Thursday’s Shootaround: UNLV survives in 2OT in an exciting night of hoops

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No. 20 UNLV 94, UC-Santa Barbara 88 2OT: This game had about as wild of a finish as you’ll see in a basketball game. After Mike Moser hit his sixth and final three of the game, UNLV took a ten point lead with just two minutes left in the game. But thanks to a series of turnovers and missed free throws from UNLV and a little bit of luck for the Gauchos down the stretch, UCSB was able to force overtime. Down three with just two seconds left on the clock, Orlando Johnson — who finished with 36 points — was fouled by UNLV. He made the first and missed the second, but 7’3″ Greg Somogyi got the loose ball and scored on the putback (see the 30 second mark).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUGqpKQp_Fw%5D

There was a bit of controversy that the game even got to that point. Joe Nunnally was called for a charge on a dunk that would have given the Gauchos a one point lead with a free throw coming. In the first overtime, UCSB hit back-to-back threes to take a three point lead. After Bellfield tied the game with 40 seconds on the clock with a three of his own, Nunnally was fouled shooting a three with 13 seconds left. At the other end of the floor, however, Chace Stanback hit a fadeaway three-pointer — that was described by Moser as “a beauty. I almost cried watching that ball go in” — that sent the game into a second overtime, where UNLV pulled away down the stretch to win it.

Mike Moser was unbelievable. He finished with 34 points (25 of which came after halftime), 10 boards and three assists, carrying the Rebels in the second half. It was Moser’s sixth double-double of the season and easily his most impressive scoring output. But the most important part of Moser’s game tonight was the six threes he hit. He came into the game shooting just 2-17 from beyond the arc, which was the only weakness in his game.

Also of note: both of the up-three, late-game strategies failed here. UNLV fouled, and UCSB got an offensive rebound. UCSB opted to play straight up, and UNLV hit a tough three.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge Day 2: After going 6-0 on Day 1 and winning the first two games of the night, I missed on three of the last four games. 9-3 ain’t bad, though.

No. 5 North Carolina 60, No. 7 Wisconsin 57: See here.

Indiana 86, North Carolina State 75: This was an important win for the Hoosiers. They went on the road and knocked off a good-if-not-great Wolfpack team in front of a national audience, and did so while getting impressive performances out of Jordy Hulls, Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. But if you are a Hoosier fan, don’t take this win to mean that Indiana is going to compete for the Big Ten title. They can score, that’s for sure. And Indiana has a shot to make the NCAA Tournament. But right now they aren’t good enough defensively or physical enough in the paint to be anything more than in the same hodge-podge that Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois currently find themselves in.

Michigan State 65, Florida State 49: Tom Izzo finally got some scoring from their perimeter, as Keith Appling went for 24 points and Brandon Wood added 16, 10 boards and five assists. That’s a good sign. For Florida State, there aren’t many good signs. This team still cannot score.

Minnesota 58, Virginia Tech 55: Ugly loss for Virginia Tech, who lost to a Minnesota team that was missing Ralph Sampson and Trevor Mbakwe. If the Hokies have any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, losing games like this aren’t going to help. The game was lost when, down one with 8.5 seconds left, Virginia Tech threw an inbounds pass that bounced off of Robert Brown’s hands and into the back court for a turnover.

Wake Forest 55, Nebraska 53: The Demon Deacons picked up a road win against Nebraska, and while Nebraska is still Nebraska, a road win for Wake Forest is not easy to come by these days. CJ Harris won it with a wide-open layup that came off some atrocious pick-and-roll defense.

Penn State 62, Boston College 54: Tim Frazier had 22 points and five assists. He was on my FanDuel fantasy team. That’s all I got from this mess.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 14 Kansas 77, Florida Atlantic 54: This is the same Kansas team, just on the mainland now. Thomas Robinson had 19 points, 17 boards and four blocks, but shot 4-13 from the floor. Tyshawn Taylor had 18 points and four assists, but Elijah Johnson? He went scoreless and had seven of the Jayhawk’s 17 turnovers.

