AP Photo/Ben McKeown

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 15 Duke, No. 18 Indiana pick up wins

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Charlotte 114, UTSA 108 (2OT)

The 49ers and Roadrunners are playing for seeding in the upcoming Conference USA tournament, and they produced an entertaining contest Thursday night. Six players scored at least 21 points in the game, three for each team, with UTSA’s Ryan Bowie leading all scorers with 23 points. Charlotte received a 21-point, 16-rebound outing from Joseph Uchebo and Curran Scott shot 13-for-15 from the foul line in scoring his 22 points for Mark Price’s team.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 15 Duke 80, Florida State 65: The Blue Devils were balanced offensively, with Grayson Allen leading five double-digit scorers with 18 points. The Seminoles shot 50 percent from the field, but their 15 turnovers were converted into 16 points by the Blue Devils. Of course, Allen was involved in some controversy following the game regarding the possible tripping of Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes in the second half.

Seton Hall 70, Providence 52: The Pirates and Friars are headed in opposite directions at the point, as Seton Hall won by a comfortable margin in Newark. Isaiah Whitehead played very well at the point, finishing with 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists and four blocked shots as he was far better than Providence’s Kris Dunn who didn’t appear to be at full strength. The Friars pulled to within seven in the second half, but the loss of Ben Bentil (31 points) to a flagrant 2 with just under five mintues remaining essentially ended the game. Seton Hall’s now 7-1 in its last eight games, and Providence is 2-6 during a similar stretch.

No. 18 Indiana 74, Illinois 47: The Hoosiers moved one step closer to a Big Ten title, as they shut down the Fighting Illini in the second half of their 27-point win in Champaign. Yogi Ferrell led the way with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists, and the Hoosiers’ defensive effort was noteworthy as well. Illinois scored just 19 second-half points, and Indiana (mainly OG Anunoby) managed to limit Malcolm Hill to five points on 2-for-7 shooting.

California 75, UCLA 63: The Golden Bears are evidence that the season’s a marathon rather than a sprint. And with their win over the Bruins, Cuonzo Martin’s team is tied with Arizona and Utah for second place in the Pac-12, a game behind Oregon, with three games left to play. Jabari Bird scored 20 points and Jaylen Brown added 16 and ten boards for Cal, which is now 17-0 at home this season. For all the issues Cal had earlier in the season, they’re hitting their stride at just the right time.

STARRED

Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall: 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists, four blocks and just two turnovers in the Pirates’ win over Providence.

Quinton Hooker, North Dakota: Hooker scored a career-high 38 points, with the final two coming on free throws that sealed UND’s 80-77 win over Portland State.

Yogi Ferrell, Indiana: 27 points, five rebounds and five assists in the Hoosiers’ blowout win at Illinois.

STRUGGLED

Kris Dunn, Providence: Eight points on 4-for-12 shooting, no assists and three turnovers in an 18-point loss at Seton Hall.

Malcolm Hill, Illinois: Five points on 2-for-7 shooting in Illinois’ 74-47 loss to Indiana.

Jordan McLaughlin, USC: McLaughlin struggled in the Trojans’ loss at Stanford, scoring two points on 1-for-9 shooting from the field.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 22 Utah steamrolled Arizona State, 81-46, in a game they led 33-4 at one point. Jakob Poeltl was limited to just seven points, but the attention he drew from Arizona State factored into his teammates making a school-record 17 three-pointers. Brekott Chapman led four Runnin’ Utes in double figures with 15 points while also grabbing nine rebounds.
  • No. 24 SMU moved into a tie for first in the American with a 69-62 win at Memphis. Sterling Brown scored 14 points and Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy added 12 apiece for the Mustangs, who are looking to win back-to-back regular season conference titles for the first time since they won three straight from 1965-67 (Southwest Conference).

