Thursday’s Shootaround: SDSU survives, Southern Miss takes control of CUSA

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No. 14 Georgetown 58, UConn 44: See here.

No. 12 San Diego State 58, Boise State 56: On Saturday afternoon, San Diego State was drilled by Colorado State, losing by 17 in a game that was never much in doubt after the first 10 minutes. On Wednesday, the Aztecs did everything they could to try and earn their second straight upset loss. They shot just 31.3% from the floor. They went just 3-19 from three. They got behind by as much as 12 points in the second half. And after using a 22-3 run to take a seven point lead with six minutes left, the Aztecs nearly blew it. On the game’s final possession, Boise State, who was only down two after Chase Tapley missed a free throw, somehow managed to find a wide-open Thomas Bropleh, but his three was off the mark.

That’s called escaping.

There are a couple of things to take out of this game. For starters, this is the second time that Boise has given a league favorite a run for their money; they took UNLV to overtime earlier this season. And while their record in league play may not be all that pretty (0-6 rarely is), this is a young group that is still learning to play at the collegiate level. I’d put money on the Broncos pulling off a couple of upsets before the season is over and really making a name for themselves next year.

The mark of a good team is that they are able to win games when they don’t play their best basketball, and if this game showed us anything, its that SDSU is apparently a good team. They do, however, need to get this slump figured out. Steve Fisher’s team is guard-oriented this season, which means that there are going to be some games where the Aztecs cannot buy a jumpshot. They cannot, however, allow one bad game to beget another.

No. 13 UNLV 82, Colorado State 63: Perhaps the only people rooting for Bropleh’s game-winner to drop more than Boise State fans were UNLV fans. Had the Broncos knocked off the Aztecs, than UNLV’s 19 point win over Colorado State would have moved the Rebels into first place in the MWC. Anthony Marshall and Oscar Bellfield combined to go for 29 points, 13 assists and just four turnovers as UNLV shot 50% from the floor and hit nine threes in a game that was never really in doubt.

This loss adds more credence to the notion that UNLV is the best team in the conference, not SDSU. The Aztecs lost to Colorado State by 17. UNLV beat them by 19. That’s a big difference, although neither team was as impressive as New Mexico in their 33 point win over the Rams. Maybe Colorado State is simply team schizophrenia.

No. 6 Baylor 63, Texas A&M 60: Pierre Jackson is a bit of a polarizing figure in college basketball circles. Some love him as a player, others simply love his athletic ability and some believe he is going to eventually be the downfall of Baylor’s team this season. All are fair perspectives. Jackson is a ridiculous athlete with the ability to do some incredible things on a basketball court, but there are times where he buys into his own hype too much. When he plays as Pierre Jackson, he’s great. When he tries to be Steve Francis, he struggles. Its that simple.

But the one thing that no one can disagree with is his ability in the clutch. He’s proven time and time again that he’s a player that can be trusted with the ball in his hands at the end of a game. On Wednesday, he hit a three with 17 seconds left to put Baylor up 61-60 and followed that up with two free throws after Elston Turner missed a tough fadeaway jumper. (Jump to the 2:45 mark):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlVNt_sXbP8%5D

Its the fourth time this season that Jackson has made a play in the final minute that has won a game or forced overtime. Against BYU, his block of a Brandon Davies’ three saved the game. Against West Virginia, he forced OT with a three. And in a win over Mississippi State, he scored the game-winning bucket on a driving layup in the final minute.

No. 22 Michigan 68, No. 20 Indiana 56: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Indiana lost on the road to a quality opponent. This game was eerily similar to the loss the Hoosiers had at Michigan State earlier in the season. The Wolverines jumped out to a 13-0 lead and led by as much as 20 in the first half, but the Hoosiers came storming back. They got within two points late in the second half, but Stu Douglass and Tim Hardaway, Jr., hit back-to-back threes to push the lead back up to eight points. The win moved Michigan into a tie with Wisconsin for second place in the league, one game behind Ohio State in the loss column and one game ahead of Michigan State in the win column. Trey Burke led the way with 18 points, four boards and four assists.

