Jay Wright

Late Night Snacks: Jay Wright wins 400th, Doug McDermott passes J.J. Redick on all-time scoring list

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia 53, Princeton 52

Columbia accomplished something tonight that they haven’t done since 1993: beat Princeton at Jadwin Gymnasium. For some of the players on Columbia, they weren’t even born the last time this occurred. As another point of reference, Pete Carril was coaching Princeton the last time Columbia won at Jadwin. More than just breaking this curse, the Lions remain alive in the chase for an Ivy League championship. With Harvard sitting at 5-0, it’s beginning to look like three losses will all but eliminate a team from winning the Ancient Eight. Meiko Lyles hit a three-pointer with 28 seconds remaining to propel Columbia to the one point victory.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) Villanova 70, Seton Hall 53

Jay Wright won the 400th game of his coaching career as Villanova routed Seton Hall to move to 21-2 on the season, and 9-2 in the Big East. Four of Villanova’s starters scored in double-figures and did so in an extremely efficient fashion. JayVaughn Pinkston, Daniel Ochefu, James Bell, and Darrun Hilliard II combined to shoot 24-34 FG for 59 points. Seton Hall hung around for much of the first half, but a Pinkson layup early in the second half extended the Wildcats’ lead to 38-28, and the Pirates never got within single-digits the rest of the way.

2) Creighton 78, DePaul 66

Creighton wasn’t at their best tonight, but Doug McDermott was his usual good self. The Bluejays led DePaul for the entire game, but the Blue Demons made a run in the second half to get within a point with less than eight minutes remaining. McDermott then took over the game, scoring 11 of Creighton’s next 14 points to ensure the victory. Creighton is now 10-1 in the Big East.

3) Manhattan 84, Canisius 73

Losers of three of their last five games, Manhattan was beginning to fall out of contention for the MAAC regular season title. Tonight in Buffalo against Canisius, however, George Beamon out-dueled Billy Baron as the Jaspers picked up a much needed win.

STARRED

1) Tony Hicks (Pennsylvania) — The sophomore guard dropped in 27 points and dished out seven assists as the Quakers got back to .500 in the Ivy League.

2) A.J. English (Iona) — David Laury was actually the big story for Iona as he came off the bench to score 28 points, but it was English’s game-winning three-point bucket in the final seconds that propelled the Gaels to a win at Niagara. Iona sits alone atop the MAAC with an 11-2 conference record.

3) George Beamon (Manhattan) — Hindered by an injury to his shoulder that sidelined him for a few games, Beamon has struggled in his return from a scoring perspective. Tonight against Canisius, Beamon was in top-form as he scored 27 points, along with four rebounds and four assists.

STRUGGLED

1) Cornell — Big Red isn’t winless, but they are against Division 1 competition. In their loss to Pennsylvania, Cornell is now 1-18 overall and 0-5 in the Ivy League. Their lone win on the season has come against Oberlin.

2) Sean McGonagill — Brown was looking to move to 4-1 in the Ivy League, but their star guard struggled from the field, shooting just 2-11 for eight points. The Bears scored just 45 points in the loss (52-45).

3)  Fuquan Edwin — Seton Hall hung around with Villanova for a half, but Edwin shot just 3-10 from the floor and scored eight points as the Pirates were unable to keep pace.

NOTABLES

  • Yale went on the road and beat Dartmouth, 67-54. The Bulldogs are now 4-1 in the Ivy League, and will travel to Cambridge tomorrow evening for the “game of the year” in the Ancient Eight to date as Harvard and Yale currently sit at 1-2 in the league.
  • Mercer escaped Kennesaw State, winning 75-68. A loss here would have been the Bears’ second consecutive loss, and a real disastrous one as the Owls entered the game with a 4-20 record.
  • Jay Hook hit a free throw with a second remaining as Tulane defeated Charlotte, 64-63.
  • Southern Mississippi overcame an 11 point halftime deficient, and eked past Marshall at home, maintaining their position atop Conference USA.
  • Juwan Howard Jr. hit a three-pointer in the final seconds to propel Detroit to a road victory against Valparaiso, 59-57.

Johnson, Paige help No. 9 Tar Heels roll past Panthers 85-64

North Carolina's Isaiah Hicks (4) dunks against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Brice Johnson scored 19 points to lead a dominating offensive performance that helped No. 9 North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 85-64 on Sunday.

