Thursday’s Morning Shootaround: ‘Twas the night of bad losses

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No. 17 Syracuse 66, No. 7 UConn 58: See here.

No. 5 Duke 80, Maryland 62: See here.

No. 6 San Diego State 56, Colorado State 54: See here.

The Ugly Losses:

Oklahoma State 76, No. 15 Missouri 70: The Tigers dropped to 0-4 on the road in Big XII play on Wednesday night as Oklahoma State attacked the Tiger’s vaunted press. The Cowboys got 19 points from both Keiton Page and Jean-Paul Olukemi and jumped out to a 10 point first half lead and a cushion that grew as big as 15 in the second half. Mizzou made a run, getting to within 73-70 with 43 seconds left, but the Pokes hit their free throws down the stretch. Missouri’s slow start was too much to overcome, but it is tough to blame them. They left for Stillwater early Monday and didn’t arrive until 2:00 pm Wednesday for an 8:00 pm tip.

Indiana 60, No. 20 Minnesota 57: The Hoosiers got 12 points from both Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones as IU was able to open a 33-21 halftime lead and hold on down the stretch as the Gophers made a furious comeback on the backs of Blake Hoffarber and Austin Hollins. The two combined for 28 points, but the Gophers missed two chances to tie the game late — once when Hollins missed a free throw and again when Hoffarber left a game-tying three at the buzzer a bit short. Its the second time in the span of a week that IU has beaten a ranked opponent at home.

Charlotte 66, Xavier 62: Charlotte got 19 points from Derrio Green — including four free throws in the final 35 seconds — and hit their last ten attempts from the charity stripe as they overcame a 16-4 deficit early in the game to hand the Muskies their first loss of the A-10 season. Xavier, fresh off of a 23 point win at Richmond, got just 12 points on 3-17 shooting (0-8 from three) from Tu Holloway. Mark Lyons had 25 for Xavier, who fell a game behind Duquesne — Duquesne — at the top of the Atlantic 10 standings.

Iowa 72, Michigan State 52: Never did I think that this season we would be talking about Michigan State missing the NCAA Tournament but, well, its about that time. The Spartans look as if they have simply given up on this season. Iowa is not a very good team, and the Hawkeyes jumped out to leads of 15-2 and 30-8 on Sparty. Matt Gatens led the way for Iowa with 19 points.

Evansville 77, Missouri State 65: Does anyone want an at-large bid this season? Certainly no one at the mid-major level does, as the Bears dropped a full game behind Wichita State in the MVC standings. MSU was down 14 early in the second half, but responded with an 18-1 run to retake the lead. But Troy Taylor, who led five Evansville players in double figures with 12 points, hit a three that game the Purple Aces the lead for good at 54-52.

Northeastern 91, VCU 80: The Rams did have sole possession of first place in the CAA coming into tonight, just like they headed into the second half of basketball with a 43-36 lead tonight. But Northeastern scored 55 second half points, and thanks to 26 from Chaisson Allen, VCU drops back into a first place tie with George Mason.

Tulsa 68, Memphis 65: Steven Idlet had 17 points to lead four players in double figures as the Golden Hurricane erased a ten point second half deficit to knock off the Tigers and move into a five-way tie in second place in the C-USA, just a half game behind UTEP. Memphis had two chances to tie in the last eight seconds, but missed both. C-USA may not be brimming with great teams this season, but it is as balanced as any league in the country and will be a fun race to watch down the stretch.

Oklahoma 73, Baylor 66: In a game that was rescheduled due to yesterday’s storm, Cameron Clark scored 25 points and Carl Blair added 19 as the Sooners used a 24-3 second half run to take control of the game 67-53. Baylor made it interesting down the stretch, cutting the lead to 69-66, but Blair hit four free throws to seal the win.

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No. 9 BYU 69, Wyoming 62: Jimmer Fredette struggled — 7-21 from the floor, 2-11 from three — but he finished with 26 points and a crucial three-point play late in the game as the Cougars held on to by the Cowboys. Brandon Davies added 20 points and nine boards.

No. 12 Villanova 75, Marquette 70: Antonio Pena and Mouph Yarou combined for 32 points as the Wildcats held on after nearly blowing a 14 point lead to the Golden Eagles. Corey Fisher had 17 points and six assists.

No. 21 Utah State 67, Nevada 45: The Aggies used a 21-6 second half run sparked by their defense to turn a one point halftime game into a rout down the stretch. And yes, we did get a winning team, losing team chant.

Alabama 75, Mississippi State 61: Tony Mitchell had 23 points as the Crimson Tide defended their home court and moved to 6-1 in the SEC.