Southern Miss 75, Memphis 72: In one of the best games of the night — a game that didn’t actually get on the air until midway through the first half thanks to a high school football all-star game — Southern Miss won their 16th game in the last 17 outings, taking over sole possession of first place in the Conference USA standings. Darnell Dodson had 23 points and Neil Watson added 17 as USM did everything they could down the stretch to give the game back to Memphis. Chris Crawford missed a decent look at a three as time expired, however, the first time Southern Miss has beaten the Tigers in 18 tries. Its worth noting that, when USM lost to Memphis, it was because the Golden Eagles missed a three at the buzzer to win it. Can we get a grudge match?

Texas-Arlington 67, Texas-San Antonio 66: LaMarcus Reed scored 24 points as UTA christened their new arena with a win that moved them into sole possession of first place in the Southland.

The Atlantic 10: The conference just gets weirder and weirder. So here’s what happened last night: Xavier won a tight game against George Washington; UMass lost in overtime to Rhode Island; St. Joe’s beat Richmond on the road; Temple and La Salle beat Fordham and Charlotte, respectively, at home; Dayton lost their third game in a row to Duquesne at home; and St. Bonaventure blew out St. Louis.

Ok.

What’s that mean?

La Salle (?!) is currently sitting all alone in first place in the league at 6-2. Temple, at 5-2, and Xavier, at 6-3, are both a half game back. St. Louis, UMass and St. Bonaventure are all 5-3 while Dayton, Duquesne and St. Joe’s are all 4-4. Got it? Good. There will be a quiz on Friday.

The CAA: Quite obviously, the big news in the Colonial is that George Mason, who had been holding on to first place in the conference, lost at Delaware on Wednesday night. With Drexel and VCU both winning, it now means there is a three-way tie for first place in the league, with Old Dominion sitting just a game back in the win column.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 8 Kansas 84, Oklahoma 62: Thomas Robinson has 20 points, 17 boards, four assists, two blocks and two steals while Tyshawn Taylor added 21 points and six assists in a Jayhawk win.

No. 12 Creighton 102, Illinois State 74: The Bluejays got 25 points from Doug McDermott as they stayed a game in front of Wichita State in the MVC standings. The Shockers beat Missouri State 74-67 on the road.

No. 24 Florida State 68, Georgia Tech 54: Michael Snaer scored 21 points and the Seminoles bounced back from a halftime deficit to knock off the Yellow Jackets.

Other notable scores:

– Davidson 71, Furman 53
– Akron 86, Toledo 72
– Marshall 63, Tulane 44
– Stony Brook 82, Binghamton 48
– NC State 56, Boston College 51
– Miami 90, Maryland 86 2OT
– Ohio 67, Northern Illinois 58

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

No. 16 Xavier beats No. 17 Providence 85-83 in OT thriller

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CINCINNATI — Jack Nunge had 23 points and 14 rebounds as No. 16 Xavier held off No. 17 Providence 85-83 in an overtime thriller Wednesday night.

Colby Jones and Souley Boum each scored 20 for the Musketeers, who won a first-place showdown in the Big East without injured forward Zach Freemantle.

Noah Locke had 22 points and Ed Croswell added 21 for Providence (17-6, 9-3), which had beaten Xavier three straight times.

A layup by Boum put the Musketeers (18-5, 10-2) ahead 82-79 with 51 seconds remaining in overtime. A turnover by the Musketeers led to a layup by Devin Carter that cut Xavier’s lead to one with 24 seconds left.

Boum hit one of two free throws, and Jared Bynum’s 3-point attempt from the left corner rimmed out at the buzzer as the Musketeers held on.

Xavier played its first game without Freemantle, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. He is expected to miss four weeks with a left foot injury, the same foot that required surgery in 2021.

