Thursday’s Shootaround: The SEC struggles, Xavier rolls again

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No. 12 Florida 78, Arizona 72 OT: See here.

Dayton 74, No. 15 Alabama 62: See here.

No. 8 Xavier 73, Butler 61: The Musketeers were just too physical for Butler as they used a 21-6 run to open the game and kept the Bulldogs at bay, only allowing them to get within four points once midway through the second half. Tu Holloway struggled from the field but played a solid floor games, finishing with 16 points (14-16 from the line), seven boards and six steals. Mark Lyons added 16 points and Dez Wells chipped in with 13 points.

No. 22 Illinois 48, St. Bonaventure 43: Good teams win games when they don’t play well, which means that Illinois has to be a good team, right? Because the Illini managed to avoid losing at home to Andrew Nicholson on a night where they weren’t even close to good. Brandon Paul scored 12 of his 17 points in the final four minutes of the games as Illinois erased a 38-30 deficit with just over six minutes remaining. Paul added five boards and five assists as well.

Vanderbilt 87, Davidson 83: Festus Ezeli returned on Wednesday, going for 15 points, six boards and two blocks off the bench as the Commodores got 30 points from Jeff Taylor and 22 from John Jenkins in a win at Davidson. Last week I wrote that the concern I have about Ezeli’s return was that he wouldn’t solve the problems that Vanderbilt has. Well, the ‘Dores, with Ezeli back, got a career-high out of Taylor and had Jenkins shooting the ball well and still nearly blew an 18 point second half lead against Davidson.

Purdue 65, Western Carolina 60: Purdue held WCU to just 37% shooting and forced 19 turnovers as they came back from an eight point halftime deficit to knock off the Catamounts. Robbie Hummel had 19 points and seven boards to lead the way for the Boilermakers, who won despite shooting 39% from the floor and hitting just 19-36 from the free throw line.

Wichita State 77, Tulsa 67: Toure’ Murry scored 17 points, but it was a pair of three-point plays that book-ended a David Kyles three during a key, 9-2 run for the Shockers that made the difference. Murry’s second three-point play made the score 66-60 with just 4:21 left on the clock, and WSU avoided a let-down game on the road after having beat UNLV by 19 at home with the Rebels were ranked.

Iona 80, Denver 78 OT: The Gaels got a jumper from Randy Dezouvre with 1.6 seconds left in the extra frame, pulling out a quality win on the road against a better-than-you-think Denver team. Iona was down by as much as 13 in the second half to the Pioneers, a team whose Princeton-style offense starkly contrasts to the uptempo style that Iona likes to play. Momo Jones led the Gaels with 21, while Scott Machado added 19 and seven assists.

Cal St. Fullerton 81, Utah 50: The Utes may not win a game this season. Seriously. They are that bad. Proof? This game was played at Utah and Fullerton lost to Houston Baptist. Yuck.

UAB 66, Middle Tennessee State 56: Well, that should take our expectations for MTSU down a bit. UAB is in full rebuilding mode this season.

The rest of the top 25

No. 5 Duke 87, Colorado State 64: Andre Dawkins scored 15 points in the first half (but he sat out the second half with back spasms) and Austin Rivers scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half as the Blue Devils rolled through the Rams.

No. 6 Louisville 90, IUPUI 60: IUPUI kept things close for about 25 minutes, but the Cardinals turned it on in the second half, but used a 15-0 run in the second half to turn this into a rout. Gorgui Dieng went for 18 points and 12 boards on 8-8 shooting, and Louisville got Rakeem Buckles back from injury.

No. 16 Wisconsin 70, UW-Green Bay 42: Jordan Taylor had 15 points, 10 assists and no turnovers as the Badgers bounced back from back-to-back losses to UNC and Marquette last week.

No. 25 Texas A&M 64, Sam Houston State 37: Ray Turner had 15 points and 10 boards and Elston Turner added 14 points as the Aggies won going away. They are still waiting on Khris Middleton’s return.

Other notable scores:

– Georgia Tech 68, Georgia 56
– Michigan State 89, CCSU 69
– Lafayette 61, Penn State 57
– Virginia Tech 78, Rhode Island 67
– Penn 69, Delaware 60
– Ohio 84, Oakland 82

Top Performers

Nick Barbour, High Point: Barbour had 35 points and hit seven threes, but High Point lost by four to Wake Forest.

Deonte Burton, Nevada: Burton continued his hot play, as he went for 28 points and four assists as the Wolfpack knocked off their second straight Pac-12 opponent, this time going into Tempe and beating Arizona State.

Dylon Cormier, Loyola MD: Cormier had 26 points, nine boards and four assists as the Greyhounds went into the Smith Center and knocked off GW 65-55.

Langston Galloway, St. Joe’s: Galloway had 30 points as the Hawks bounced back from a loss at American to knock off BU.

Zack Rosen, Penn: Rosen may be the best point guard in the country that you’ve never heard off. He had 29 points, eight assists and just a single turnover as the Quakers knocked off Delaware.

Geraldo Suero, Albany: Suero is one of the best scorers in the country at any level. He finished with 29 points in a win over Colgate.

Patric Young, Florida: The scary part about the 25 points and 10 boards Young had against Arizona? He could have had much more if his guards had given him the ball.

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