Late Night Snacks: Recapping college hoops’ opening night

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Belmont 83, Marquette 80

The Bruins picked up a huge win to kick off their 2015-16 as they went into Milwaukee and knocked off Marquette. Evan Gadds led the way with 24 points and nine boards for the Bruins, while Craig Bradshaw chipped in with 18 points. Marquette was led by 21 points, 16 boards and three assists from freshman Henry Ellenson, but the Golden Eagles struggled defensively and made too many silly mistakes down the stretch. Twice, in the final 15 seconds, they turned the ball over with a chance to take the lead.

In the long run, I think Marquette is going to be fine as a team. This Belmont team is really good — one of the best at the mid-major level nationally — and the Golden Eagles are a young team that made the kind of mistakes that young teams make. Come February, they’ll be playing like a team that will deserve NCAA tournament consideration. The problem is that they simply don’t have the kind of non-conference schedule where they are going to be able to make up for this loss. Even if they do find a way to play themselves into the NCAA tournament, they are going to find themselves in a bad spot when it comes to seeding.

SCORES YOU NEED TO KNOW

No. 7 Iowa State 68, Colorado 62: Georges Niang had 17 points and Abdel Nader finished with 14 as the Cyclones picked up their first win of the Steve Prohm in front of a defacto home crowd in South Dakota. The Cyclones looked a bit out of sync at times in their first game under new head coach Steve Prohm, and the lack of any depth at the five is a major red-flag; when Jameel McKay went to the bench, Iowa State went to a 2-3 zone with Niang and Nader playing the middle.

But the real takeaway from this game was that Colorado may actually be a factor in the Pac-12 this season. Josh Scott struggled in what was essentially a road game, and the Buffaloes still managed to have a real shot at pulling out a win in the final minutes. The key was George King and Dominique Collier, who combined for 27 points and 7-for-13 shooting from three.

No. 2 Kentucky 78, Albany 65: The Wildcats didn’t run away from the Great Danes, but they got 19 points and eight assists from Jamal Murray in a blowout win. Marcus Lee added 12 points, eight boards, three blocks and three assists while Derek Willis came out of nowhere to go off for 14 points and three assists off the bench.

Western Illinois 69, No. 17 Wisconsin 67: We wrote about this upset here.

Washington 77, Texas 71: Andrew Andrews had 23 points to lead the way for the Huskies, and this was a good win for Lorenzo Romar’s club, but this is going to be a loss that will not look good for Texas come March. Washington is young, and while Texas is in the midst of learning a new system, the NCAA tournament selection committee does not care about that. Isaiah Taylor had 27 points in the loss, while the trio of freshmen — Eric Davis Jr., Tevin Mack and Kerwin Roach — combined to go 4-for-27 from the floor.

STARRED:

Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina: Meeks was the best player of the floor for the No. 1 Tar Heels as they smacked around Temple in Annapolis, 91-67. Meeks finished with 25 points, 10 boards and three blocks. Also worth noting: Joel Berry II and Nate Britt finished with 27 points, hitting a combined 5-for-6 from three.

Grayson Allen, Duke: The No. 5 Blue Devils blew out Siena thanks in large part to Allen, who scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and also added the best dunk from college basketball’s opening night.

Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: In his first game as the focal point of the Notre Dame offense, Jackson had 27 points and three assists as the No. 19 Irish knocked off St. Francis (PA), 87-56. Zach Auguste added 15 points and 14 boards.

Dallas Moore, North Florida: The Ospreys won a game over a Big Ten team for the second straight season thanks in large part to Moore, who had 26 points and 10 assists without a turnover in a 93-81 win over Illinois in Illinois. Beau Beech added 25.

STRUGGLED

Georgia: The Bulldogs shot 54 percent from the floor and went 10-for-20 from three … and still lost at home to Chattanooga in overtime. Casey Jones and Johnathan Burroughs-Cook both finished with 23 points for the Mocs.

Cat Barber, N.C. State: Barber was 4-for-16 from the floor for the Wolfpack as they kicked off their 2015-16 season with an 85-68 loss at home to William & Mary. Daniel Dixon and Omar Prewitt finished with a combined 36 points in the Tribe’s win.

