Thursday’s Snacks: Purdue adds another quality win to its resume, and No. 21 SMU comes back to beat Temple

0 Comments

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Louisiana Tech 83, Charlotte 82 (OT)

Michael White’s Bulldogs moved to 12-2 in Conference USA with a one-point win at Halton Arena, and Alex Hamilton was the star. Hamilton scored 29 points, making 11 of his 22 field goal attempts, to lead the way offensively for Louisiana Tech. Also scoring in double figures were guard Raheem Appleby (seven rebounds, four assists) and forward Michale Kyser (12 rebounds, three steals), who scored 12 points apiece. Braxton Ogbueze led five 49ers in double figures with 16 points. With the win, Louisiana Tech retains sole possession of first place in Conference USA.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. Purdue 67, Indiana 63

Matt Painter’s Boilermakers entered Thursday’s game in Bloomington having already beaten the Hoosiers once this season, and they were able to complete the season sweep thanks in large part to their big men. A.J. Hammons scored 20 points and blocked four shots, and fellow 7-footer Isaac Haas added 12 points and nine rebounds to lead Purdue to a road win that will enhance its NCAA tournament resume. Jon Octeus added 12 points and Rapheal Davis 11 for Purdue, which is now 10-4 in Big Ten Play. Yogi Ferrell, who missed a three-pointer that would have given Indiana the lead with five seconds remaining, led the Hoosiers with 21 points.

2. No. 21 SMU 67, Temple 58

Fran Dunphy’s Owls led by as many as ten points in the second half, but Nic Moore and company went on a 17-4 run to erase that deficit and eventually pull away for the win. Moore scored 18 points and dished out four assists for the Mustangs, who are now 13-2 in conference play, and Cannen Cunningham added ten points off the bench. Will Cummings finished with 14 points, seven assists and seven steals for the Owls, who shot 6-for-21 from beyond the arc and were outscored 20-8 from the foul line.

3. Ole Miss 71, Mississippi State 65

Rivalry games can be tough, even if one of the teams involved isn’t a threat to go to the NCAA tournament. Mississippi State gave Ole Miss everything they wanted in Starkville, but thanks to Stefan Moody the Rebels were able to pick up the road victory. Moody scored 29 points and grabbed six rebounds for Ole Miss, making eight three-pointers, and during the second half he put together a stretch of three consecutive threes that gave the Rebels a much-needed boost. Now 18-8 overall and 9-4 in SEC play, Ole Miss avoided a loss that would not have helped their resume as they look to earn an NCAA tournament bid.

STARRED

1. Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer

Wiltjer scored a career-high 45 points, shooting 15-for-22 from the field (7-for-10 3PT), while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out for assists in an 86-74 win at Pacific.

2. Jacksonville’s Kori Babineaux

Babineaux led the Dolphins to an 83-75 overtime win over Northern Kentucky, tallying 27 points, ten assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Northern Kentucky’s Tayler Persons accounted for 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

3. Maryland’s Melo Trimble

Trimble tallied 26 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Terps’ win over Nebraska.

4. Ole Miss’ Stefan Moody

Moody scored 29 points, shooting 8-for-12 from three, while also tallying six rebounds and four steals in a 71-65 win at Mississippi State.

STRUGGLED

1. Tulane’s Louis Dabney

Shot 1-for-12 from the field, scoring three points, in the Green Wave’s 69-55 home loss to UCF.

2. Oregon State’s Olaf Schaftenaar

To be fair no one shot particularly well in this game, a 47-37 Utah win. Schaftenaar scored three points on 1-for-9 shooting from the field.

3. USC’s Katin Reinhardt

With Jordan McLaughlin sidelined Reinhardt struggled in the Trojans’ loss at No. 7 Arizona, scoring two points on 1-for-7 shooting.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Melo Trimble accounted for 26 points, six rebounds and five assists as No. 16 Maryland held off Nebraska 69-65 in College Park. The Terrapins are in a tie for second place in the Big Ten with Purdue.
  • No. 7 Arizona rolled to an 87-57 win over USC, and the Wildcats finished the game with six players scoring in double figures. Among those six was backup point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who scored 11 in his first game since suffering a concussion in a home win over Oregon January 30.
  • No. 3 Gonzaga wrapped up at least a share of the WCC regular season title with an 86-74 win at Pacific. Kyle Wiltjer scored 45 points for the Bulldogs, who shot 60 percent from the field.
  • There were no such offensive fireworks in Corvallis, as No. 9 Utah beat Oregon State 47-37. Dakarai Tucker led the Utes, who handed the Beavers their first home loss of the season, with 11 points.

