Game of the Week: Arizona 107, Cal 105 3OT
Arizona was in control for much of the early portion of Saturday’s Pac-10 tilt with the Golden Bears. They took a six point lead into halftime and pushed it to nine midway through the second half. But Cal wasn’t going anywhere, as they used an 11-0 run to turn a 59-51 deficit into a 62-59 lead. The Bears eventually would take a 75-70 lead with less than a minute left. That is when the Momo Jones show starter.
Jones found Kevin Parrom for a three with 33 seconds left that cut Cal’s lead to two, and after a Brandon Smith free throw, Jones scored an and-one with 16 seconds remaining that forced overtime. At the end of the first overtime, Allen Crabbe scored four straight points that tied the game at 87 and forced a second extra frame. In the second overtime, Jones was once again the hero, hitting a three with six seconds left that tied the game at 98 and forced a third extra frame.
Then, in the third overtime, Jones scored on a layup with 1:06 left that put Arizona up for good 104-103. Kevin Parrom, who had a career-high 25 points to support the career-high 27 that Jones had, hit three free throws down the stretch to seal it. Cal had a chance to tie the game, but Arizona fouled them with two seconds left up three points.
It must be noted: Harvard 83, Penn 82
In one of the best games in recent Ivy League history, Penn came back from 18 points down in the second half to force two overtimes against league heavyweight Harvard. In the second OT, Harvard was down by three points with 90 ticks left on the clock, but they got three consecutive stops and a bucket from Oliver McNally that eventually won the game.
I would go more in depth, but John Ezekowitz did me one better with a terrific write-up for College Hoops Journal.
Player of the Week: Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer, Wisconsin
The Badgers strung together two really nice wins this week, knocking off Purdue at home to pull into a tie in second place in the Big Ten standings before blowing out Michigan State at home by 26 points. And while I wish I could pick one of these two to name the player of the week, they were both that impressive.
Taylor was better against Michigan State, lighting up Kalin Lucas to the tune of 30 points on 9-13 shooting while also handing out six assists and turning the ball over just once. Jon Leuer had a respectable 20 points and six boards in the blowout of the Spartans, but he was better against Purdue, finishing with 24 points and 13 boards while outplaying Purdue star JaJuan Johnson. Taylor had 15 points, seven boards, and five assists against Purdue.
Leuer and Taylor have both been terrific all season long. They will need to be on Saturday, as Ohio State visits Madison.
The all-they-were-good-too team:
- G: Andrew Goudelock, Charleston: Goudelock averaged 27.0 ppg as the Cougars blew out both Wofford and Furman, taking over sole possession of first place in the SoCon.
- G: Kendall Marshall, UNC: The performance of note was Marshall going for nine points and 16 assists (a UNC record for ACC play) with just three turnovers in 36 minutes against Florida State. Larry who? Harrison Barnes also deserves a mention, as he averaged 21.5 ppg and 8.0 rpg for the week.
- F: Chandler Parsons, Florida: Parsons has been a different player since conference play began, and this week he played two of his best games of the season. In wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky, Parsons averaged 17.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, and 3.5 apg.
- F: Ryan Pearson, George Mason: Pearson was one of the biggest reasons that the Patriots swept Hofstra and Old Dominion and have moved into a tie in first place in the CAA. He averaged 18.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg.
- C: Mason Plumlee, Duke: Plumlee had his two best games of the season since Kyrie Irving was injured, finishing with 12 points and 11 boards in 36 minutes against Jordan Williams of Maryland and then going for 16 points and 12 boards against NC State. Plumlee had four steals and three blocks for the week while shooting 13-15 from the floor.
- Bench: Ben Hanbrough, Notre Dame (24.5 ppg, 4.0 apg in a 2-0 week); Marshon Brooks, Providence (43 points, 10 boards in loss to Georgetown); Anthony Hill, Milwaukee (29 points, 15 boards vs. Green Bay); Scootie Randall (20.5 ppg in a 2-0 week, including 27 points, seven boards vs. Rhode Island); Alex Young, IUPUI (27.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg in 2-0 week including 31 points, nine boards in a win over Oakland); Anthony Nelson, Niagara (10 points, 10 boards, 14 assists vs. Marist); Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State (37 points, 19 boards, six blocks vs. Coppin State)
Team of the Week: North Carolina Tar Heels
UNC had an eventful week. It started off with a road trip Boston College in a snow storm that resulted in the Heels beating the Eagles 106-74. Harrison Barnes was on fire for the second straight game, scoring 26 points on 9-15 shooting, Reggie Bullock hit four threes in the span of three minutes, and, most importantly, the Heels got their best game out of their point guard rotation, as Larry Drew and Kendall Marshall combined for seven points and 15 assists while turning the ball over just three times.
Then on Friday, Drew quit. He up and left the team without warning, putting the Heels in what appeared to be a tough spot. Marshall was forced to play a career-high 36 minutes, and made quite a few folks down in Chapel Hill forget about Drew. He had 16 assists (a record for UNC players in ACC play) and just three turnovers while helping UNC score 89 points against the nation’s second best defensive team.
