Late Night Snacks: Duke, VCU both go down

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin 77, No. 5 VCU 75 OT

The Lumberjacks saw a 10-point second half disappear as VCU went on a 20-3 run in the blink of an eye, but Stephen F. Austin was able to erase a 10 point VCU lead in the final minutes to force overtime. The biggest shot of the night came from Desmond Hayman, who buried a three while getting fouled with just 3.6 seconds left. The teams traded baskets in the extra frame, but JeQuan Lewis missed a wide-open look at a three as the buzzer sounded. SFA will advance to face No. 4 seed UCLA, if they ever stop dancing.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 14 Mercer 78, No. 3 Duke 71: Stephen F. Austin weren’t the only ones dancing on Friday as the Bears handed Duke their second loss to a double-digit seed in the last three season. The Bears took advantage of off nights from Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, who combined for 6-for-24 from the floor, and attacked them on the defensive end of the floor. Jakob Gollom led the way with 20 points for the Bears.

2. No. 6 North Carolina 79, No. 11 Providence 77: Bryce Cotton went off for 36 points and eight assists, but the Friars could do nothing to keep North Carolina off of the offensive glass, giving up three offensive rebounds on the final possession of the game alone. Marcus Paige finished with 19 points for the Tar Heels.

3. No. 3 Iowa State 93, No. 14 N.C.-Central 75: Iowa State won and advanced, but the biggest news of the day was that Georges Niang’s season came to an end with he broke a bone in his foot. That’s a massive blow for the Cyclones.

STARRED

1. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee: The big fella finished with 26 points and 14 boards as No. 11 Tennessee knocked off No. 6 UMass in a blowout.

2. Doug McDermott, Creighton: Ho-hum, just another 30-point, 12-rebound performance from McDermott for the No. 3 seed Bluejays in a win over No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette.

3. Julius Randle, Kentucky: Randle scored 19 points and grabbed 15 boards as No. 8 Kentucky knocked off No. 9 Kansas State.

STRUGGLED

1. Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams, New Mexico: Two of No. 7 New Mexico’s three best players combined for six points on 1-for-12 shooting from the floor in a 58-53 loss to No. 10 Stanford.

2. Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State: Nash was 2-for-5 from the floor and played just 17 minutes before fouling out as the No. 9 seed Cowboys lost to No. 8 Gonzaga.

3. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were 4-for-21 from three, Tim Miles got ejected and the 74-60 loss was much closer than the game seemed. That’s bad.

NOTABLES

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.