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Hofstra moved into a tie for first in the CAA with a 70-69 comeback win at UNCW, which entered the game in sole possession of the top spot. The Pride trailed by as much as 18 Thursday night, avenging a home loss to UNCW February 4 that they led by 22 at one point.
  • ETSU moved to 13-4 in SoCon play with an 80-75 win over Furman. Ge’Lawn Guyn led five Bucs in double figures with 23 points, and ETSU trails first-place Chattanooga (13-3) by a game in the loss column.
  • UConn took care of business on the road, beating USF 81-51 in Tampa. Rodney Purvis led the way for the Huskies with 18 points.
  • North Florida wrapped up the A-Sun regular season title and home court advantage throughout the conference tournament with an 81-80 win at Jacksonville. The Dolphins will be the three-seed, with league newcomer NJIT the two and FGCU the four-seed.
  • Also wrapping up home court advantage throughout its conference tournament was Wagner, which clinched the NEC title with a 69-54 home win over Saint Francis (PA). Behind the Seahawks are four teams (Mount St. Mary’s, St. Francis-Brooklyn, Fairleigh Dickinson and Sacred Heart) with matching 10-7 league records heading into Saturday’s close to the NEC’s regular season schedule.
  • High Point outlasted Winthrop 87-85 to move into a three-way tie for first place in the Big South, but the win may have come at a cost for Scott Cherry’s Panthers. Star forward John Brown left the game with a foot injury and did not return. His status will be a key factor in the upcoming conference tournament.
  • IPFW clinched at least a share of the Summit League regular season crown with an 87-75 win at Western Illinois. Mike Landis scored 24 points for the Mastodons, who received 19 points apiece from Michael Calder and John Konchar.
  • Montana and Weber State both took care of business in their respective games, setting up a showdown with first place in the Big Sky on the line Saturday. The Grizzlies won 90-77 at Idaho State, and Weber State beat Montana State 68-60 without the injured Joel Bolomboy.
  • Joining Charlotte and UTSA in triple digits Thursday was Omaha, which scored 102 points in its four-point win over Oral Roberts. Devin Patterson scored 29 points and Randy Reed 21 for the Mavericks, who shot 56.3 percent from the field.
  • Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga both moved to 14-3 in WCC play, with the Gaels beating Santa Clara 75-50 and Gonzaga winning 82-60 at San Diego. The Gaels hold the head-to-head tiebreaker, so Gonzaga will need some help if they’re to grab the top seed in next weekend’s conference tournament.
  • USC is still searching for its 20th win of the season as they were blown out by Stanford, 84-64. Dorian Pickens led the way for the Cardinal with 25 points, with Rosco Allen adding 17 points.
  • Kyle Collinsworth posted the NCAA record 11th triple-double of his career in BYU’s 99-81 win over Portland. Collinsworth finished with 14 points, ten rebounds and 16 assists.
  • Playing without forward Taylor Johns, UC Riverside handed Hawai’i its second Big West loss of the season, 77-71 in Honolulu. Jaylen Bland scored 20 points and Secean Johnson 19 to go along with ten rebounds to lead the way for Dennis Cutts’ Highlanders, with D.J. Sylvester scoring 18 off the bench.

Thursday’s Three Things To Know: Drexel’s historic comeback, Arizona survives, Houston doesn’t

Chris Coduto/Getty Images
Leave a comment

1. DREXEL COMPLETED THE BIGGEST COMEBACK IN DIVISION I HISTORY

Drexel trailed Delaware 53-19 late in the first half on Thursday night.

They won 85-83.

Both of those things are 100 percent true and 100 percent happened.

2. ARIZONA WON WITHOUT ALLONZO TRIER … BARELY

No. 14 Arizona was forced to play without Allonzo Trier on Thursday night at Oregon State after Trier tested positive for a banned substance again. The Wildcats led by 12 points in the first half, but Wayne Tinkle’s club slowly but surely chipped away at the lead. They were ahead with less than a minute left with OSU missed two wide-open threes on the same possession before a pair of Rawle Alkins free throws forced overtime.

Alkins — who finished with 16 points on the night — took over in the extra frame, but if there is anything that we learned in the 45 minutes that Arizona played without Trier available on Thursday, it’s that they are going to struggle to win games if they do not have their second-leading scorer available.

3. TUBBY SMITH FINALLY BEAT A RANKED TEAM

Tubby Smith has been crushed throughout his tenure with Memphis, and deservedly so. The Tigers are not selling tickets and are not competing at a level that is expected of that program in the post-John Calipari era. That said, they aren’t terrible. On Thursday night, Memphis beat No. 23 Houston in FedEd Forum — Smith’s first win over a ranked opponent since he took over the job — to alleviate some of the heat that has been directed his way this season.

Houston, on the other hand, is probably pretty safe when it comes to inclusion into the NCAA tournament at this point, but they sure have had a weird seven days. It started with a win over Cincinnati, then turned into a 21-point win at Temple and concluded with a loss to Memphis. Such is life in the AAC, I guess.

Ford leads No. 22 Saint Mary’s past Pepperdine, 75-61

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) — Jordan Ford had 18 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, and No. 22 Saint Mary’s rolled to a 75-61 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday night.

Calvin Hermanson scored 14 points and Tanner Krebs added 12 for the Gaels (26-4, 15-2 West Coast Conference). Jock Landale scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Ford shot 7 for 11 from the field and 4 for 6 from 3-point range and fell two points short of tying his career scoring high.

Saint Mary’s remained one game behind Gonzaga (26-4, 16-1), a 77-72 winner at San Diego, in the WCC with one regular-season game to play. The Gaels can earn a share of the WCC regular-season title with a victory at home against Santa Clara and a Gonzaga loss at BYU on Saturday.

Saint Mary’s point guard Emmett Naar, who injured his left ankle late in the first half against Portland on Saturday, started and had three points and six assists in 14 minutes, most of those in the first half.

Trae Berhow and Knox Hellums each scored 13 points for Pepperdine (4-25, 1-16).

Ford had 14 points and six rebounds in the first half, when Saint Mary’s built a 46-26 lead.

Pepperdine guard Eric Cooper Jr., who averages 13.2 points, did not make the trip because of a shoulder injury. Udenyi Amadi started in his place.

BIG PICTURE

Pepperdine: The Waves lost their eighth straight game and are locked into sole possession of last place in the WCC. Pepperdine will be the No. 10 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

Saint Mary’s: The Gaels won their second straight after losing back-to-back games to Gonzaga on Feb. 10 and San Francisco on Feb. 15. Saint Mary’s had won a school-record 19 straight games before falling to Gonzaga.