No. 17 Pitt 80, Duquesne 69: Dante Taylor returned to the Panther lineup to score 15 points and 11 boards as Pitt pulled away from Duquesne in the second half.

No. 18 Gonzaga 73, Notre Dame 53: It is going to be a long, long season in South Bend without Tim Abromaitis. The Irish simply don’t have anyone that can score. David Stockton had 15 points and three assists off the bench while Elias Harris went for 11 points, 15 boards and four assists.

No. 22 Creighton 85, San Diego State 83: See here.

George Mason 61, Bucknell 57: The Patriots, believe it or not, actually out-executed the Bison down the stretch. Ryan Pearson led the way with 16 points as George Mason picked up a much needed win against Patriot favorite Bucknell.

Denver 67, Utah State 54: Can we call the Pioneers for real yet? I know that the Aggies were without Brady Jardine, but behind 15 points each from Chris Udofia and Rob Lewis, Denver became the first team since Feb. 21st, 2009, to win at the Spectrum in Logan.

Elizabeth City State 69, Norfolk State 57: Yes, that’s the same Norfolk State that almost beat Marquette.

St. Joe’s 62, Drexel 49: The Hawks knocked off Drexel, dropping the Dragons to 2-3 on the season. More impressive? They did it with Carl Jones and Langston Galloway both having off nights. CJ Aiken, however, went for 13 points and nine blocks.

Brown 65, URI 56: Jim Baron benched his starters trying to light a spark under this team, but nothing. Rhody dropped to 1-6 on the year as they lost to an Ivy also-ran.

Northern Iowa 69, Iowa State 62: Anthony James had 17 points and five boards to lead the Panthers to an impressive win over the Cyclones in Ames. UNI also has a win over Old Dominion on the road.

Other notable games:

– Ohio 70, Marshall 68
– Colorado State 65, Colorado 64
– Oral Roberts 68, Missouri State 63
– South Alabama 55, UAB 47
– Washington State 69, Grambling 37
– Boise State 108, Drake 64
– New Mexico 65, Idaho State 41
– BYU 87, Northern Arizona 52
– USC 56, UC Riverside 35

Top performers:

Keith Appling, Michigan State: Appling had 24 points and seven boards, providing a perimeter punch for the Spartans as they knocked off Florida State.

Orlando Johnson, UC-Santa Barbara: As impressive as Mike Moser’s 34 points and 10 boards were, Orlando Johnson may have been better, finishing with 36 points and 10 boards as the Gauchos forced UNLV to double-overtime.

Alfonzo McKinnie, Eastern Illinois: McKinnie had 24 points and 14 boards as EIU knocked off Maine in overtime.

Doug McDermott, Creighton: McDermott played like an all-american, going for 25 points and 12 boards as the Bluejays came from behind twice to knock off San Diego State.

LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State: The talented freshman had 21 points after playing just 11 minutes the day after Thanksgiving, leading the Cowboys to a win over a talented-but-underperforming Tulsa team.

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

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

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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

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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 are 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.

Northwestern beats No. 20 Michigan State in Big Ten opener

Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Boo Buie scored 20 points and Northwestern beat No. 20 Michigan State 70-63 on Sunday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Chase Audige added 15 points and Ty Berry had 13 for Northwestern (6-2), which ended a two-game losing streak.

“Needless to say, this was a huge win for us,” coach Chris Collins said. “Coming off our performance in the ACC-Big Ten challenge, where we lost badly on our home floor (to Pittsburgh), I was really pleased with our resolve the past couple days.”

Mady Sossoko and A.J. Hoggard each had 12 points for Michigan State (5-4) and Joey Hauser added 10. The Spartans have lost two in a row, falling to Notre Dame earlier in the week.

Hoggard cut Northwestern’s lead to 64-63 with 46 seconds left. After a timeout, Buie scored on a layup with 23 seconds left.

