Scoring options lacking in No. 21 Colorado’s loss to No. 25 UCLA

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When it was announced on Monday that point guard Spencer Dinwiddie would be lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, No. 21 Colorado had to figure out a way to account for the production lost as a result. The Buffaloes’ leader and most talented player, Dinwiddie was averaging 14.7 points and 3.8 assists per game before suffering the injury late in the first half of Colorado’s 71-54 loss at Washington.

In the immediate aftermath Colorado did not look good in Seattle, but the struggles were to be expected given the sudden nature of Dinwiddie’s injury. With three days of practice in preparation for a game at No. 25 UCLA, Colorado’s adjustment to the loss of Dinwiddie would be better judged following their game against the Bruins. And outside of Askia Booker and Josh Scott, the Buffaloes struggled mightily in their 69-56 defeat.

Booker was one of the players Colorado needed to step up with Dinwiddie no longer available, and that was in regards to his shot selection as much as it was his scoring, and against UCLA the junior took quality shots for much of the night. Booker scored 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, with Scott adding 19 on 7-for-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. However faced with a team that has as many offensive options as UCLA, Colorado needed a third scorer to step up and that didn’t happen.

Remove Booker and Scott’s numbers and the remaining Buffaloes shot 6-for-27 from the floor, with Xavier Johnson and Jaron Hopkins shooting 1-for-6 respectively. Some credit should be given to an improved UCLA defense, with the Bruins using both zone and man-to-man looks on Thursday night. But even with that being the case players have to step up and make plays, and that simply did not happen for Colorado.

Had it happened Colorado could have picked up its first win over UCLA as a member of the Pac-12, especially when taking into account Kyle Anderson’s struggles. One of the midseason favorites to win Pac-12 Player of the Year, Anderson dealt with first half foul trouble and finished the game with six points, five rebounds and five assists. Not the best night for the 6-foot-9 sophomore, but the good news for head coach Steve Alford is that other players stepped up.

Norman Powell, coming off of an 11-point night in UCLA’s win over Arizona State, scored 19 points against Colorado and accounted for four of the Bruins’ 12 steals. Joining him in double figures were Jordan Adams, who accounted for 14 points and 13 rebounds despite shooting 4-for-15 from the field, and David Wear (11 points, seven rebounds). With their most important player not at his best UCLA found production in other areas, and that would prove to be the difference on Thursday.

That’s what Colorado will need to do if they’re to remain on track for another NCAA tournament bid sans Dinwiddie. Prior to his injury Colorado could afford off nights from a Xavier Johnson of Jaron Hopkins; that isn’t the case now.

JJ Culver scores 100 points in Wayland Baptist NAIA win

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JJ Culver made national headlines on Tuesday night by scoring 100 points during an NAIA game in Texas.

The brother of former Texas Tech star Jarrett Culver, JJ dropped 100 in nationally-ranked Wayland Baptist’s 124-60 win over Southwest Adventist.

Going 34-for-62 from the field, 12-for-33 from three-point range and 20-for-27 from the free-throw line, Culver reached the Wilt Chamberlain mark with an incredible 83 percent usage rate.

Culver even got the Wilt photo taken after the memorable win.

Jarrett might be the famous NBA player who helped Texas Tech to the national title game last season. JJ has the better individual story to tell during the holidays when the Culver family gets together. Scoring 100 in a game, at any level, is completely ridiculous.

Putting up 36 points per game on the season, Culver is a monster scoring threat every time he takes the floor. I’m sure he never envisioned getting the Holy Grail scoring number of basketball in a single game though.

No. 2 Kansas rides hot start to 95-68 win over UW-Milwaukee

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Devon Dotson had 22 points and nine assists, Udoka Azubuike added 15 points and 17 rebounds, and second-ranked Kansas rolled to a 95-68 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

Ochai Agbaji also had 22 points for the Jayhawks (8-1), who built a 40-12 lead in the first half and cruised the rest of the way to their 26th consecutive home win. It also gave them 300 for the decade, joining Gonzaga (304) as the only Division I schools to have reached the milestone before the calendar flips to January.

Darius Roy had 25 points to lead the Panthers (5-5), who actually outscored the Jayhawks most of the second half. Leading scorer Te’Jon Lucas was held to 11 points on 1-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

Kansas basically put the game away with a faultless first 12 minutes.

Agbaji, who went for 20 points and 12 boards against Colorado over the weekend, continued his torrid pace by knocking down three 3-pointers in the first three minutes. McCormack and Azubuike got into the act down low, using their massive bulk against the smaller Panthers. And then Dotson went on a scoring binge, using cat-quick penetration to get into the lane and knocking down a series of 3s when Milwaukee began to collapse on the paint.

The result was a 17-1 run to start the game, a 23-4 advantage by the 14-minute mark, and a 40-12 lead — and a whole bunch of used timeouts by Milwaukee coach Pat Baldwin — by the time the buzzer sounded on the under-8 media timeout.