UP NEXT

Pepperdine hosts Portland on Saturday in its WCC regular-season finale. The Waves fell 85-76 in overtime at Portland on Feb. 1.

Saint Mary’s hosts Santa Clara on Saturday in its final WCC regular-season game. The Gaels beat the Broncos 81-57 on Jan. 11 at Santa Clara.

Thornton, Rivers lead Memphis past No. 23 Houston

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Image
Leave a comment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jimario Rivers and Raynere Thornton each scored 21 points, helping Memphis beat No. 23 Houston 91-85 on Thursday night.

Rivers also grabbed nine rebounds and Thornton made four 3-pointers as Memphis (17-11, 8-7 American Athletic Conference) earned its third straight victory.

Rob Gray had 30 points and seven assists for Houston (21-6, 11-4), which entered the Top 25 this week for the first time this season. Armoni Brooks and Corey Davis Jr. each scored 15 points.

The Cougars led 43-37 at halftime, but they shot 32.3 percent from the field in the second half. The Tigers made 54 percent of their shots while rallying for the victory.

Memphis went ahead to stay with a 22-8 surge that made it 76-68 on Mike Parks Jr.’s basket with 6:28 remaining. The Tigers closed it out at the line, making 29 of 36 attempts for the game.

Houston had won five in a row. It went 18 of 20 at the line.

BIG PICTURE

Houston: The Cougars, one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the conference, went 4 for 15 from beyond the arc in the second half. They also surrendered their most points this season.

Memphis: Leading scorer Jeremiah Martin left in the first half with a lower body injury. Thornton picked up the scoring after the break, scoring 19 points in the second half.

UP NEXT

Houston: Entertains East Carolina on Sunday.

Memphis: Travels to UConn on Sunday

No. 6 Gonzaga rallies to beat San Diego, 77-72

Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images
Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Killian Tillie scored 17 points, Rui Hachimura added 16 and No. 6 Gonzaga beat San Diego 77-72 on Thursday night to clinch at least a share of the West Coast Conference title.

The Bulldogs (26-4, 16-1 WCC) defeated the Toreros (17-12, 8-9) for the eighth straight game and for the 19th time in their last 20 meetings.

Olin Cater III led San Diego with 21 points.

After trailing at halftime and falling behind by eight points in the second half, the Bulldogs didn’t seize the lead until midway through the second half, when Tillie’s 3-pointer made it 52-51.

It was a back-and-forth affair from there, with the Toreros relying on their stingy defense to slow the up-tempo Bulldogs. But Gonzaga had too much firepower and was helped by four straight free throws from Hachimura when taking the lead for good with four minutes remaining.

Gonzaga demolished San Diego in last year’s visit by 58 points. The Bulldogs built an early six-point lead in this one but San Diego bounced back, tying the score at 27 with five minutes left on the first of three straight 3-point baskets by Carter. When he hit his second one, San Diego had a three-point advantage, its first edge since the game’s opening bucket.

Tyler Williams’ mid-range jumper gave San Diego a 35-30 lead and it was 37-34 at halftime. San Diego finished the first 20 minutes by converting 4 of 7 3-point shots.

BIG PICTURE

Gonzaga: When Gonzaga fell behind early in the game, it was the first time it had trailed in four games. … The Bulldogs have earned at least a share of the WCC title in 17 of the past 18 seasons and 18 of the last 20. … Gonzaga is the only team in the nation with seven players to score at least 20 points in a game this season.

University of San Diego: The highest-ranked team the Toreros have beaten is No. 14 UCLA in the 2002-03 season. … Forward Cameron Neubauer was honored before the game on senior night.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga is at BYU on Saturday night.

San Diego is at San Francisco on Saturday night.

Carsen Edwards scores 40 points, No. 9 Purdue beats Illinois 93-86

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Carsen Edwards scored career-high 40 points and Dakota Mathias added 18 to help No. 9 Purdue outlast Illinois in a 93-86 victory on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers were without their second-leading scorer Vincent Edwards but had no problem scoring.

Purdue shot 58.3 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Edwards and Mathias each had four from behind the arc.

There were eight lead changes in the first half, highlighted by two big runs. With just under 10 minutes left Edwards stole the ball and went down for a huge dunk to spark a 17-6 run for the Boilermakers. The Illini responded with a 10-3 run to close out the half trailing 43-38.

Illinois stayed within striking distance the rest of the game, but ultimately Purdue’s size and Edwards scoring were too much. The sophomore scored 25 of his points in the second half, including a monstrous dunk on Trent Frazier with just under seven minutes to play.

The Boilermakers also outrebounded the Illini 33-20.

Leron Black led Illinois with 28 points, notching his fourth-consecutive 20-point game.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois continues to struggle in close games. The Illini have now lost 10 games this season by single digits.

After losing three straight games, Purdue has reestablished itself in the Big Ten with two close victories over Penn State and Illinois. The Boilermakers are one win away from tying the second most victories in school history.