Georgia 60, Arkansas 59: Trey Thompkins scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including a free throw with just over a second left on the clock to give the Bulldogs a much needed win on the road.

Virginia 49, Clemson 47: The game was about as ugly as basketball can get, but the ‘Hoos proved that their win over Florida State was not fluke.

St. John’s 58, Rutgers 56: The Scarlett Knights overcame 23 turnovers to come back and tie the game with 6.4 seconds left, but a driving lefty layup by Justin Brownlee (who has a fracture in his left thumb) with 3.2 seconds left gave the Johnnies a tough win to even up their record at 5-5 in the Big East.

Other Notable Scores:

  • Virginia Tech 77, NC State 69
  • Richmond 62, St. Joe’s 52
  • Old Dominion 67, Delaware 59
  • West Virginia 56, Seton Hall 44
  • Duquesne 84, Georgetown Washington 59
  • George Mason 87, Hofstra 68
  • Temple 71, La Salle 67
  • South Carolina 64, LSU 56
  • Southern Miss 75, UAB 71
  • Kansas State 69, Nebraska 53
  • Northern Iowa 53, Southern Illinois 51
  • Dayton 63, St. Bonaventure 61
  • UNLV 67, Utah 54
  • UCLA 64, USC 50

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

No. 6 UConn star Azzi Fudd out 3-6 weeks with knee injury

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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STORRS, Conn. — Sixth-ranked UConn’s top scorer, Azzi Fudd, is expected to be out three to six weeks because of a right knee injury she suffered during her team’s weekend loss to No. 5 Notre Dame, a university athletic spokesperson said.

The sophomore guard was injured in the first half of the game when a teammate collided into her. She returned midway through the second period to play four hobbled minutes, but sat the rest of the way.

“I think she’ll be all right,” coach Geno Auriemma said afterward.

Fudd entered the game averaging 24.0 points but finished scoreless on two shots over 13 minutes in the team’s first loss of the season.

The athletic spokesperson didn’t specify the type of knee injury Fudd sustained.

She underwent evaluation and an MRI confirmed the injury, the spokesperson said.

The Huskies host Princeton next.

New Mexico State suspends player after shooting

Nathan J. Fish/Sun News/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico State’s athletic director says power forward Mike Peake has been suspended indefinitely from the team in connection with last month’s fatal shooting of a student from a rival university.

That game was canceled along with the Dec. 3 rematch in Las Cruces.

Mario Moccia also told reporters that neither he nor the school could comment on Peake’s enrollment status as a student. The 21-year-old Peake has not been charged in the Nov. 19 pre-dawn shooting on the University of New Mexico’s campus in Albuquerque hours before the host Lobos were to play the Aggies.

“Mike is suspended from our basketball team until the completion of the university’s investigation and the investigation of the proper authorities,” Moccia said. “When those investigations will be complete, I can’t say.”

State police investigators said 19-year-old Brandon Travis conspired with two other UNM students and a teenage girl to lure Peake onto campus.

The subsequent shootout left Travis dead at the scene and Peake hospitalized with a leg wound that has required several surgeries.

A brawl at an Oct. 15 UNM-NMSU football game in Las Cruces was a precursor to the shooting, police said.

First-year NMSU men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar was not made available to talk to media until 10 days after the shooting.

He expressed his condolences for Travis and his family and said he took full responsibility for the actions of multiple players who sneaked out of the hotel on that morning of the game.

But NMSU officials had not spoken publicly about any specific discipline for Peake related to the shooting.

“If there is criticism over this decision, I am in a position to take it on myself,” Moccia said. “I’ve known this player for years and I know what kind of person he is. I didn’t feel a need to rush to judgment. I wanted to give the investigation time to play out before making any decisions.”

Peake, a 6-foot-7 junior from Chicago, played one season at Georgia before transferring to Austin Peay. He joined New Mexico State in 2021 and averaged 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds last season, helping the Aggies reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

No. 18 Gonzaga withstands scare from Kent State for 73-66 win

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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SPOKANE, Wash. – Drew Timme scored 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and No. 18 Gonzaga closed the game on an 11-0 run to rally past Kent State 73-66 on Monday night.

The nation’s longest home win streak was extended to 69 games but not without a major scare by the Golden Flashes. Kent State led 66-62 with 3:38 left after Miryne Thomas’ 3-pointer, but the Bulldogs tightened on the defensive end and got a handful of big plays offensively to hold off the Flashes.

Julian Strawther added 14 points, including a 3-pointer with 3:19 left that started Gonzaga’s decisive run. Timme’s spinning basket in the lane with 2:29 left gave Gonzaga (6-3) the lead, and he added a key defensive play blocking Sincere Carry’s layup attempt at the other end.

