Late Night Snacks: Wisconsin takes Battle 4 Atlantis, Gonzaga wins NIT Tip-Off

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 Gonzaga 73, St. John’s 66

In the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game, Gonzaga held off St. John’s, which used a late-game comeback to narrowly pull off a massive win for the program on one of its home floors. Chris Obekpa’s foul trouble forced the Johnnies to play small ball giving the Zags a significant size advantage on the frontline. However, St. John’s combated its lack of size with quickness and some deep shooting from Phil Greene IV to put itself in a position to force overtime. Then this happened.

OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 2 Wisconsin 69, Oklahoma 56

The championship game of the best early-season featured an entertaining game between a Final Four favorite and a Final Four darkhorse. The Badgers turned a one-point halftime lead into a double-digit advantage to begin the second half after getting Frank Kaminsky, who picked up two early fouls, back on the floor. Wisconsin is playing extremely well heading into a ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup against No. 4 Duke. Oklahoma still has a talented starting five, but those pieces are still coming together.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Butler 64, Georgetown 58

The Bulldogs were picked to finish seventh in the Big East, but left the loaded Battle 4 Atlantis field with two victories. Two days after upsetting No. 5 North Carolina, the Bulldogs knocked off Georgetown in a November Big East battle (doesn’t count in conference standings). Kellen Dunham’s shooting improved for 17 points, as Butler got easy buckets against the Hoyas.

No. 5 North Carolina, No. 18 Florida

Who would have thought these two teams would be playing in the fifth-place game? North Carolina put forth some damage control after getting dominated on the glass by Butler on Wednesday to pick up back-to-back wins over UCLA and Florida before heading back stateside. As for Florida, this makes three losses in November. The Gators had three losses all of last season. Florida are still looking to get healthy and more from some of the underclassmen, but the schedule doesn’t get easier after the Bahamas, as No. 11 Kansas is waiting for them in Lawrence on Friday night.

UTEP 77, Xavier 73

Conference USA was a one-bid league a season ago, despite a four-way tie atop the league standings with Tulsa, Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech with 13-3 C-USA record. UTEP is projected to be Louisiana Tech’s chief competition for the top spot in the conference this season, and the Miners captured a huge win over Xavier, handing the Musketeers their first loss, to advance to the Wooden Legacy championship game.

STARRED

1) Wisconsin: The Badgers had five players score in double figures, assisted on 19 of 27 field goals and forced 21 Oklahoma turnovers. Another impressive performance by the nation’s No. 2 team.

2) Perry Ellis, Kansas: Went for 24 points and 13 rebounds in an Orlando Classic semifinal win over Tennessee. A much closer game than the final score indicates.

3) Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: The Spartans wing went for 25 points in a win over Marquette. During the Orlando Classic, he’s averaging 22.0 points, shooting 52 percent from the field and 61 percent from three.

STRUGGLED

1) Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: The native of Bahamas left Paradise Island with another tough shooting night, going 2-of-11 for only nine points in a loss to No. 2 Wisconsin in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game.

2) Florida: The Gators have lost three of five with a meeting at No. 11 Kansas coming up next Friday. Florida fell behind early to the Tar Heels and ended up shooting only Florida 33 percent from the field in a loss on Friday night.

3) Wake Forest: Danny Manning’s program suffered a loss to Delaware State, surrendering 32 points to Amere May. To make matters worse, the Hornets are coming off a 50-point loss to Iona, which also defeated the Demon Deacons.

TOP 25

  • No. 2 Wisconsin 69, Oklahoma 56
  • No. 5 North Carolina 75, No. 18 Florida 64
  • No. 8 Virginia 64, La Salle 56
  • No. 10 Gonzaga 73, St. John’s 66
  • No. 11 Kansas 82, Tennessee 67
  • No. 16 Ohio State 74, James Madison 56
  • No. 17 Miami 87, South Alabama 75
  • No. 20 Michigan State 79, Marquette 68
  • No. 22 UCLA 88, UAB 76
  • Ole Miss 75, No. 23 Creighton 68
  • No. 25 Arkansas 89, North Texas 73

NOTABLES

  • No. 8 Virginia jumped out to a big lead over La Salle in the Barclays Classic in Brooklyn. The Cavaliers play Rutgers on Saturday night. Game can be seen on NBC Sports Network
  • No Kris Dunn, no problem as Providence defeated Yale. The Friars will need their starting guard in their next game against Kentucky
  • Rakeem Christmas went for 25 points and eight boards in Syracuse’s win over Holy Cross
  • Ole Miss upset No. 23 Creighton in the Emerald Coast Classic
  • Minnesota held on to defeat Georgia, 66-62, in the NIT Season Tip-Off
  • After losing to two Big South opponents, Clemson picked up a victory against Big South favorite High Point
  • Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner each had 14 as N.C. State beat Boise State, 60-54
  • The winner of Long Beach State/Washington plays the UTEP in the Wooden Legacy final