No. 2 Oklahoma made a run at No. 2 Villanova to start the second half, closing to within eight, but just like that Jay Wright’s Wildcats regained control of the game. One of the plays that helped: Mikal Bridges going deep for a pass over the Oklahoma press and dunking on forward Jamuni McNeace.
Just as good as the dunk is the pass by Kris Jenkins, who hit Bridges on the money with a baseball pass thrown flat-footed.
And the questions of how NRG Stadium would impact the teams’ shooting haven’t applied to the Wildcats, who halfway through the second half were shooting 70 percent from the field.
California’s been one of the hotter teams in college basketball in recent weeks, as they entered Sunday’s home game against USC having won their last six games. The win streak coincides with the return of senior guard Tyrone Wallace, who missed time with a broken right hand, and the Golden Bears’ lone scholarship senior celebrated “Senior Night” in style.
Wallace was able to turn the corner on two USC defenders at the left elbow, getting the head of steam needed to throw down an impressive one-handed dunk over USC forward Nikola Jovanovic. The play summed up the night for Wallace and his teammates, who grabbed control of the game late in the first half and didn’t look back.
Cal won by the final score of 87-65, moving their win streak to seven games with Wallace being one of five Golden Bears in double figures with 12 points. Freshman Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb scored 18 apiece to lead the way.
No. 15 Duke won the the sixth time in the last seven games Thursday night, as they beat Florida State 80-65 in Durham. Brandon Ingram was one of the key contributors for the Blue Devils, as he finished with 16 points, six rebounds and two assists. Ingram did not register a blocked shot in the win, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t try.
Unfortunately for Ingram, Florida State freshman guard Malik Beasley was up to the challenge in the first half. Beasley took advantage of his mismatch, with Marshall Plumlee attempting to stay between him and the basket, and Ingram was a step too late in rotating over to challenge Beasley at the rim.
Ingram didn’t get the blocked shot, but he and his teammates got the win at the end of the night.
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.
BYU senior guard Kyle Collinsworth has racked up more triple-doubles than any player in the history of Division I college basketball, as he has ten such games to his credit. In addition to being able to impact games in a variety of ways he can also finish with some power, as Loyola Marymount was reminded Thursday night.
No LMU defender looked to close off Collinsworth’s lane to the basket, resulting in the final defender between the BYU guard and the basket getting dunked on and being called for the blocking foul.
Wednesday night UC Irvine, the preseason favorite to win the Big West, moved to 6-0 in conference play with a 73-63 win at CSUN. With the host Matadors struggling (and dealing with a self-imposed postseason ban) the game was rather nondescript on the college basketball schedule. However it didn’t lack for excitement during the end of the first half, as there was both a poster-worthy dunk and a 70-foot shot.
The dunk was supplied by CSUN’s Tre Hale-Edmerson, who dunked on 7-foot-6 UC Irvine center Mamadou Ndiaye to pull the Matadors to within three with 45 seconds remaining in the half (25-22). When you’re a shot blocker like Ndiaye you become a target of sorts, and on occasion the offensive player wins out.
Ndiaye and his UC Irvine teammates responded to that play with an 8-0 run to end the half, and the final three points came on an Alex Young heave from around 70 feet away from the basket. That gave UC Irvine all the margin they needed to take care of business and remain undefeated in Big West play.