NOTABLES

  • Dayton moved into a first-place tie with VCU and Rhode Island atop the Atlantic 10 standings with a 68-64 win over Saint Joseph’s. Kendall Pollard finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, and Dyshawn Pierre posted another double-double (15 points, ten rebounds and six assists).
  • A Jamail Jones layup with 29.8 seconds remaining proved to the be the difference as FGCU moved to 10-1 in the Atlantic Sun with a 54-53 win over Kennesaw State. The Eagles maintained their one-game lead on North Florida.
  • Wofford erased a ten-point halftime deficit, scoring 52 points in the second half of their 77-62 win over UNCG. Mike Young’s Terriers remain a game ahead of Chattanooga, which beat Mercer Thursday night, atop the SoCon standings.
  • Coastal Carolina won for the fifth time in its last six games, beating Campbell 81-57. The Chanticleers (11-5) are a game behind High Point and Charleston Southern (both 11-4) in the loss column in the Big South.
  • St. Francis-Brooklyn moved to 13-2 in NEC play with a 70-54 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. As a result of the win, Glenn Braica’s Terriers have clinched at least a share of the the regular season title.
  • Delaware, which began the season on a 12-game losing streak, has won three of its last four games with all three wins coming against teams at the top of the CAA standings. Monte Ross’ Fightin’ Blue Hens knocked off UNCW Thursday night.
  • Georgia State won for the seventh time in its last eight games, beating South Alabama 79-51 in Atlanta. Tied with Georgia Southern for second place in the Sun Belt, Ron Hunter’s Panthers (11-4) remain a game behind ULM (12-3).
  • Rider moved to 13-4 in the MAAC with a 94-83 win over Quinnipiac, wrapping up a first round bye in next month’s conference tournament. Monmouth also secured a bye, as they beat Saint Peter’s 63-58 in Jersey City.
  • New Mexico State moved to 10-1 in WAC play with a 51-38 win at Utah Valley, limiting the Wolverines to 28.6% shooting from the field and 1-for-16 from three.
  • Both Saint Mary’s and BYU picked up home wins, with the Gaels beating Portland and BYU taking care of San Diego. With both looking to get into the NCAA tournament, they need every win they can pick up.
  • Alan Williams returned to the lineup for UCSB, but it wasn’t enough to help the Gauchos avoid a two-point loss at UC Riverside. That may not impact the regular season title race, but the return of Williams is a big deal when it comes to the Big West tournament.
  • UC Davis is now 10-1 in Big West play after winning 65-58 at Long Beach State. Jim Les’ Aggies have now won six straight games.
  • Venky Jois scored 22 points to lead Eastern Washington to a win at Southern Utah despite Tyler Harvey shooting 3-for-16 from the field. The Eagles have now won 20 games for the second time in school history.

Duke women’s coach Kara Lawson says men’s ball used vs. FSU

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Duke coach Kara Lawson said her team played with a men’s basketball for the first half of a loss to Florida Stated.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils lost to the Seminoles 70-57 in Tallahassee, Florida – the team’s second Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

After her team beat Pittsburgh 53-44 , Lawson ended her news conference by speaking animatedly.

“This would never happen in a men’s game. This would never happen. It’s embarrassing for our sport,” she said.

The circumference of a women’s ball is about an inch smaller than a men’s ball and it is typically 2 ounces lighter. While it may not seem like a lot, that’s a big difference.

Lawson said throughout the first half, Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” The Blue Devils were 7 for 34 from the field in the opening 20 minutes of that game. They were 12 for 38 in the second half. Florida State made 10 of its 30 shots in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.

“To have a game that, at the end of the season, could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can figure out who the people I’m talking about that failed the sport and our players and both teams.”

Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy went to the scorer’s table at the half to check on the ball when he realized what the problem was. She said the game officials changed the ball to start the second half.

“We have concluded through our investigation that it was a men’s ball,” Lawson said. “The conference and Florida State is saying that it wasn’t.”

The ACC said it did a comprehensive review talking with game officials, administrators, the table crew and both schools.

“Following the thorough and objective review process, there was no evidence found to support the claim,” the conference said in a statement. “Per NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process.”

The ACC has instituted a procedural change that the game ball will be brought to the pregame meeting with the captains for approval.

“It’s very frustrating that (the game) … was not treated with the utmost respect that players on both teams deserve,” she said.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened in women’s basketball. In 2017, the College of Charleston played home games and practiced with men’s balls for most of its season until the error was was discovered.

“Let me be clear: Florida State beat us. They beat us playing with a men’s ball in the first half and a women’s ball in the second half. But I can’t say if we’d have played with a women’s ball in the first half and the second half that we would have won. But they can’t say that either,” Lawson said.

No. 1 South Carolina wins 28th straight 87-69 over ‘Cats

south carolina basketball
Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dawn Staley’s pleased South Carolina had made its once-lopsided series with UConn more competitive the past few years.

She hopes her top-ranked team can accomplish another milestone when the teams meet for a top-five showdown on Sunday.

“It still stands true that we haven’t won up there,” Staley said.

Aliyah Boston had 14 points and 14 rebounds as South Carolina prepared for the top-five showdown with an 87-69 victory over Kentucky on Thursday night.

The Gamecocks (10-0 Southeastern Conference) improved to 22-0 and won their 28th straight, a run that included a 64-49 victory over the Huskies in Minneapolis last April to win the national championship.

Staley had lost her first seven games as South Carolina coach against UConn. The Gamecocks have won three of the past four matchups since.

“This particular class committed to each other,” Staley said. “When you have that type of commitment and you just want to win, you find yourself winning some games that you haven’t won before.”