Timme was fouled and split free throws with 1:55 left, but Malachi Smith grabbed the offensive rebound and his three-point play gave the Bulldogs a 71-66 lead. It was Smith’s first basket of the game.

“(Timme) was heroic. He wasn’t really looking for the ball much early and wasn’t demanding it . he was splitting the defense and scoring in a variety of ways like he does,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “To end up with 17 boards is monster and we needed every one of them.”

Nolan Hickman added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs, who held a 43-30 advantage on the boards. It was just the second home game inside the McCarthey Athletic Center for Gonzaga and first since Nov. 7 against North Florida.

Thomas led Kent State (6-3) with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Malique Jacobs added 11 points and Carry, who was averaging 18.5 points per game, was held to 10.

“I think in the second half we moved the ball well, we got some turnovers, got some easy shots and was able to give us a lead playing a great team and great program. . Unfortunately we couldn’t finish it off. Give them a lot of credit for that,” Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff said.

Kent State nearly pulled off a surprising upset on the road for the second time in two weeks but couldn’t withstand Gonzaga’s late surge. Kent State led No. 1 Houston by one-point with less than a minute to go nine days ago in Houston but couldn’t make the plays in the closing seconds to finish off the upset in a 49-44 loss.

“Coach Few has told us all week that this is a great team that could go to the Sweet 16. . We knew what they were capable of and we weren’t taking them lightly and we knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Strawther said.

JERSEY RETIRED

Kelly Olynyk’s No. 13 jersey number was retired in front of a sellout crowd. Olynyk played for Gonzaga from 2009-13 and led the Bulldogs to its first ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament while earning first team AP All-American status as a senior.

“You’re almost speechless,” Olynyk said. “It’s just such an honor, especially with the names that you’re up beside. They’re unbelievable players.”

BIG PICTURE

Kent State: The Golden Flashes lost their third game of the season and their second against a ranked opponent. Kent State has three non-conference games left before beginning Mid-American Conference play at home against Western Michigan.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs bounced back from a one-point loss to No. 12 Baylor last week with the win. All three of Gonzaga’s losses are to teams ranked in the top 12 of the AP Top 25.

UP NEXT:

Kent State: At Cleveland State on Saturday.

Gonzaga: Host in-state rival Washington on Friday.

Preseason No. 1 North Carolina drops out of AP Top 25

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston and Texas remain firmly entrenched atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, while preseason No. 1 North Carolina has dropped out entirely after a fourth straight loss.

The Cougars earned 37 of 62 first-place votes in the poll, extending the program’s first stay at No. 1 since the “Phi Slama Jama” days in the 1980s for another week. Houston (8-0) beat Norfolk State and Saint Mary’s in its first week at the top.

“I don’t dwell on it,” coach Kelvin Sampson said last week about the No. 1 ranking. “We’re not running around here pushing our chest out, thinking we’re something we’re not.”

The Longhorns received 14 first-place votes. No. 3 Virginia got three votes and No. 4 Purdue got the remaining eight.

Connecticut (9-0) climbed to No. 5, the program’s highest ranking since early in the 2011-12 season. Other than the top five, there are three other teams in the AP Top 25 that entered Monday undefeated (No. 11 Auburn, No. 13 Maryland and No. 23 Mississippi State).

SWIFT FALL

North Carolina is only the sixth team to go from preseason No. 1 to unranked since at least the 1961-62 season, most recently with Michigan State during the 2019-20 season.

Of that group, the Tar Heels had the swiftest exit from the poll to start the season (four weeks) excet for UCLA in 1965-66. The Bruins fell out of the poll after just three weeks back when only 10 teams were ranked.

Ranked No. 18 last week, the Tar Heels (5-4) l ost their fourth straight game over the weekend at Virginia Tech while playing without banged-up big man Armando Bacot. They appeared on a single ballot this week from the 62-member panel that votes on the AP Top 25.

“I told them also that I’m not panicked, I’m not any of that,” coach Hubert Davis said afterward. “I’m convinced we’re going to be a great basketball team by the end of the season.”

Last year’s Tar Heels were on the bubble to even make the NCAA Tournament well into February in Davis’ debut season. They went on a final-month tear all the way to the NCAA championship game before falling to Kansas.

THE TOP TIER

Kansas climbed to No. 6, followed by three Southeastern Conference teams in Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas. For the Volunteers and Crimson Tide, it marked their first appearances inside the top 10 this year. Arizona rounded out the top 10, falling six spots after a loss at Utah.

RISING

No. 13 Maryland had the biggest jump of the week, vaulting nine spots after wins against Louisville and Illinois last week in the Terrapins’ first year under Kevin Willard. That marks the program’s highest ranking since pushing into the top 10 during the 2019-20 season.

