12/6 – College Hoops Week in Review: A new challenger in the Big East?

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Game of the Week: Kansas 77, UCLA 76

In all reality, the game of the week was Georgetown’s thrilling overtime win against Missouri. But we are going to be talking plenty about the Hoyas in this recap, so I went to Lawrence, KS, for the game of the week. UCLA, a team that struggled against Tennessee and VCU at the Preseason NIT finals in NYC, actually hung around with Kansas for 40 minutes. Tyler Honeycutt was unguardable, finishing with 33 points on 11-15 shooting, while the Jayhawks relatively small front line could not handle the 6’10”, 305 lb Joshua Smith in the paint, as the freshman finished with 17 points and 13 boards, 8 on the offensive end.

The two blue bloods threw haymakers throughout the second half, both making runs to seemingly grab control of the game. With three minutes left, Kansas took a 75-70 lead, but could not close out the Bruins as turnovers and missed free throws kept the Bruins alive. After Tyshawn Taylor missed one of two and Marcus Morris missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Lazeric Jones missed a free throw of his own and Kansas ended up with the ball out of bounds with 18 seconds left. Tyrell Reed was trapped on the inbounds pass and threw the ball away, and Honeycutt made the Jayhawks pay with a 25 foot three to tie the game. That’s when it got interesting.

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We can argue with the NCAA about whether the foul that was called was the correct call, but it was called. Mario Little it one of the two free throws as UCLA was out of timeouts, and Honeycutt missed a prayer at the buzzer.

The other good games:

  • UNC 75, Kentucky 73: Tyler Zeller and John Henson dominated a weak Kentucky front line, fouling out all three of Kentucky’s big men and holding Terrence Jones to 9 points and 6 boards on 3-17 shooting. But Kentucky got 24 points from Doron Lamb and 13 from Darius Miller to keep things close. The game was as ugly as it was intense, and it was UNC hitting nine of their last ten free throws that kept the Tar Heels ahead. Dexter Strickland missed the last one on purpose, forcing Kentucky to take a half court prayer to try and win the game. Lamb missed, and the Heels picked up a much needed win.
  • Oklahoma State 92, La Salle 87 2OT: The Cowboys and the Explorers needed 50 minutes to decide things in Philly. After La Salle led for much of the second half, it was a short jumper from Marshall Moses that tied the game with six seconds left in regulation. Oklahoma State took the early lead in the first overtime, but Aaric Murray tied things up with eight seconds left in the first overtime. In the second overtime, the Cowboys opened up an 89-84 lead. Ruben Guillandeaux cut that lead to 89-87 with a three, but another jumper from Moses, who had 30 points and 18 boards, with 14 seconds left sealed the game.

Buzzer Beaters: Who doesn’t love a good buzzer beater. We had plenty this week:

  • Cal Poly 54, Hawaii 53: Chris O’Brien followed up a miss with a lay-in at the buzzer to beat the Rainbows. The question everyone asked, however, was whether he got the shot off in time. You decide. The game wasn’t televised, so there was no monitor available to check the replay:

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  • Georgia State 64, James Madison 63: Jihad Ali followed up a missed shot with a lay-in as GSU picked up their first CAA win over the season over the Dukes.
  • Quinnipiac: The Bobcats were on both sides of a buzzer beater this week. On Saturday, James Johnson scored on a layup as time expired to give QU a win in their NEC opener against Mt. St. Mary’s 77-75. But on Thursday, it was UMass winning at the buzzer, as Justin Rutty committed a goal tend with no time left on the clock.

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  • Wake Forest 76, Iowa 73: It wasn’t exactly a buzzer beater, but freshman JT Terrell hit a three with 2.7 seconds left to give Wake a 76-73 win over Iowa and cap an 18 point comeback.
  • USC Upstate 93, UNC-Asheville 91 2OT: We had two buzzer beaters in this one. Tony Dukes of USC-Upstate hit a three to tie the game at 69 and force the first overtime before JP Primm forced a second overtime with a three at the buzzer that tied it up at 84. Carter Cook’s two free throws with 6.9 seconds left won the game.