Just how efficient was Kansas by that point? Try a 19-3 rebounding advantage, an 8-of-13 mark from the 3-point line, and 11 assists on the Jayhawks’ first 15 made field goals. Oh, and they had just three turnovers.

The crisp passing and utter selflessness was on display during one fast-break opportunity, when Dotson curled a bounce pass around a defender to Agbaji, who passed up his own look to dump the ball to Tristan Enaruna for a layup.

Milwaukee finally had a stretch of success late in the first half, but the Jayhawks still cruised into the locker room with a 52-27 lead. The second half was mostly academic, punctuated by a few big highlights — like the alley-oop pass from Dotson that Agbaji threw down with a rim-rattling reverse dunk with about 12 minutes to go.

That was enough to start the victory party nice and early.

BIG PICTURE

Milwaukee never gave itself a chance by spotting Kansas a big lead on the road, but it also never gave up. The Panthers scored seven of the first eight points to start the second half and stood toe-to-toe with the Jayhawks the rest of the way.

Kansas is poised to move to No. 1 next week after top-ranked Louisville lost to Big 12 rival Texas Tech at the Jimmy V Classic in New York. The result was shown on the video boards in Allen Fieldhouse and elicited a big roar.

UP NEXT

Milwaukee plays its lone home game in December against Eastern Illinois on Saturday night.

Kansas plays Kansas City on Saturday night at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

VIDEO: Texas Tech celebrates win over No. 1 Louisville

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Texas Tech pulled off another upset of a No. 1 team on Tuesday night when the Red Raiders took down Louisville in Madison Square Garden.

Playing without freshman guard and leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey, Texas Tech earned its biggest win over the season in the Jimmy V Classic.

It led to a wild postgame celebration for Texas Tech, one week after dropping a tough overtime game on the road at DePaul.

The win could lead to the Red Raiders getting back in the top 25 this week.

No. 1 goes down … again; Texas Tech upsets No. 1 Louisville

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NEW YORK — It was the fourth time it’s happened in the first five weeks of the season, the third time it’s happened against an unranked team and the second time that Madison Square Garden played host to the carnage.

The No. 1 team in the country lost.

On Tuesday night, in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic, No. 1 Louisville lost to the unranked Texas Tech, 70-57. That’s the same Texas Tech that arrived in New York City on a three-game losing streak — against Iowa, Creighton and DePaul — and who was forced to play with leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey, who missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury.

Davide Moretti led the way for the reigning national runners-up, finishing with 18 points, while freshman Terrence Shannon chipped in with 13 of his own and Chris Clarke added seven points, 12 boards and six assists.

On Monday morning, we will officially have the fifth No. 1 team in college basketball this season.

Here are three things we learned from Texas Tech’s win over Louisville:

1. BREAKING NEWS: CHRIS BEARD IS A GOOD COACH

We knew this already, and you didn’t need a win in December to tell you this, but it’s worth reiterating a few things about this game before we move on.

Texas Tech have five freshmen on their roster. They have just three eligible players in their program that are not freshmen or sophomores, and two of those three are grad transfers. Only three guys returned from last year’s team, and one of those three is a walk-on. They had just lost three games in a row to unranked teams, and their best player and leading scorer was not healthy enough to play.

Should I mention they were facing off with the No. 1 team in the country, a team that has one of the five best players in the sport and a coach that is as good as anyone?

And if you didn’t know anything about either team entering this game, you would have thought that the 5-3 Red Raiders were actually the nation’s best team while the top-ranked Cardinals were the program in the midst of a rebuild.

As we have become accustomed to under head coach Chris Beard, Texas Tech won this game with their defense. They held Louisville to 34 percent shooting for the game. The Cardinals were 3-for-17 from three. They turned the ball over 19 times and made 18 field goals. Nwora shot 4-for-16 from the floor. It was, to be frank, just as bad as it sounds.

Texas Tech does this to teams. They take you out of what you want to do offensively. If a guy wants to drive right, they make him drive left. If a team wants to run ball-screens, they ice the hell out of it. If a team wants to reverse the ball, the force you to keep it on one side of the floor. The Red Raider coaching staff scouts as well as any staff in the country — in the first half, with their defense right in front of their bench, they were calling out Louisville’s sets as Louisville was calling their plays — and this put Louisville in an impossible spot, because …

2. … LOUISVILLE’S GUARDS WERE NOT (ARE NOT?) GOOD ENOUGH

Like I mentioned before, Texas Tech’s game-plans make it really difficult for their opponents to be able to score out of the offense they run. Louisville couldn’t get good shots out of their sets because Texas Tech wouldn’t let them run what they wanted to run. Part of the reason the Cardinals looked like they were standing around so much offensively is because Texas Tech wouldn’t let them make the first pass to initiate the offense.

Simply put, Texas Tech forces players to make plays.