Against Kentucky, reigning AP player of the year Boston extended her school mark with her 75th career double-double and moved within 11 of the SEC record of 86 games with a double-double held by LSU great Sylvia Fowles.

Things weren’t perfect for South Carolina, which fell behind early, then had its 15-point halftime lead cut to 54-48 midway through the third quarter.

Still, its dominant inside game – South Carolina outscored the Wildcats 62-14 in the paint – was more than enough to shut down Kentucky (10-12, 2-8), the last team to defeat the defending national champions at the SEC Tournament last March.

The Wildcats went on top 16-15 after a pair of baskets by Adebola Adeyeye.

That’s when South Carolina, fueled by its bench, took control with a 17-2 run. Ashlyn Watkins had three inside shots and Kamilla Cardoso scored four points during the surge.

The Wildcats used a 13-4 burst to start the third quarter to give South Carolina a few uncomfortable moments. But the Gamecocks got going once more with an 11-0 run to extend their margin.

Cardoso, the 6-foot-7 reserve, had 14 points and five of South Carolina’s 14 blocks. Defensive ace Brea Beal had 10 including both of the Gamecocks’ 3-pointers.

Beal thought the team held together well to blunt Kentucky’s runs and regain control. “I think it’s our mental aspect of the game and us believing in each other,” she said.

Robyn Benton had 24 points to lead Kentucky, which has lost three of its past four games.

Wildcats coach Kyra Elzy said South Carolina is difficult to match up with because of its deep bench. “They have depth after depth after depth,” she said. “They keep coming.”

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats are the not the same team that featured two-time SEC player of the year Rhyne Howard the past few seasons. They have 10 newcomers – and six freshmen – who are still learning how to play against the SEC’s top teams like South Carolina.

South Carolina: Forgive the Gamecocks if their focus wasn’t fully on this one at first with a big week ahead. In an eight-game span, South Carolina will face No. 5 UConn and No. 3 LSU, a pair of high-profile games could expose any flaw – or show how powerful the Gamecocks are in chasing a second straight NCAA crown.

UCONN KARMA

South Carolina has opened 22-0 twice under coach Dawn Staley, in 2014-15 and the following year. Both runs ended against UConn. Next up for Gamecocks are the Huskies, although South Carolina has won three of the past four games over UConn including last April’s 64-49 victory to win the NCAA Tournament title.

UP NEXT

Kentucky returns home to face Alabama on Feb. 9.

South Carolina heads to No. 5 UConn on Sunday.

Miles, Citron lead No. 9 Irish past Boston College 72-59

notre dame basketball
Erica Denhoff/Getty Images
0 Comments

BOSTON — Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron had already scored 10 straight points to put away Boston College when they turned their attention to other things.

“I told Sonia I needed two more assists for the double-double. And she was like, `All right, I’ve got you,”‘ Miles said after helping No. 9 Notre Dame beat BC 72-59 on Thursday night.

“That’s just kind of our communication on the court,” said Miles, who found Citron for baskets on the next two Irish possessions to complete a 14-0 run – with all 14 points from Miles and Citron. “We just really play off each other really well.

Miles scored 22 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Citron scored 23 for the Irish (18-2, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Maria Gakdeng scored 16 points, T’Yana Todd had 13 and Andrea Daly scored 10 with eight rebounds for BC (14-11, 4-8). The Irish beat BC at home 85-48 on New Year’s Day but hadn’t won in Chestnut Hill since 2019.

“This is such a tough place to play,” said Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey, whose team faces No. 16 Duke next. “We’ll celebrate it until about 12:30, and then we’ve got film. Tomorrow we start focusing on Duke.”

BC came within five points, 55-50, before the Irish ran off 14 points in a row – nine by Citron, and five by Miles. That put an end to what had been a back-and-forth game in which the Irish opened big leads and then frittered them away.

“I always feel like we’re close,” BC coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “They’re young; I think consistency comes with experience.

“I think it’s a big improvement from the first time we played Notre Dame,” she said. “I still want to see more, and I want to see us grow up as fast as humanly possible because I think we do have a dangerous team when we going well.”

Notre Dame led by 11 in the first quarter and held a 38-30 lead with two minutes gone in the third. BC scored 13 of the next 18 points, capitalizing on back-to-back Irish turnovers to tie it 43-all with three minutes left in the quarter.

But Natalija Marshall put back the rebound of her own miss, Miles drove to the basket, Maddy Westbeld added a pair of baskets and then Miles stole the ball and found Citron on the fast break to make it 53-43.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame bounced back from their first league loss of the season, a 69-65 defeat at North Carolina State on Sunday. Now they face No. 16 Duke.

The Eagles, who beat Pittsburgh on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak, were looking for their second victory over a Top 25 team this season, having also beaten then-No. 10 N.C. State on Jan. 5.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Hosts No. 16 Duke on Sunday.

Boston College: Visits Syracuse on Sunday.

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

xavier basketball
Kareem Elgazzar/USA TODAY NETWORK
1 Comment

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

florida basketball
Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

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.