Jerome Hunter, who has excelled off the bench for the Musketeers, made his first start of the season and scored nine points with eight rebounds. Xavier had used the same starting lineup in each of its previous 11 Big East games.

Things started well for the Musketeers. who went on a 12-1 run to build a 25-11 lead.

With Boum on the bench with two fouls, the Musketeers didn’t have a field goal in the final 4:18 of the first half and the Friars pulled to 39-35 at halftime.

Providence outscored Xavier 8-2 to start the second half and took its first lead, 43-41, with 17:41 left.

There was a frantic finish to the second half, with Adam Kunkel’s 3-pointer putting Xavier ahead 76-73 with 55 seconds left. But then Bynum banked in a tying 3 and Boum missed two long shots to send the game to overtime.

BIG PICTURE

Providence: The Friars, who won their first Big East regular-season title last year, entered the night tied atop the conference standings with Xavier and No. 14 Marquette, which hosted Villanova later. Providence was picked fifth in the preseason.

Xavier: Hunter, who averages 14 minutes, left with three minutes remaining in OT with an apparent cramp in his right leg. With Freemantle out, Hunter played 36 minutes.

UP NEXT

Providence: Hosts last-place Georgetown on Wednesday.

Xavier: Will host St. John’s on Saturday.

Florida upends No. 2 Tennessee 67-54 behind Colin Castleton

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Colin Castleton had 20 points and nine rebounds, Kyle Lofton added 14 points and Florida used a 13-0 run late in the second half to upend No. 2 Tennessee 67-54 on Wednesday night.

The Volunteers, playing with their highest ranking in four years, lost for the first time in five games. They had won nine of 10.

Tennessee (18-4, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) looked like it had taken control midway through the second half. They outscored Florida by 10 points in the early going to take a six-point lead.

But the Gators (13-9, 6-3) stormed back behind Castleton, who scored 11 of 14 points as Florida rallied. The senior had a dunk, two free throws, a three-point play, a layup and a short jumper – essentially putting the team on his back down the stretch.

Myreon Jones and Will Richard chipped in nine points apiece for the Gators.

Zakai Ziegler led the Vols with 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Olivier Nkamhoua added 11 points and nine rebounds for the vistors, who also got 11 points and eight boards from Vescovi Santiago.

Florida led 27-21 at halftime, just the fifth time the Volunteers has trailed at the break this season. Tennessee rallied to win three of the previous four.

The Gators were red hot to start, making six of their first eight shots – including all three from 3-point range – while building a 17-4 advantage. But they quickly cooled against the nation’s best defense, missing nine of their next 11 as Tennessee made cut it to 22-21.

The Vols had it going coming out of the locker room, with Ziegler getting into the paint and making things happen. But it was short-lived – thanks mostly to Castleton.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Tennessee surely will drop a few spots in next week’s AP Top 25 college basketball poll.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers gave up 10 points in the opening four minutes of the games, a rare sluggish start for the nation’s best defense. Tennessee had held four of its first eight SEC opponents scoreless at the first media timeout, roughly the first four minutes of games. It was a sign of things to come.

Florida: The Gators have been resilient much of the season, and this was arguably the most impressive comeback of the season for coach Todd Golden’s team. The Gators squandered a 13-point lead early and a six-point advantage in the second half. But they rallied when it mattered.

IN THE HOUSE

Football coach Billy Napier watched the game from a few rows behind Florida’s bench alongside his two sons and receiver Ricky Pearsall. Former Florida tennis star Ben Shelton, the NCAA singles champion in 2022, also was in attendance. So was former Gators and NFL quarterback Doug Johnson.

UP NEXT

Tennessee hosts No. 25 Auburn and former coach Bruce Pearl on Saturday.

Florida plays at Kentucky on Saturday. The Gators have lost seven of eight in the series.

No. 8 Kansas avenges earlier loss to No. 7 Kansas State, 90-78

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Jalen Wilson had 20 points, Kevin McCullar Jr. added 16 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 8 Kansas avenged a loss to Kansas State just a couple of weeks ago with a 90-78 victory over the seventh-ranked Wildcats.