North Carolina blew out their third straight opponent and, at least for now, appears to have become Duke’s only legitimate contender for the ACC regular season title. We will know by Wednesday, when UNC will play their first game against the Dukies.
Who else had a good week:
- Florida: After beating both Vanderbilt and Kentucky this week, the Gators have moved a game ahead of Tennessee in the SEC East and two games ahead of the rest of the division. For a team whose biggest question mark is the decision making of their back court players, the Gators have proven to be a very good team in the clutch, winning a lot of close games against good teams. They’ve won 10 of 12 since their loss to Jacksonville, including a four point win at Xavier, a six point OT win at Tennessee, a five point win at Auburn, a double overtime win at Georgia, and this week’s four point win against Vanderbilt and two point win at Florida.
- Wisconsin: The Badgers may not be able to win away from the Kohl Center (honestly, who can this season), but they certainly are proving their dominance at home. After beating Purdue on Tuesday night, the Badgers pounded Michigan State on Sunday. With Jordan Taylor playing like an all-american and Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil proving to be the matchup nightmare we all knew they would be, the Badgers look like a team you don’t want to play in March.
- Villanova: The Wildcats bounced back from losing three of four to sweep Marquette and West Virginia this week. Those wins became all the more important when Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs sprained his mcl, which will force him out of the lineup for the next two weeks. Villanova is one of three teams sitting two games back of the Panthers in the Big East standings, and the Wildcats get Pitt on Saturday.
- Oregon: The Ducks, who have the talent of a team that would struggle in the WAC, are currently sitting at 5-6 in the Pac-10 after sweep the Washington schools at home this week. Joevan Catron has developed into one of the best post players in the conference, and Dana Altman has to be in the conversation when you talk about the best coaching jobs this season.
- Alabama: Believe it or not, the Crimson Tide sit all alone atop the SEC standings at the midway point of conference play. They are 7-1 after winning at Tennessee in overtime on Saturday and beating Mississippi State at home on Wednesday. As we wrote on Saturday, the most interesting part about Alabama’s start to the season is that they are far from a lock to earn an at-large bid, and could very well be kept home from the tournament should they win the SEC regular season title.
- Syracuse: The Orange bounced back from a four game losing streak — and managed to play off the rumor and innuendo surrounding their program — by going into Hartford and knocking off UConn. The Orange followed that up with a win over South Florida in Florida.
- Charleston: The Cougars took control off the SoCon’s southern division by routing both of the other contenders. Charleston beat Wofford by 28 points — outscoring them 45-15 in the second half — before knocking off Furman by 19. The Cougars also took sole possession of first place in the SoCon thanks to a loss by northern division leader Chattanooga.
- George Mason: The Patriots knocked off both Hofstra and Old Dominion this week, and in convincing fashion. They beat the Pride by 19 points and took out the Monarchs at home by 17. Mason has now won nine straight games to move into a first place tie with VCU, who lost at Northeastern on Wednesday.
- UCLA: The Bruins knocked off both St. John’s and USC this week, meaning that they have now won seven of their last eight games and moved all alone into second place in the Pac-10 thanks to Washington’s tough week.
- Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers took a full two game lead in the Big South thanks to a win over Liberty. CCU has now swept the Flames, and have won 20 straight games since losing to Georgetown in the Charleston Classic.
- Princeton: The Tigers jumped into first place in the Ivy League this week after sweeping Harvard and Dartmouth. Princeton sits a game in front of both the Crimson and Penn in the Ivy League standings. The last two games of the Tiger’s season? At Harvard and at Penn.
Matchups of the Week:
- 2/7- 7:00 pm: Pitt @ West Virginia
- 2/7 – 9:00 pm: Missouri @ Kansas
- 2/8 – 7:00 pm: Xavier @ Georgia
- 2/8 – 7:00 pm: Penn @ Princeton
- 2/8 – 9:00 pm: Tennessee @ Kentucky
- 2/9 – 7:00 pm: Louisville @ Notre Dame
- 2/9 – 7:00 pm: Georgetown @ Syracuse
- 2/9 – 9:00 pm: UNC @ Duke
- 2/10 – 7:00 pm: UConn @ St. John’s
- 2/10 – 9:00 pm: Illinois @ Minnesota
- 2/10 – 9:00 pm: Alabama @ Vanderbilt
- 2/12 – 12:00 pm: Syracuse @ Louisville
- 2/12 – 1:00 pm: Kentucky @ Vanderbilt
- 2/12 – 2:00 pm: Ohio State @ Wisconsin
- 2/12 – 6:00 pm: Tennessee @ Florida
- 2/12 – 9:00 pm: SDSU @ UNLV
- 2/12 – 9:00 pm: Pitt @ Villanova
- 2/13 – 1:00 pm: Marquette @ Georgetown
- 2/13 – 1:00 pm: Minnesota @ Illinois
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.