Saturday’s Snacks: Louisville, Iowa State both earn important wins; Arizona, Gonzaga earn tough victories

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GAME OF THE DAY: VMI 113, Western Carolina 111 (2OT)

This was a wild one, with the two teams combining to score 224 points on the day. Duggar Baucom’s Keydets attempted 46 three-pointers, making 20, and guard Julian Eleby scored 43 points to lead five players in double figures. As for WCU, James Sinclair countered with 40 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in a losing effort. Eleby scored 17 of his 43 points in the two overtime periods for VMI, which moved to within a game of Western (and East Tennessee State) in the SoCon standings.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. Xavier 73, No. 19 Butler

Important Big East win for Xavier as they continue to be tough at home while also staying above .500 with the win. Myles Davis had 18 points, 4 steals and 3 rebounds. Butler still hasn’t found its way yet since the loss of Andrew Chrabascz as they shot 36 percent from the field and only Roosevelt Jones (14 points) finished above 10 points.

2. No. 12 Louisville 55, Miami 53

It wasn’t pretty — and both teams shot poorly — but Louisville gained control late in the second half to earn an ACC win. The Cardinals trailed much of the game at home and snapped a two-game losing streak by holding Miami point guard Angel Rodriguez to a 1-for-12 outing. Despite only shooting 33 percent from the field, Montrezl Harrell had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

3. No. 14 Iowa State 85, Texas 77

Nice road Big 12 win for the Cyclones, who have won two consecutive road wins in the conference for the first time since 2006. Georges Niang and Matt Thomas each had 17 points to lead Iowa State, who did a great job of containing the Texas interior attack. The Cyclones shot 46 percent (26-for-56) from the field and 57 percent (12-for-21) from 3-point range.

STARRED

1. LSU’s Jarrell Martin

Besides pulling off one of the best in-game dunks of the year — no defender category — Martin had 28 points and 13 rebounds in an important win for the Tigers against Florida.

2. Niagara’s Emile Blackmon

Minor upset in the MAAC as the Purple Eagles ousted heavily-favored Rider on the road. Blackmon had 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting and 6-for-9 3-point shooting.

3. VMI’s Julian Eleby and Western Carolina’s James Sinclair

Both players managed to score at least 40 points, with Eleby going for 43 and Sinclair 40 in VMI’s 113-111 double overtime win over the Catamounts.

STRUGGLED

1. Miami’s Angel Rodriguez

The point guard had a solid floor game, but couldn’t hit a shot of any kind as he went 1-for-12 from the field in a loss to Louisville.

2. Texas’ Javan Felix

A 1-for-9 shooting performance is not what Felix had in mind as the Longhorns fell to Iowa State at home. Felix not being able to hit from distance (0-for-5) also hurt the Texas spacing quite a bit.

3. UCLA’s Tony Parker

While Arizona had some key players struggle in their 57-47 win over the Bruins, UCLA needed from from Parker than the two points and one rebound he provided before fouling out. Combine this effort with the two points he scored in a loss at Arizona State, and this was a rough road trip for the junior big man.

OTHER TOP 25 RESULTS

  • Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky had 21 points, five rebounds and three assists in a win for No. 5 Wisconsin over Minnesota.
  • North Carolina had six players in double figures, led by Kennedy Meeks’ 18 points, in a win over Georgia Tech. The No. 15 Tar Heels scored on its first offensive possession by using the Four Corners offense.
  • Oklahoma was able to outlast Texas Tech on the road as Isaiah Cousins had 22 points in the overtime win. The No. 17 Sooners also had 17 points from Frank Booker.
  • In the Atlantic 10, Treveon Graham had 24 points and 10 rebounds to help lead No. 25 VCU past UMass.
  • No. 23 West Virginia followed up its win over Kansas with a good performance on the road, beating No. 22 Oklahoma State 73-63 in Stillwater.
  • No. 6 Villanova maintained its grip on first place in the Big East, winning 87-76 at Marquette.
  • No. 11 Northern Iowa once again showed off its stifling defense, limiting Bradley to 39 points in a 56-39 home victory.
  • No. 10 Notre Dame pulled away from Boston College in the second half in Chestnut Hill, winning 87-70 with New Bedford, Massachusetts native Bonzie Colson scoring 16 points to lead the way. Six players scored in double figures for Notre Dame, and Jerian Grant dished out 12 assists.
  • No. 4 Duke did not miss a beat despite the fact that Jahlil Okafor sat out with a sprained ankle, beating Clemson 78-56 in Durham. Quinn Cook scored 27 points and Justise Winslow added 20 and 13 rebounds.
  • No. 1 Kentucky, as expected, steamrolled Auburn 110-75 in Lexington. Karl-Anthony Towns led six Wildcats in double figures with 19 points, and he also tallied 11 rebounds and four blocks.
  • No. 8 Kansas beat TCU 81-72, with Perry Ellis posting 23 points and seven rebounds and freshman guard Devonte’ Graham adding 20 points and three assists.
  • No. 18 Arkansas picked up an SEC road win at Mississippi State as Rashad Madden led four double-figure scorers with 16 points.
  • It wasn’t pretty offensively, and they played sluggish basketball at the start of both halves, but No. 7 Arizona managed to take care of UCLA 57-47. The Wildcats dominated the glass and held the Bruins 27 points below their season average.
  • No. 3 Gonzaga struggled early, trailing by as much as 16, but they turned things around in the second half to win 70-60 at Saint Mary’s. The game was closer than the final margin would indicate, and the Bulldogs scored the game’s final 12 points as they won the outright WCC title.

NOTABLES

  • Pitt had a close effort against Syracuse and game up with a huge ACC road win. The Panthers had 19 from Chris Jones.
  • St. John’s pushed past Seton Hall in a fun Big East contest as Sir’Dominic Pointer had 22 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Red Storm.
  • Texas A&M got past South Carolina as Danuel House had 25 points and six rebounds.
  • Baylor cruised past a free-falling Kansas State as Taurean Prince had 14 points, 5 steals and 5 assists.
  • Caleb White and B.J. Tyson both had 19 points to lead East Carolina past South Florida.
  • Murray State remained unbeaten in the Ohio Valley Conference with a win over Austin Peay. Cameron Payne had 22 points and 8 assists in the win.
  • The MAC remains as wild as ever as Buffalo earned a road win at Bowling Green. Shannon Evans had 19 points while Jarryn Skeete and Justin Moss each had 15 points.
  • In an Atlantic 10 upset, Duquesne held off Dayton as Derrick Colter had 25 points and Micah Mason had 19 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals to lead the Dukes.
  • The Big Sky race got even more interesting Saturday afternoon, as Northern Arizona beat Eastern Washington 73-69 in Flagstaff. The Eagles now have three conference losses, as do Sacramento State and Montana.
  • Two more teams have clinched an automatic Postseason NIT berth should they need it: St. Francis-Brooklyn (NEC) and North Carolina Central (MEAC). Both clinched their respective conference regular season titles Saturday, joining Murray State (OVC). Of course, all three prefer to play in the NCAA tournament.
  • In a matchup of rivals hoping to play their way into the NCAA tournament, Stanford beat California 72-61 in Palo Alto.
  • Harvard took over sole possession of first place in the Ivy League, erasing a 14-point first half deficit to beat Princeton 63-55. While that was happening, Yale lost at home to Columbia. The Crimson and Bulldogs meet March 6 in Cambridge.
  • New Mexico State managed to lock up a postseason berth, as their 72-55 win at Grand Canyon gives them the outright WAC regular season title.