UCLA: The Bruins blew a ten-point second half lead and a five-point overtime leda as they lost to Monmouth at home. Point guards Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday combined to shoot 8-for-30 from the floor while the Bruins, as a team, committed 23 turnovers.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 3 Maryland 80, Mount St. Mary’s 56: Jake Layman led five scorers in double-figures with 16 points.
  • No. 4 Kansas 109, Northern Colorado 72: The Jayhawks put six player sin double figures, with Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham — 24 points and 17 assists, combined — leading the way.
  • No. 6 Virginia 86, Morgan State 48: Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill combined for 27 points and 15 boards in the win.
  • No. 10 Wichita State 88, Charleston Southern 63: The Shockers won easily, but Fred VanVleet, who entered the game with a hamstring issue, left with an ankle issue.
  • No. 11 Villanova 91, Fairleigh Dickinson 54: Jalen Brunson and Ryan Arcidiacono combined for 24 points and eight assists without a turnover in a game that was never close.
  • No. 12 Arizona 79, Pacific 61: The Wildcats got 18 points and 12 boards from Ryan Anderson in the win.
  • No. 13 Michigan State 82, Florida Atlantic 55: Denzel Valentine nearly posted a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, nine assists and eight boards.
  • No. 14 Cal 97, Rice 65: The Golden Bears got 14 points and 13 boards from freshman Ivan Rabb. Fellow freshman Jaylen Brown chipped in with 14 points as well, while all-american Tyrone Wallace added 20 points, eight boards and six assists.
  • No. 15 Indiana 88, Eastern Illinois 49: Yogi Ferrell had 13 points, seven boards and six assists for the Hoosiers, but, more importantly, IU held EIU to just 34.0 percent shooting.
  • No. 16 Utah 82, Southern Utah 71: On a night in which their starting backcourt went scoreless, the Runnin’ Utes received quality performances from Jakob Poeltl (26 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks), Jordan Loveridge (24 points) and Kyle Kuzma (23 points, 12 rebounds) in a win over the Thunderbirds.
  • No. 18 Vanderbilt 80, Austin Peay 41: Luke Kornet had 13 points, 13 boards, three assists and four blocks for the ‘Dores.
  • No. 20 UConn 100, Maine 56: Sterling Gibbs had 20 in his UConn debut while Amida Brimah posted 17 points, nine blocks and seven boards.
  • No. 21 LSU 81, McNeese State 70: Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson combined for 40 points as they outshined fellow freshman Ben Simmons.
  • No. 22 Baylor 97, Stephen F. Austin 55: The Bears blew out a good SFA team, led by 18 points from Rico Gathers.
  • No. 23 Purdue 81, North Carolina A&T 40: Caleb Swanigan had 11 points and 11 boards in his debut. A.J. Hammons did not play in Purdue’s opener, and Painter only said that he “has to take care of some things.”
  • No. 25 Michigan 70, Northern Michigan 44: Caris LeVert returned from injury with 18 points and five assists.

NOTABLES

  • Pitt was up 37-35 on No. 9 Gonzaga when the game was called due to the awful condition the court was in.
  • Stefan Moody had 29 points, five assists and five boards as Ole Miss knocked off Northwestern State, but the story from this game was Jalan West, NSU’s star guard, injured his knee with 30 seconds left. He’ll get an MRI tomorrow.
  • Damion Lee had 14 points to lead four players in double-figures as the Cardinals blew out Samford, 86-45.
  • Jevon Carter had 24 points, six assists and five steals and Devin Williams added 18 points and 15 boards as West Virginia won their opener against Northern Kentucky easily.
  • Gary Clark and Octavious Ellis combined for 38 points and 18 boards in a 25 point win over Western Carolina.
  • Jalen Reynolds led Xavier to a win over Miami (OH) with 16 points, 15 boards, four blocks and three assists.
  • Gavin Ware finished with 26 points and 13 boards as Mississippi State knocked off Eastern Washington despite the fact that Malik Newman didn’t play with a toe injury.
  • Florida kicked off the Mike White era with a 59-41 win over Navy.
  • Kareem Canty finished with 20 points, five boards and four assists as Auburn picked up a better-than-you-think win over UAB.
  • Tyler Dorsey led the way for Oregon in a win over Jackson State with 20 points, five boards and five assists.

Top-ranked Houston grinds out 53-48 win over Saint Mary’s

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FORT WORTH, Texas – J’Wan Roberts scored 15 points, Marcus Sasser added 13 and top-ranked Houston held on to beat Saint Mary’s 53-48 on Saturday night.

The Cougars (8-0) won twice in their first week as the No. 1 team since the final poll of the 1982-83 regular season, when Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon led high-flying Phi Slama Jama.