Dajuan Harris Jr. scored 18 for the Jayhawks (18-4, 6-3 Big 12), who built a 12-point halftime lead before coasting to their 17th straight home win over the Wildcats in the 10th matchup of top-10 teams in series history.

Kansas has rebounded nicely from a rare three-game skid that included the overtime loss to Kansas State, and made sure to avoid taking back-to-back losses in its storied home for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

Markquis Nowell scored 23 points and Keyontae Johnson had 22 to lead the Wildcats (18-4, 6-3), who were trying for their first regular-season sweep of their biggest rival in four decades. Nae’Qwan Tomlin added 11 points and David N’Guessan had 10.

In their first meeting on Jan. 17, the Wildcats raced to a big early lead and controlled the game until late in the second half, when the Jayhawks forced overtime — only for Kansas State to win on Johnson’s alley-oop dunk.

It was the Jayhawks who controlled the rematch.

They used a 16-7 run in the first half that included a technical foul on Kansas State coach Jerome Tang to build a 32-19 lead. And when Johnson answered with eight straight points for the Wildcats, and the lead was eventually trimmed to four, the reigning national champs pulled away again down the stretch.

It was 37-32 when Wilson hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Zach Clemence added one of his own. And by the time Wilson made two foul shots with about 10 seconds left, Kansas had built a 49-37 lead that it took to the break.

The Wildcats briefly got within six in the second half before the Jayhawks stretched their lead to as many as 16.

OFFICIATING OOPS

Johnson had to sit with two fouls just 2 1/2 minutes into the game. Only problem? The crew of John Higgins, Kip Kissinger and Marques Pettigrew gave one to the wrong player. By the time they corrected their mistake, the Wildcats’ leading scorer had unnecessarily ridden the bench for several minutes.

SELLOUT … AND THEN SOME

For the first time in more than 15 years, more Kansas students redeemed tickets than there was space available inside Allen Fieldhouse. The overflow had to watch the game on screens in the adjacent Horejsi Family Athletics Center, where the Jayhawks play volleyball games. Those students also got refunds and concessions vouchers.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State’s three losses in league play have been to ranked teams on the road: TCU, Iowa State and Kansas. And with a more forgiving second half to the Big 12 schedule, the Wildcats remain firmly in the conference title hunt.

Kansas got its mojo back with its win over Kentucky last weekend. This victory over another bunch of Wildcats was crucial because the road doesn’t get any easier for the Jayhawks, who are in the midst of three straight games against teams ranked 13th or better.

UP NEXT

Kansas State returns home for another top-10 showdown Saturday against No. 10 Texas.

Kansas hits the road for the third time in four games against No. 13 Iowa State on Saturday.

BC beats No. 20 Clemson 62-54; Tigers fall into ACC tie

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — Makai Ashton-Langford had two key driving baskets in the closing two minutes and finished with 15 points to help Boston College beat No. 20 Clemson 62-54 on Tuesday night.

Jaeden Zackery added 13 points for the Eagles (11-12, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference). BC held Clemson to one field goal — and that came with 18 seconds left — in the final 13:16.

Hunter Tyson led Clemson (18-5, 10-2) with 22 points and Chase Hunter had 12. The Tigers fell into a first-place tie atop the ACC with No. 6 Virginia.

The Eagles used a 5-0 spurt — with T.J. Bickerstaff hitting a free throw and getting a driving layup — to pull ahead 50-45 with just over five minutes to play.

Clemson sliced it to 50-47 before Aston-Langford made his two big baskets. He followed that by making two free throws with 32 seconds left.

Trailing by 10 midway into the second half, the Tigers went on a 10-0 spree, tying it at 45 when RJ Godfrey hit both ends of a 1-and-1.

The Eagles had opened a double-digit lead twice in the opening six minutes of the second half, the later 45-35 on Prince Aligbe’s foul-line jumper with 14:12 to play.