Player of the Week: Kyrie Irving, Duke

It hasn’t been difficult to select the players of the week this season, and Irving’s selection was no different. The Blue Devil’s freshman point guard showed why people were predicting he would be the best point guard in the country this season by averaging 26.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 3.0 apg while collecting three steals and two blocks in Duke’s wins over Michigan State and Butler. Should I mention that he shot 14-22 from the field on the week (including 5-9 from three) and 19-22 from the line? Against Michigan State, Irving had as dominant of a performance as we have seen this year, going for 31 points and dissecting the Spartan defense. In Saturday’s win over Butler, Irving started off the game slowly before exploding for 17 of his 21 points in the second half. He also hit arguably the two biggest shots of the game, as his back-to-back three pointers finally put Butler away for good.

The All-they-were-good-too team

  • G: Chris Wright, Georgetown: Wright was the best player for the best team this week, averaging 21.0 ppg and 6.0 apg in the Hoyas two wins.
  • G: Brandon Young, DePaul: Young averaged 24.0 ppg as the Blue Demons won two games this week, beating Northern Illinois and Central Michigan.
  • G: Jawan Carter, Delaware: Carter had 29 points in the Blue Hen’s CAA opening win over Old Dominion.
  • F: Mike Scott, Virginia: Scott averaged 19.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg as the Cavs beat both Minnesota and Virginia Tech on the road.
  • C: Tyler Zeller, UNC: Zeller wasn’t very impressive in the Heel’s loss to Illinois, but it was his 27 points, 11 boards, and 5 assists that won the game against Kentucky.
  • Bench: Reggie Jackson, Boston College; Kemba Walker, UConn; Noah Dahlman, Wofford; Jon Leuer, Wisconsin; Marshall Moses, Oklahoma State; James Nunnally, UC Santa Barbara

Team of the Week: Georgetown Hoyas

Its about time that we start to consider Georgetown as one of the favorites to win the Big East and to reach the Final Four. That’s what happens when you start the season 8-0 with wins against teams like Old Dominion, Missouri, NC State, and Utah State. Only the Utah State game was at home. This week, the Hoyas beat two completely different teams. On Tuesday, they went into Kansas City to take on the Tigers in what was the single most entertaining game of the young season. The Hoyas opened up a 35-17 lead in the first half, but Mizzou slowly chipped away at the lead. Midway through the second half, a Marcus Denmon three put the Tigers ahead, and they would eventually get up 85-80, but the poise of Austin Freeman helped lead Georgetown back, as the Big East’s preseason player of the year scored back-to-back buckets, one of which was an and-one, to tie the game. Mizzou took the lead back, but a Chris Wright three with 0.3 seconds left forced OT. In OT, Jason Clark buried three straight threes to seal the deal for Georgetown, as they won 111-102.

On Saturday, the Aggies came to town. After playing a methodical first half which saw USU’s offense execute to precision, John Thompson III threw on a press in the second half which the Aggies could not handle. Turnovers and easy baskets led to a 68-51 win over the WAC favorites despite Wright being the only player that reached double figures for the Hoyas.

Georgetown beat two very good teams this week. Those two teams played styles that are at opposite ends of the basketball spectrum. Both teams were able to execute their game plans to a degree — Missouri get the game into an uptempo shootout, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition while Utah State was able to keep Georgetown from shooting threes (the Hoyas were 2-9 from deep) and kept the pace methodical. Georgetown won both games.

