non-conference slate, the team announced on Wednesday.

Dodd suffered a MCL sprain in his left knee during practice earlier this week. The injury caused him to miss Wednesday’s 76-56 win over Howard. He will not be available for matchups with St. Peter’s and Jacksonville State. The Terrapins then close out the non-conference slate at Charlotte on Dec. 20 before opening up Big Ten play a week later.

Dodd has started in six of seven games he’s appeared in this season. He’s averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Michael Cekovsky started in place of Dodd on Wednesday night. Ivan Bender, who returned to the lineup against Howard after missing the previous contest, should also see an increase in minutes with Dodd sidelined.

Federico Mussini goes coast-to-coast, beats buzzer with and-1

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Chris Mullin the head coach of the St. John's Red Storm gives instructions to Federico Mussini #4 during the game against the  Xavier Musketeersat Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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St. John’s capped the first half with a 6-0 run.

Sophomore guard Federico Mussini went coast-to-coast to beat the buzzer, and draw the foul, as the Johnnies went into the break up 42-33 on city rival Fordham.

The 6-foot-4 guard had gone cold during a five-game stretch, but since Thanksgiving he’s scored in double figures in four consecutive games, including on Thursday night.