BIG PICTURE

Clemson: Off to a solid start in conference play, the Tigers were tested on the road for the second straight game after edging Florida State by a point on Saturday. It hasn’t been easy for them away from home with a 4-3 record and with three away matchups against North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia to go, they’ll need to get it straightened out of they’re going to won the ACC regular-season title.

Boston College: The Eagles proved when they play defense that they’re a tough out in coach Earl Grant’s second season. A little more offense could make them very dangerous for top ACC teams to play.

ARRIVING LATE

In the first half, Clemson’s man-to-man defense smothered the Eagles’ offense for the opening 10 minutes, holding them in single digits in scoring until just about the same time the student section finished filling up late, bringing some energy to a very quiet building.

BC’s players then responded, closing the half with a 22-4 spree that turned an 11-point deficit to a 30-23 halftime edge.

SIDELINED

Both teams were missing key players. Guard Brevin Galloway, Clemson’s fourth leading scorer at 10.6 points per game, was sidelined with an abdominal injury. For BC, guard DeMarr Langford Jr., who logs big minutes at the point, was out with a knee injury.

UP NEXT

Clemson: Hosts No. 23 Miami on Saturday.

Boston College: Hosts Syracuse on Saturday.

South Carolina tops women’s AP Top 25; Ohio State tumbles

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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It was a rough week for Ohio State, which lost all three of its games and tumbled down the AP Top 25 as a result.

The previously unbeaten Buckeyes fell from second to 10th in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll released Monday after losing to Iowa and Indiana, two top 10 teams, as well as Purdue. Ohio State fell two games back in the Big Ten Conference standings.

South Carolina remained No. 1 for the 32nd consecutive week. The Gamecocks, who were again a unanimous choice from the 28-member national media panel, have the fourth-longest streak ever atop the poll. Only UConn (51 and 34 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer runs at No. 1.

Stanford moved back up to No. 2 in the poll and the Cardinal were followed by LSU, Indiana and UConn in the top five. LSU is the only other undefeated team in women’s basketball besides South Carolina, which visits UConn for a top-five showdown on Sunday.

Iowa jumped out four spots to sixth with Utah, Maryland and Notre Dame coming in ahead of Ohio State. The Hawkeyes started the season No. 4 in the poll.

The Fighting Irish split a pair of games last week against ranked opponents, routing Florida State before falling to N.C. State.

“There’s a lot of parity right now, which is great, great for the game,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said. “The game is growing, which is what you want. But yeah, I mean, every night, especially the ACC, the ACC is the strongest league and, you know, we have just a tough stretch every night.”

One week after falling out of the rankings, Texas re-entered the poll at No. 24. The Longhorns routed then-No. 14 Oklahoma and Oklahoma State last week. South Florida also came in at No. 25. Colorado and Illinois fell out of the poll.

RISING BULLS

No. 25 South Florida continued its streak of being ranked for at least one week every season since the Bulls entered the poll for the first time in 2015.

“For us not being in a so-called football five conference, that’s a huge accomplishment,” South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said. His team has won 10 consecutive games and has 20 victories this season. The team’s four losses have all come against ranked opponents (Michigan, Villanova, Ohio State and N.C. State).

“This group has been fun to coach. We always play a great non(equals)conference schedule,” Fernandez said. “We won on the road at Texas, beat Alabama, beat Arkansas. We challenged ourselves in November and December.”

RECORD PERFORMANCES

Cameron Brink carried Stanford to a win over Oregon with a triple-double that included 10 blocks. It was the first triple-double in NCAA Division I women’s basketball featuring double-digit blocks since Tamari Key did it for Tennessee in an overtime win against Texas on Nov. 21, 2021.

No. 20 Oklahoma’s Taylor Robertson set the all-time NCAA women’s career record for 3-pointers when she hit her 498th in a loss to Iowa State on Saturday. Robertson has 503 entering this week. The all-time NCAA record, men or women, is held by Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy, who has 534 and counting.