Teams deserving of a shout out:

  • Boston College: The Eagles got off to a horrendous start, headlined by a loss to Yale. But after beating Texas A&M and Cal in the Old Spice, BC kept their momentum headed in the right direction by knocking off previously undefeated Indiana at home and previously undefeated UMass on the road. Reggie Jackson, the Eagle’s point guard, may be the best player in the country you’ve never seen play.
  • Miami FL: Their loss to Rutgers by 16 is ugly, but the ‘Canes may have turned a corner. This week, they beat both Mississippi and West Virginia. Against the Rebels, it was 27 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists from Durand Scott that won the game. In the win over West Virginia, it was 26 points from Malcolm Grant that led the way.
  • Virginia: I’m ACC heavy here, but just go with it. The Cavs were all but written off after they were drubbed by Washington and Wichita State out in Maui, but maybe we acted too soon. UVa won on the road at both Minnesota and Virginia Tech this week. Mike Scott wants people to start talking about him, apparently, so we will. He averaged 19.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg in the two wins.
  • Florida Atlantic: Mississippi State and South Florida are far from being considered elite teams, but for a team like FAU to sweep is, in a word, impressive. Making it all the more impressive is that the Owl’s leading scorer, Greg Gantt, averaged just 9.5 ppg on the week.
  • Drexel: Don’t look now, but the Dragons are now 5-1 on the season after opening CAA play with a win over Northeastern. Granted, Drexel still hasn’t beaten anyone, but this is a Dragons team that lost their leading scorer and a key sub in the offseason when they tried to rob a fellow Drexel student at gun point. Keep an eye on Chris Fouch. He’s averaging 21.7 ppg on the season.
  • South Carolina: USC knocked off Clemson 64-60 in their intrastate rivalry. The Gamecocks are now 6-1 on the season, with their lone blemish a nine point loss at Michigan State. Freshman Bruce Ellingotn is averaging 12.7 ppg and 4.4 apg.

Other notes from the week that was: So when does the “MWC is a top five conference” talk start to happen? Because it should be going on right now. Let’s start with the MWC-MVC Challenge, which the MWC on 8-1. The only win for the Valley? Northern Iowa knocking off TCU, the same TCU that knocked off USC this week. San Diego State, BYU, and UNLV are all undefeated and all three look like Sweet 16 teams. New Mexico is 6-1 (with a loss to Cal but wins over Arizona State and at New Mexico State) and still waiting on Drew Gordon to become eligible after transferring from UCLA. And the bottom of the league isn’t as bad as we expected. Air Force bounced back from a loss to D-III Colorado College to beat Wofford and Evansville (who knocked off Butler). Utah beat Weber State. TCU has that win over USC. Its a shame this league is breaking up.

So, uhh, what’s going on with UCLA? The Bruins nearly knocked off Kansas in Lawrence on Wednesday, then proceeded to get smacked by Montana on Sunday night? In Pauley Pavilion? That kind of loss in unacceptable. I know Ben Howland took the Bruins to three straight Final Fours, but how long is that program going to put up with this level of ineptitude?

That wasn’t the only strange thing to happen in the Pac-10 this week. USC, who had lost to Rider, Nebraska, TCU, and Bradley, beat Texas by 17? Should I mention that Oregon State lost to Colorado by 26 points?

As we always have said, anything can happen in conference play. Take, for example, Old Dominion. The Monarchs were 5-1 on the season. They had beaten Xavier, Clemson, and Richmond. They were on the verge of being ranked in the top 25. Then they hosted Delaware, a team that was expected to finish somewhere near the bottom of the CAA. What happened? Jawan Carter exploded for 29 points and the Blue Hens led for almost all of the second half in an upset win. Regardless of the league you play in, you cannot overlook a single conference opponent, not when everyone knows what your game plan. There are no secrets in conference play. ODU learned that the hard way.

We’ve hit on this point a number of times already this season, but outside of Duke, the ACC favorites have really struggled. Virginia Tech appears to be a bust after losing an ugly game to Purdue and then dropping their ACC opener to UVa. Maryland’s loss to Temple means that the Terps have dropped every meaningful game they’ve played this season. Ditto for Florida State after the ‘Noles lost to Ohio State this week. That said, there was some success. In addition to what was mentioned above, UNC’s win over Kentucky gives the Tar Heels some much needed breathing room and confidence. This is a team loaded with talent. They just needed the pieces to come together. And while there are still some underlying issues for UNC, the fact that they were able to get a dominating performance from their big men is a positive.