“We got out-toughed,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Northwestern took the lead late in the first half on a layup by Buie and never relinquished it, leading by as many as nine points.

“We put (the loss to Pittsburgh) under the rug,” Buie said. “We turned the page, just like we do with any win or loss. The season is so long you can’t get caught up on one single game. Just like tonight. We’re super happy with the win, but after tonight it’s over. You can’t dwell on things.”

The Wildcats went 21 of 24 on free throws, while the Spartans were 9 of 12.

“I was concerned about a knockout punch early,” Collins said. ‘I knew they would be revved up after the Notre Dame loss. They hit us early and got a seven-point lead, and then we settled down.”

UP NEXT

Northwestern: Hosts Prairie View A&M on Dec. 11

Michigan State: At Penn State on Wednesday night.

Miles, No. 7 Notre Dame women beat No. 3 UConn; Fudd hurt

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Olivia Miles had 21 points and eight rebounds for No. 7 Notre Dame, and UConn star Azzi Fudd suffered a knee injury in a collision with a teammate, as the Fighting Irish handed the third-ranked Huskies their first loss of the season, 74-60 on Sunday.

“I think she’ll be all right,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said afterwards of Fudd, who went into the day averaging 24.0 points, but finished scoreless on two shots over 13 minutes.

Fudd exited in the final minute of the first quarter after teammate Aaliyah Edwards fell on her. She returned midway through the second period to play four hobbled minutes, but sat the rest of the way as a precaution, according to Auriemma.

Maddy Westbeld had a season-high 17 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame (7-1), which bounced back from a 74-72 loss to No. 20 Maryland three days earlier.

“I think Thursday’s loss really fueled us today,” Irish coach Niele Ivey said. “We learned a lot from that game. We have incredible scorers on our team, a lot of balance offensively, but it’s our defense that’s gonna win games, so that was our focus the last 48 hours. (The players) took the challenge and came out and played with heart and defensive intensity. I feel like if we can play that way, we can beat anyone in the country.”

Notre Dame shot 56% from the field while limiting the Huskies to 37%.

“We played very badly (Thursday), but we were still two points away,” Miles said, “so it’s kind of scary what we can do when we play really well.”

Led by Miles, the Irish roared to a 41-24 lead by intermission, outscoring the Huskies 30-11 over the final 11 minutes of the first half.

Miles scored 13 of Notre Dame’s 18 first-quarter points, going 6 of 7 from the field. Westbeld provided her scoring punch after averaging 5.2 points over her previous five outings.

Lou Lopez Senechal led UConn (6-1) with 21 points. Edwards added 14.

“We didn’t win the rebound battle and that hurt us,” said Auriemma, whose club was outboarded 39-26 and outscored in the paint. 46-16. “We just didn’t have enough scoring on the court and enough people playing at a real high level to get enough buckets when we needed them.”

The Huskies got as close at 49-44 at the 3:44 mark of the third quarter, but the Irish stretched their lead back to as high as 70-53 at the midway mark of the fourth period.

Notre Dame ended a seven-game head-to-head losing streak against UConn in regular-season play, prevailing for the first time since a triple-overtime decision in March 2013.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The Huskies faced a top-10 opponent for the fourth time this season, but this one was their first true road game. If Fudd’s injury doesn’t turn out to be serious, UConn ought to still have a chance to do what it’s done for decades: craft a resume that will make them a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Notre Dame: The Irish, coming back from that loss at the buzzer to Maryland, showed that Thursday’s outcome may just be a blip on their promising season. Notre Dame matched last season’s win over No. 3 North Carolina State for the highest-ranked team it has beaten in its third year under Ivey.

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies host Princeton on Thursday before visiting Maryland next Sunday.

Notre Dame: The Irish have a couple apparent mismatches coming up as they visit Lafayette (2-7) on Thursday and host Merrimack (1-6) on Saturday.