And Louisville doesn’t have anyone that can do that.

It showed.

Louisville’s current point guard situation can, at best, be described as “a work in progress,” and that’s probably a bit too flattering. Darius Perry is not good enough. Fresh Kimble is not the answer. The Louisville staff thinks that freshman David Johnson has the potential to solve their issue of playmaking at the point, but he’s coming off of shoulder surgery and has looked – understandably –slow, out of shape and rusty since returning. Adjusting to the college game is tough as a freshmen.

Doing it after invasive surgery?

It’ll take some time.

But facts are facts, and these are facts: The three players I just listed combined to go 3-for-11 from the floor with 10 points, two assists and seven turnovers; Perry had six of those seven turnovers.

That is not good enough, and it will continue to be a problem against teams that pressure the Cardinals.

3. WE WROTE TEXAS TECH OFF TOO SOON

Beard was not thrilled with the way that his team had played in the two weeks before their trip to the Garden.

But he also didn’t think that they were as bad as people like me thought.

“If we get a rebound here, a basket here, it’s a different tone,” Beard said of his slow start. “I never like to overreact. I try to stay steady. We were playing some good basketball, but we were losing to three BCS teams in one possession games, one of them on the road.

“We’re playing five freshmen. One of our best players is out with injury right now. But you know how it is, Prince today, frog tomorrow. If we got a basket here and a rebound there, this is No. 9 Texas Tech against No. 1 Louisville. It doesn’t quite work that way when you lose some close games. I told them, ‘Guys, we’re still the same team, we could be in this locker room right now and we won the game. But we’re really the same team.'”

He wasn’t wrong.

Penn State upsets No. 4 Maryland

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Penn State used five double-figure scorers and played consistently hard on both ends of the floor as the Nittany Lions stunned previously-unbeaten No. 4 Maryland with a 76-69 Big Ten win on Tuesday night.

Losing by 30 on the road to Ohio State in their last conference game, Penn State displayed impressive intensity on the defensive end, limited turnovers on the offensive end and received plenty of help for star senior Lamar Stevens when he wasn’t having his best game. For the second straight season, Penn State upset a ranked Maryland team on its home floor as the Nittany Lions proved they’ll be a tough out at home all season.

Penn State (8-2, 1-1) received double-doubles from both Stevens (15 points, 10 rebounds) and big man Mike Watkins (15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) as the duo did a ton of damage on the interior. The Nittany Lions also had double-digit scoring efforts from Myreon Jones (14 points), Izaiah Brockington (14 points) and Myles Dread (10 points). With 19 assists and only eight turnovers, Penn State’s offense did an outstanding job of running clean sets and getting good looks from multiple players.

This is a quality win for the Nittany Lions early in the Big Ten portion of the schedule. It gives an unproven team a major boost of confidence — particularly beating a top-five team on a night where Stevens was only 5-for-13 from the floor. The Ohio State road loss shows Penn State still has a long way to go to be considered any kind of major threat. But Pat Chambers’ team is at least balanced and feisty enough to be a really tough out at home this season. A few more wins like this could put Penn State in the NCAA tournament picture with the kind of schedule they’ll play in the Big Ten this season.

But the major story here is the loss for Maryland. Because the Terps have some concerning trends they need to address.

Early in the season, Maryland (10-1, 1-1) has made a habit of falling behind early. It happened multiple times in an early-season tournament. And it’s now happened in back-to-back Big Ten games against Illinois and Penn State. While Maryland has been able to overcome slow starts all season with talent and comeback wins, a bad start came back to really bite them on Tuesday.

Trailing by 10 at halftime, Maryland tried to make second-half runs to stay with Penn State. Ultimately, the Terps were derailed by inconsistent offense, sloppy and careless turnovers (Penn State had 17 points off turnovers in the first half) and an inconsistent effort on the inside.

Maryland’s offense had 20 turnovers to only nine assists for the game as the Terps never seemed to figure out the proper way to run its offense. Alternating between senior Anthony Cowan Jr. (16 points) and sophomore Eric Ayala (15 points) initiating offense, both guards had too many bad passes and unforced errors for a team with Big Ten title aspirations.

It’s very clear that Maryland has the talent to compete with nearly any team in the country. Even on an off night, the Terps made this a one-possession game against a balanced Big Ten team with some veteran players. But Maryland can’t have these kinds of unforced errors if they see themselves making a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

That mainly falls on Cowan. A few of his turnovers were stunningly bad for a senior floor leader. Getting stripped 35 feet from the hoop and throwing lazy passes for interceptions and easy layups can’t happen for Cowan. There’s just too much talent on offense for Maryland to be giving away points in close games.

The good news for Maryland is that there is plenty of time to correct some of these mistakes. Cowan can limit the mistakes. The offense will likely play better and more together. But Maryland’s slow starts are a trend to keep an eye on as it has been a factor for them in multiple games this season.