Northern Iowa’s pulled off some major upsets this season, beating both North Carolina and Iowa State, but they haven’t been able to maintain the level of consistency needed to threaten Wichita State in the Missouri Valley. Wednesday night the Panthers knocked off Evansville 57-54, with senior guard Wes Washpun being a key contributor in the win.
Washpun, who was a handful against both the Tar Heels and Cyclones, finished the game with a team-high 14 points and four assists. Two of those points came in impressive fashion, as he turned the corner on a ball screen and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk on Evansville big man Egidijus Mockevicius.
Yeah, Wes can get up.
Illinois junior guard Kendrick Nunn’s had an eventful week, beginning with the birth of his son. Sunday night Nunn made his return to the court after missing the Fighting Illini’s game at No. 5 Michigan State, and he made his presence felt throughout the game against No. 20 Purdue.
Nunn’s biggest highlight: the above dunk on Purdue freshman forward Caleb Swanigan. Swanigan appeared to have designs on challenging Nunn at the rim, but once in mid-air he pulled his hand back. Almost as if he were resigned to his fate.
Oregon State senior guard Gary Payton II has thrown down some impressive dunks this season. Of course the most notable was his vicious dunk against Kansas in Kansas City, but there was also the 360 in a half-court set against Cal-State Fullerton in mid-December.
Sunday night, the son of the point guard who led Oregon State to its last NCAA tournament appearance in 1990 added another highlight to his personal reel in the Beavers’ 70-57 win over Oregon.
Oregon’s Chris Boucher, who’s averaging 3.3 blocks per game, attempted to rotate over to defend the basket against a hard-charging Payton II. But it didn’t matter, as Payton II took off and threw down an impressive one-handed dunk.
Payton II scored all 12 of his points in the second half Sunday night, with teammates such as Langston Morris-Walker (11 first-half points) and Tres Tinkle (nine first-half points) picking up the slack in the game’s first 20 minutes. Also of note in the win was Oregon State’s defense, which limited Oregon to 35.8 percent shooting and zero fast break points.