Matchups of the Week

  • 12/7 – 7:00 pm: Memphis vs. Kansas in NYC
  • 12/7 – 9:30 pm: Syracuse vs. Michigan State
  • 12/8 – 9:00 pm: Vanderbilt @ Missouri
  • 12/8 – 9:30 pm: Notre Dame @ Kentucky
  • 12/8 – 10:30 pm: San Diego State @ Cal
  • 12/8 – 11:00 pm: Gonzaga @ Washington State
  • 12/9 – 9:00 pm: Georgetown @ Temple
  • 12/9 – 9:00 pm: Butler @ Xavier
  • 12/11 – 12:00 pm: UNLV @ Louisville
  • 12/11 – 2:00 pm: Wisconsin @ Marquette
  • 12/11 – 3:15 pm: Tennessee vs. Pitt
  • 12/11 – 4:30 pm: Washington @ Texas A&M
  • 12/11 – 6:00 pm: Arizona @ BYU
  • 12/11 – 7:00 pm: VCU @ Richmond
  • 12/11 – 7:00 pm: Dayton @ Old Dominion
  • 12/11 – 8:30 pm: Gonzaga @ Notre Dame

Top-ranked Houston grinds out 53-48 win over Saint Mary’s

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – J’Wan Roberts scored 15 points, Marcus Sasser added 13 and top-ranked Houston held on to beat Saint Mary’s 53-48 on Saturday night.

The Cougars (8-0) won twice in their first week as the No. 1 team since the final poll of the 1982-83 regular season, when Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon led high-flying Phi Slama Jama.

Logan Johnson scored 17 points and Aidan Mahaney had 14 for the Gaels (6-3), who lost their third in a row following a 6-0 start.

Houston was the favorite to win it all in the second of three consecutive trips to the Final Four nearly 40 years ago, but lost to Jim Valvano and North Carolina State in one of the iconic championship games.

Coach Kelvin Sampson’s first top-ranked team is coming off trips to the Final Four and Elite Eight the past two seasons.

For the third straight year, the postseason path will start at Dickie’s Arena, where Sampson likes to bring his team during the regular season as prep for the American Athletic Conference tourney.

This victory in the Battleground 2k22 series improved the Cougars to 9-0 in the arena near downtown Fort Worth, where they have won AAC tournament titles each of the past two years.

Saint Mary’s whittled a 12-point deficit to a single possession when Mahaney hit a 3, and he made it a three-point game again at 46-43 with another from long range.

Roberts answered by backing down for a short jump hook before Sasser converted a three-point play to put the Cougars up 51-43.

Houston broke a 17-all tie with a 14-3 run to finish the first half, with Saint Mary’s going 1 of 11 from the field in that stretch against the vaunted Cougars defense. Both teams shot 37%.

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary’s: Facing the No. 1 team isn’t foreign to the Gaels, who play in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga. St. Mary’s is 2-7 against the Zags when they have the top ranking, with one of the victories coming last season.

Houston: The Cougars had no trouble in their debut with the No. 1 ranking, blowing out Norfolk State 100-52 at home Tuesday. A disciplined and tournament-tested opponent for the second game was just the threat Sampson’s club figured it could be.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary’s: Missouri State at home Wednesday.

Houston: North Florida at home Tuesday.

Clowney, No. 11 Alabama recover to beat South Dakota St

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Noah Clowney’s breakout game – 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal – helped No. 11 Alabama recover from blowing a 20-point lead and beat South Dakota State 78-65 on Saturday night.

Clowney shot 8 of 17, including 5 of 12 on 3s, in his highest-scoring game of the season.