Tennessee was next up with a six-spot climb, while No. 11 Auburn rose four spots.

In all, 13 teams climbed from last week.

SLIDING

Creighton had the week’s biggest fall, tumbling 14 spots to No. 21 after losing at Texas and at home to Nebraska last week.

No. 12 Baylor fell six spots after a loss to Marquette, though the Bears responded by beating Gonzaga on Friday in a rematch of the 2021 NCAA championship game won by Baylor.

The Zags, now No. 18, fell four spots to their lowest ranking since checking in at No. 20 on Christmas Day in 2017.

In all, four teams slid from last week.

STATUS QUO

Beyond the top three, No. 25 Ohio State remained in place after a tough loss at No. 15 Duke last week.

WELCOME

No. 23 Mississippi State and No. 24 TCU were the new additions to the poll, with the Bulldogs (8-0) earning their first AP Top 25 ranking under first-year coach Chris Jans since January 2019.

The Horned Frogs were ranked 14th and 15th, respectively, in the first two polls before falling out for two weeks.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW)

In addition to UNC, Michigan State (No. 20) fell out after losses to Notre Dame and Northwestern.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The SEC led the way with six ranked teams, including No. 16 Kentucky. The Big Ten and Big 12 each had five ranked teams, followed by two each for the Atlantic Coast, Pac-12 and Big East conferences.

The American Athletic, West Coast and Mountain West conferences each had one.

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer tops women’s AP Top 25 appearances

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer stands atop The Associated Press women’s basketball poll with the most appearances all time, breaking a tie with the late Pat Summitt.

VanDerveer’s Cardinal remained No. 2 behind top-ranked South Carolina, giving her 619 weeks with one of her teams in the AP Top 25: 592 weeks with Stanford and 27 with Ohio State when she was in charge of that program. Summitt’s 618 weeks in the poll all came with Tennessee.

The Hall of Fame coach downplayed the achievement.

“Fortunate to be here for 36 years. We have great players and have been successful,” VanDerveer said. “I don’t pay attention to (records). People bring it up and I’m like `OK, great.”‘

Louisville fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since 2016, a span of 127 weeks. That was the fifth longest active streak. The Cardinals (5-4) started the season ranked seventh and have struggled to find consistency this year, dropping their last two games to Ohio State and Middle Tennessee.

They are the third preseason top 10 team to fall out of the poll, joining Texas (this week) and Tennessee (last week). Before this year, only 10 preseason top 10 teams had fallen out of the rankings at some point during the year since the AP Top 25 became a writers’ poll in 1994-95.

Even more rare has been a preseason top five school dropping out. Only five teams had done that prior to this year and none before January. Tennessee was the last to do it, starting the 2015-16 season at No. 4 before falling out of the rankings Feb. 22.

Now Texas and Tennessee are both out before the New Year.

“Two factors are at play here. One of them is more parity with more good teams,” said Rebecca Lobo, the former UConn star, ESPN analyst and Top 25 voter. “The other factor at play is the transfer portal. I think those three teams all have multiple players who start who weren’t in their program a year ago. It’s a reflection that you can’t just assemble teams and right away expect them to be good. I think all those teams will in the poll by the end of the season.”

Ohio State moved up to No. 3 after, the Buckeyes’ best ranking since Nov. 30, 2009, when they also were third. Indiana and Notre Dame round out the top five.

UConn fell three spots to sixth with Virginia Tech seventh, the best ranking ever for the school. North Carolina and N.C. State were tied in eighth and Iowa State is 10th.

RANKED RAZORBACKS

Arkansas (10-0) vaulted into the poll at No. 21. The Razorbacks have a difficult month ahead with games against No. 18 Creighton and a tournament in San Diego that has Oregon, South Florida and Ohio State.

“I do think we know a lot about our team,” Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said.

He was also happy his team made the poll as every sports team on campus that has played this year has been ranked, including football, men’s basketball, soccer and cross country.

“We didn’t want to be the team that stops that streak,” he said..

FALLING LOUISVILLE

The Cardinals had been ranked ever week since Jan. 11, 2016. That was the same season they started the year at No. 8 before falling out on Nov. 30, the earliest a top 10 team had fallen out of the poll until last week. Things got better for Louisville as the Cardinals finished that regular season 24-6 and went 15-1 in the ACC.

HISTORIC WEEK

With Louisville, Texas and Tennessee all out of the Top 25, it marks only the second time in the poll’s history that none of those three teams were ranked. The only other time was the first-ever poll in 1976.

COMING AND GOING

Oklahoma and Kansas State also returned to the Top 25 this week, coming in at No. 23 and No. 24. Marquette dropped out after losing to Seton Hall.