GAME OF THE NIGHT: North Dakota State 73, Denver 69
While this game didn’t go two overtimes like the Middle Tennessee/ Rice matchup, the end of regulation in Denver was wild. Lawrence Alexander hit a three to give the Bison a three-point lead with 2.7 seconds to go, only to have Denver’s Brett Olson to respond with a half-court shot that went down as time expired. NDSU pulled ahead for good 12 seconds into overtime, and Alexander led the way with 28 points and seven rebounds. Olson paced the Pioneers with 22 points. With the win NDSU remains alone in first place in the Summit League.
1. Ole Miss 62, Florida 61
Given Florida’s struggles this win may be overlooked by some, but it is an important one for Andy Kennedy’s Rebels. Stefan Moody’s three-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining was the difference, and as a result Ole Miss is now 8-3 in SEC play. Moody scored 18 points to lead the way, setting up Ole Miss for their game Saturday night against No. 23 Arkansas in Oxford with the teams tied for second in the SEC. Dwight Coleby added 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks off the bench for Ole Miss.
Video credit: ESPN
2. Minnesota 64, Iowa 59
After soundly defeating a ranked Maryland team on Sunday, the Hawkeyes failed to build on that momentum Thursday night. Austin Hollins scored 20 points to lead Minnesota to the five-point win in Iowa City, with the Hawkeyes committing 16 turnovers and shooting 4-for-14 from beyond the arc. While Iowa does have some solid wins on its resume, they can’t afford to drop home games they’re expected to win if they’re to comfortably slide into the NCAA tournament field.
3. Illinois 64, Michigan 52 (OT)
With 3:18 remaining the Wolverines led 50-43 and looked poised to pick up a good road win. However from that point forward John Beilein’s team managed to score just two points, as Illinois buckled down defensively and closed the game on a 21-2 run. Kendrick Nunn made some big shots late in regulation, and senior center Nnanna Egwu got the job done defensively for the Fighting Illini. Rayvonte Rice was rusty in his first game since January 3, scoring four points on 2-for-7 shooting, but he managed to contribute in other areas (five rebounds, three steals) while Nunn led all scorers with 21 points.
The Keydets put on a show from deep in their 93-59 win over Furman, shooting 24-for-45 from beyond the arc. Brian Brown (nine) and Tim Marshall (seven) were responsible for 16 of those makes.
2. Yonel Brown, Kennesaw State
Brown scored 29 points (9-for-15 FG) and grabbed seven rebounds in the Owls’ 78-65 win over Jacksonville.
3. Mike Rostampour, Omaha
Rostampour played very well in the Mavericks’ 74-73 loss to South Dakota, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.
1. James Woodard, Tulsa
Woodard found the going tough in a 70-45 loss at UConn, as he missed all seven of his field goal attempts and failed to score.
2. Chasson Randle, Stanford
Shot 2-for-11 from the field, scoring ten points in the Cardinal’s 75-59 loss at No. 11 Utah.
3. D.J. Brown, Texas State
Brown shot 1-for-10 from the field, scoring five points in the Bobcats’ 70-61 loss to UT-Arlington.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Gonzaga rolled to an 80-51 win over Loyola Marymount, with Kyle Wiltjer leading the way with 21 points and ten rebounds.
- No. 11 Utah kept Chasson Randle in check, limiting him to ten points on 2-for-11 shooting in their 75-59 win. Delon Wright led four Utes in double figures with 15 points, and he also accounted for five rebounds and four steals.
- No. 25 SMU is now tied for first in the American, as they held on to beat Houston 75-69. Markus Kennedy scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench.
- Murray State has now won 20 straight games, as they beat SIU-Edwardsville 78-46 Thursday night.
- Chattanooga moved back to within a game of first place in the SoCon, winning 56-46 at first-place Wofford. Wofford shot 4-for-20 from beyond the arc.
- Purdue took care of business in New Jersey, beating Rutgers 61-51 with A.J. Hammons finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
- FGCU is now in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun, as they won 65-59 at Northern Kentucky while North Florida lost 80-63 at USC Upstate.
- St. Francis-Brooklyn maintained its two-game edge in the NEC with an 83-66 win over Wagner. Glenn Braica’s team scored 50 points in the second half, and Jalen Cannon led all scorers with 26 points along with 12 rebounds.
- Georgia Southern kept pace with ULM atop the Sun Belt, beating Arkansas State 65-60. The Eagles (10-3) are tied with ULM in the loss column, with the Warhawks moving to 11-3 with their win over Louisiana.
- Eastern Washington took over sole possession of first place in the Big Sky with a 64-61 win over Sacramento State. Ognjen Miljkovic scored a team-high 16 points in the win.
- Once again playing without the injured Corey Hawkins, UC Davis moved to 9-1 in the Big West with 75-69 win over Cal-State Fullerton. Tyler Les and Josh Fox combined to score 32 points off the bench for the Aggies.
- If BYU is to get back into the NCAA tournament discussion they’re going to need to rack up wins down the stretch. Dave Rose’s team picked up a solid result Thursday, beating Saint Mary’s 82-60 in Provo.
- Marcus Jackson scored 24 points as Rice beat Middle Tennessee 71-68 in double overtime. After losing four straight, Mike Rhoades’ Owls have now beaten Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee in consecutive games.
- New Mexico State moved to 8-1 in the WAC with a comfortable win over Seattle, avenging their lone conference defeat.
- California has now won five straight games, as they beat Colorado 68-61 in Boulder. No. 11 Utah on Sunday will be tough, but Cuonzo Martin’s team is playing with a lot of confidence right now.