“We’ve encouraged him to shoot it, I’m glad he did,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “His senior year of high school, he started out pretty poorly from 3 then shot it 40% after that, so I kind of referenced that.”

Alabama (7-1) led 37-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. South Dakota State (3-6) rallied to go ahead 51-50 on Alex Arians’ 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.

Nimari Burnett’s foul shot a minute later put the Crimson Tide ahead for good at 54-53. Alabama used a 9-0 run to pull away.

Mark Sears scored 19 points and Brandon Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide

Alabama made 14 of its first 26 shots to build a big lead before it slipped away.

“I’m not going to call them mature, we still have some room to grow,” Oats said. “Our guys have to understand, no matter who we’re playing, even if their record isn’t great, they’re Division I basketball players, they’re good teams. Last year, we had issues with this going down the road.”

Charlie Easley and Arians each scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits. Zeke Mayo added 12 points and Matt Dentlinger contributed nine rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Sears continues to be a force at home for Alabama. In Alabama’s last three home games – wins over Liberty, Jacksonville State and South Dakota State – he has scored 22, 18 and 19 points, making at least three 3-pointers in all three games. Alabama’s next home game comes against a Memphis team that already has two wins over SEC competition.

SECOND HALF SPRING

South Dakota State coach Eric Henderson noticed that in Alabama’s first two home games, Longwood and Liberty both trailed by fewer than 10 points at halftime before losing by 21 and 36 points, respectively. He viewed the first five minutes of the second half as critical in both instances, seeing an Alabama team using the home environment to its advantage.

Henderson stressed to his team that it had to win those five minutes to have a chance. Down 42-35 at the break, it did, and ultimately took the lead.

“They really increase the pressure, they try to play a little faster, they get downhill and they really spray it,” Henderson said. “I thought we were getting some 50-50 balls, I thought we were playing with some confidence. There’s been a lot of schools to come in here and have a good first half and it ends up being a 30- or 40-point game.”

UP NEXT

South Dakota State stays on the road to face Montana on Tuesday.

Alabama takes a weeklong break before its second game against the current No. 1 team in the nation, this time a road game against Houston on Saturday. The Crimson Tide beat former No. 1 North Carolina in its first shot at the top-ranked team, winning 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27.

Rutgers beats No. 10 Indiana for sixth straight time, 63-48

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With the clock winding down in the final minutes, Rutgers fans didn’t hesitate in letting No. 10 Indiana how they felt about the Hoosiers’ rating.

Chants of “Who’s Your Daddy” and “Overrated” were shouted with glee at the Indiana bench after the team was knocked from the unbeaten ranks.

Make no mistake, Rutgers (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten) owns Indiana (7-1, 0-1) on the basketball floor these days.

Freshman guard Derek Simpson scored 10 straight points in a game-deciding run and Rutgers beat Indiana for the sixth time in a row and ninth time in 10 meetings, 63-48 on Saturday.

“As far as Indiana goes, I feel we just know the focus of this team,” said Rutgers senior Caleb McConnell, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. “It gives us an advantage because we had beaten them five times in a row. We went in trying to execute our game plan and we did it again.”

Simpson scored all 14 of his points in the second half as Rutgers made coach Mike Woodson’s first visit to “The Banks” unpleasant.

“We got to make shots from the perimeter,” said Woodson, whose team shot 30.4% from the field, including 6 of 21 from long range. “But we just got out-toughed tonight. I thought, I mean, from the beginning to the end, I mean, we couldn’t rebound the basketball with him. I thought that was the difference in the ballgame and that was the cushion that they needed.”

Miller Kopp scored a season-high 21 points for Indiana . Star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who faced a packed in defense, was held to 13 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late.

Jackson-Davis said Indiana just didn’t play well.

“I don’t necessarily say that it’s a bad matchup for us because I think defensively we’re still good,” he said. “But at the same time, our offense just wasn’t clicking tonight.”

The win was coach Steve Pikiell’s 14th over a ranked team since taking over a struggling Rutgers’ program in 2016-17. As usual, defense was at the center of its win.