Marcus Paige added 15 points for the Tar Heels (21-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 59 percent to stay atop the league ahead of the next renewal of their fierce rivalry with Duke.

UNC had plenty of balance, shared the ball and got out in transition in arguably their best performance in weeks, using a 13-0 second-half burst to blow the game open. UNC finished with 26 assists on 32 baskets, 24 points off turnovers and scored 16 fast-break points after managing a combined five in the past two games.

Michael Young and James Robinson each scored 15 points to lead Pitt (17-7, 6-6). But the Panthers shot 37 percent and committed 19 turnovers, and a strong effort on the glass did little to offset their troubles.

The Tar Heels were playing their first home game in two weeks after a difficult three-game road trip that started with losses at Louisville and Notre Dame. Then came Tuesday’s game at Boston College, where the Tar Heels struggled against a winless league team then had a scare when Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams briefly collapsed in a second-half huddle after an attack of vertigo and had to leave the sideline for the rest of the game.

Williams was back in the office on Wednesday’s off day, returned to practice Thursday and told reporters Friday he was fine and even cracked jokes about a two-decade history with vertigo dating to his Kansas years.

Getting back home certainly helped everyone feel better. After wrestling with shooting struggles for much of the past month, UNC’s offense kicked back into an efficient and balanced gear, while Paige – the player the Tar Heels are practically begging to jolt free from a prolonged shooting slump – looked more like his old self against the Panthers.

That included one second-half play in which he caught a crosscourt pass from Theo Pinson in transition and made sure to step back behind the arc before burying a 3-pointer.

The Panthers had lost three of four since a 5-2 league start coming in, including 65-63 on a late tip-in at No. 12 Miami on Tuesday. And Pitt again had trouble getting their offense going, failing to crack 70 points for the third straight game.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: Second-leading scorer Jamel Artis scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. … Pitt finished with a 41-29 rebounding advantage. … Pitt made 9 of 21 3-point attempts.

UNC: Justin Jackson scored 14 points. … UNC made 8 of 15 shots from 3-point range and 13 of 15 free throws. … Jackson and Pinson had six assists each. … UNC managed just one offensive rebound.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday.

UNC hosts Duke on Wednesday.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Denzel Valentine dominant as No. 8 Michigan State whips Indiana

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) shoots over Indiana's Kevin Yogi Ferrell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis
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Trailing by one point at the half, Indiana appeared to be in good shape at No. 8 Michigan State. However the fact that they were unable to slow down Denzel Valentine, who scored 15 first-half points, was a major concern for Tom Crean’s Hoosiers. Sure enough the national Player of the Year candidate continued on his tour de force in the second half, scoring another 15 points and dishing out seven assists as the Spartans rolled to an 88-69 victory.

For the game Valentine finished with 30 points, five rebounds, 13 assists and just one turnover. Of Michigan State’s 48 second half points, Valentine had a hand in 29 of them with all seven of his assists resulting in Michigan State layups. It was a dominant performance from one of the nation’s best players, a versatile guard whose four games missed due to injury may have led to some overlooking him when it comes to those national Player of the Year conversations.

When Valentine’s on everything else flows smoothly for Tom Izzo’s team, as his ability to both score and create results in quality looks for teammates who would struggle if they had to get that part of the job done themselves.

The biggest beneficiary Sunday afternoon was forward Matt Costello, who finished the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Of Costello’s ten made field goals (10-for-12 FG) five were assisted by Valentine, and he accounted for 13 points and seven rebounds in the second half. As a team Michigan State shot 63.3 percent from the field and assisted on 16 of their 19 made field goals in the second half, turning a tight contest into a blowout.

Tum Tum Nairn returned the court for the first time in seven games, but he played just two minutes and his time on the court will be managed carefully by Izzo moving forward. For many teams not having your point guard at full strength would represent a crippling blow, but that hasn’t been the case for Michigan State thanks in large part to Valentine. Michigan State went 4-3 in those seven games without Nairn, but the three losses were by a total of three points.

Valentine’s ability to make his teammates better will be a key factor down the stretch for Michigan State, and that skill was what led to the Spartans blowing out Indiana on Sunday.