The Hoosiers’ point total was a season low. They were averaging 87.1 points and were coming off a win over North Carolina.

Indiana played poorly in the first half in falling behind 31-24. The Hoosiers opened the final 20 minutes with a 13-4 spurt, taking two-point leads on baskets by Xavier Johnson and Kopp.

McConnell hit a 3-pointer to put Rutgers ahead for good and then Simpson took over, hitting a layup, a jumper, a 3-pointer and a big scoop shot for a 47-37 lead. His final point in the run came when Johnson hit him in the face in the offensive zone and a flagrant foul was eventually called. He made 1 of 2 free throws.

“I still have have much more to do and I am going to keep working and we’re going to keep working as a team,” Simpson said. “It was a fun game, and it really got loud. My ears are still ringing right now.”

MULCAHY RETURNS

Rutgers senior starting guard Paul Mulcahy returned to the lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury. He came off the bench early in the first half and played almost 24 minutes, scoring six points and handing out four assists.

MISSING

Indiana starting guard Jalen Hood-Schifino did not play because of a back problem. He was averaging 8.7 points. Starting forward Race Thompson, who was averaging 7.3 points, was scoreless on 0 for 4 shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Indiana: This was poor performance by the Hoosiers. They are bound to take a tumble.

Rutgers: This was a big win for Rutgers, which was coming off a road loss at Miami. They are 6-0 at home.

UP NEXT

Indiana: Conference home opener against Nebraska on Wednesday.

Rutgers: At No. 25 Ohio State on Thursday.

Flagler, No. 6 Baylor rally late, top No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63

Baylor vs. Gonzaga
USA Today
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a rematch of the 2021 national championship game, Adam Flagler hit a pair of 3s as No. 6 Baylor scored the final eight points to rally past No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63 Friday night.

Gonzaga’s Rasir Bolton missed a wild, driving layup try at the buzzer.

Two seasons ago, Baylor beat the then-undefeated Zags 86-70 to win its first title. This time, the Bears didn’t take the lead for good until Jalen Bridges made two free throws with 16 seconds left.

“Adam is a great leader, but no one knew he wasn’t feeling well today,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “To be honest, some players wouldn’t have played. He played through the pain and left it all out on the court. As a coach, I appreciate that.”

The Bears (6-2) trailed 63-56 before Flagler hit a 3-pointer with 1:33 left. Flagler’s 3 with just over a minute to play cut Baylor’s deficit to 63-62.

After a Gonzaga shot clock violation, Flagler’s 3-point attempt for the lead was off the mark, but Bridges was fouled by Drew Timme on the rebound attempt. Bridges hit two foul shots to put Baylor ahead.

The Zags (5-3) had a final chance when Bolton caught an inbounds pass near his own foul line with 4.6 seconds remaining. He drove the lane, but his off-balance shot went high off the glass and missed as the buzzer sounded.

“We took two balls down hill and tried to make plays at the rim. At that point in the game, those are tough,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “It’s very disappointing. They made plays, man.”

Freshman Keyonte George had 18 points and seven rebounds for Baylor. Flagler had 11 points and Langston Love added 10.

“I trust my work. I was able to knock them down,” George said. “My teammates believe in me each and every day. They give me that confidence in a big game to make big shots like that.”

Malchi Smith scored 16 points for Gonzaga. Anton Watson added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Timme had nine points.

Baylor led by as many as 12 in the first half before Gonzaga closed to five at the break.

Watson’s basket put Gonzaga ahead 41-40. From there, the teams swapped leads over the next 13 minutes as the second half featured two ties and 14 lead changes.

A thunderous dunk from Smith gave Gonzaga its seven-point lead with under two minutes to go.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The win was a big rebound for Baylor after its 26-point loss to Marquette earlier in the week. The loss was the Bears’ most lopsided since they fell to Kansas 82-56 in 2007

Gonzaga: After opening the season ranked No. 2 in the AP preseason poll, the Zags have now lost two of three.

STAR WATCH

Timme began the night leading the Bulldogs in scoring at 20 points per game. He was hampered by foul trouble against Baylor and got his first field goal with six minutes remaining. He fouled out with 16 seconds to play.

REMATCH PLAYERS

Four players on the floor Friday night had significant minutes in the championship game two years ago including Flagler, Timme and Watson, along with Baylor’s Flo Thamba.

UP NEXT

Baylor: The Bears return home to host Tarleton on Tuesday before playing Washington State on Sunday in Dallas for the Pac 12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs return to Spokane for three straight beginning Monday when they face Kent State for the first time in school history.

Carr scores 19, No. 2 Texas beats No. 7 Creighton 72-67

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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AUSTIN, Texas – Texas had pressured Creighton’s shooters into a miserable night, only to watch a late flurry of 3-pointers start swishing.

An 11-point Longhorns lead was down to three.

That hardly rattled Marcus Carr and the second-ranked Longhorns, who stepped up with big late shots of their own and steady free-throw shooting to secure another impressive early-season victory, 72-67 over the seventh-ranked Bluejays on Thursday night.

Carr scored 19 points and made two free throws with 10 seconds left as Texas held off Creighton’s furious late-game rally.

Creighton struggled through a wretched 3-point shooting night, but pulled within 62-59 thanks in part to five points in a row by Baylor Scheierman. Carr’s baseline jumper and an easy layup by Tyrese Hunter when Creighton lost him on an inbound pass with 46 seconds left stretched the Longhorns’ lead again.

That didn’t quite close the door on Creighton, which got two more 3-pointers from Scheierman, who had missed his first nine attempts. That forced Texas to finish it from the free-throw line behind Carr and Brock Cunningham. Cunningham’s two free throws with 4 seconds left were his only points of the game.

“There’s going to be a bunch of times one of us has to go down there and knock down a bunch of free throws,” Carr said. “We talk about it all the time.”

The matchup was part of the Big 12-Big East Battle and Texas earned its second win over a top-10 opponent in its new arena. The Longhorns (6-0) beat then-No. 2 Gonzaga on Nov. 16 and have their highest ranking since they were No. 1 during the 2009-2010 season.

“I don’t think we’ve proven anything,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “We’re just a team that’s trying to get better.”

Hunter scored 15 points for Texas.

Ryan Kalkbrenner had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Creighton (6-2), and Ryan Nembhard scored 17 points. The Bluejays were 4 of 27 on 3-pointers.

Scheierman, a 44% shooter from beyond the arc this season, made three 3s in a row late. His off-balance shot from the right corner over a defender pulled the Bluejays within 68-65 with 11.4 seconds left.

Scheierman finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“The reality is you are gonna have nights,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “It just happens. We don’t ever want him to stop shooting.”

BIG PICTURE

Creighton: Kalkbrenner was all but unstoppable on a 9-of-10 shooting night for the Bluejays, who kept launching from long range instead of looking for their 7-foot-1 center.

Texas: The Longhorns couldn’t force their usual numbers of turnovers and fast-break points, but were exceptionally clean with the ball on offense. Texas had just three turnovers that Creighton turned into three points.

FORMER TEAMMATES

Texas senior forward Christian Bishop played three seasons at Creighton before transferring prior to last season. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

“We understood what this game was, not just for our team but for Christian,” Carr said.

TIRED TEAM

McDermott suggested his team maybe just wore out. The Bluejays went 2-1 in the Maui Invitational last week and then played their first game of the season on an opponent’s home court.

“Three games in three days against ranked teams (in Hawaii) and then to come in here,” McDermott said. “That’s a lot to ask of my team.”

UP NEXT

Creighton hosts in-state rival Nebraska on Sunday.

Texas plays No. 16 Illinois in New York City on Dec. 6 in the Jimmy V Classic.