Logan Johnson scored 17 points and Aidan Mahaney had 14 for the Gaels (6-3), who lost their third in a row following a 6-0 start.

Houston was the favorite to win it all in the second of three consecutive trips to the Final Four nearly 40 years ago, but lost to Jim Valvano and North Carolina State in one of the iconic championship games.

Coach Kelvin Sampson’s first top-ranked team is coming off trips to the Final Four and Elite Eight the past two seasons.

For the third straight year, the postseason path will start at Dickie’s Arena, where Sampson likes to bring his team during the regular season as prep for the American Athletic Conference tourney.

This victory in the Battleground 2k22 series improved the Cougars to 9-0 in the arena near downtown Fort Worth, where they have won AAC tournament titles each of the past two years.

Saint Mary’s whittled a 12-point deficit to a single possession when Mahaney hit a 3, and he made it a three-point game again at 46-43 with another from long range.

Roberts answered by backing down for a short jump hook before Sasser converted a three-point play to put the Cougars up 51-43.

Houston broke a 17-all tie with a 14-3 run to finish the first half, with Saint Mary’s going 1 of 11 from the field in that stretch against the vaunted Cougars defense. Both teams shot 37%.

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary’s: Facing the No. 1 team isn’t foreign to the Gaels, who play in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga. St. Mary’s is 2-7 against the Zags when they have the top ranking, with one of the victories coming last season.

Houston: The Cougars had no trouble in their debut with the No. 1 ranking, blowing out Norfolk State 100-52 at home Tuesday. A disciplined and tournament-tested opponent for the second game was just the threat Sampson’s club figured it could be.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary’s: Missouri State at home Wednesday.

Houston: North Florida at home Tuesday.

Clowney, No. 11 Alabama recover to beat South Dakota St

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Noah Clowney’s breakout game – 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal – helped No. 11 Alabama recover from blowing a 20-point lead and beat South Dakota State 78-65 on Saturday night.

Clowney shot 8 of 17, including 5 of 12 on 3s, in his highest-scoring game of the season.

“We’ve encouraged him to shoot it, I’m glad he did,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “His senior year of high school, he started out pretty poorly from 3 then shot it 40% after that, so I kind of referenced that.”

Alabama (7-1) led 37-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. South Dakota State (3-6) rallied to go ahead 51-50 on Alex Arians’ 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.

Nimari Burnett’s foul shot a minute later put the Crimson Tide ahead for good at 54-53. Alabama used a 9-0 run to pull away.

Mark Sears scored 19 points and Brandon Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide

Alabama made 14 of its first 26 shots to build a big lead before it slipped away.

“I’m not going to call them mature, we still have some room to grow,” Oats said. “Our guys have to understand, no matter who we’re playing, even if their record isn’t great, they’re Division I basketball players, they’re good teams. Last year, we had issues with this going down the road.”

Charlie Easley and Arians each scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits. Zeke Mayo added 12 points and Matt Dentlinger contributed nine rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Sears continues to be a force at home for Alabama. In Alabama’s last three home games – wins over Liberty, Jacksonville State and South Dakota State – he has scored 22, 18 and 19 points, making at least three 3-pointers in all three games. Alabama’s next home game comes against a Memphis team that already has two wins over SEC competition.

SECOND HALF SPRING

South Dakota State coach Eric Henderson noticed that in Alabama’s first two home games, Longwood and Liberty both trailed by fewer than 10 points at halftime before losing by 21 and 36 points, respectively. He viewed the first five minutes of the second half as critical in both instances, seeing an Alabama team using the home environment to its advantage.

Henderson stressed to his team that it had to win those five minutes to have a chance. Down 42-35 at the break, it did, and ultimately took the lead.

“They really increase the pressure, they try to play a little faster, they get downhill and they really spray it,” Henderson said. “I thought we were getting some 50-50 balls, I thought we were playing with some confidence. There’s been a lot of schools to come in here and have a good first half and it ends up being a 30- or 40-point game.”

UP NEXT

South Dakota State stays on the road to face Montana on Tuesday.

Alabama takes a weeklong break before its second game against the current No. 1 team in the nation, this time a road game against Houston on Saturday. The Crimson Tide beat former No. 1 North Carolina in its first shot at the top-ranked team, winning 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27.

Rutgers beats No. 10 Indiana for sixth straight time, 63-48

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With the clock winding down in the final minutes, Rutgers fans didn’t hesitate in letting No. 10 Indiana how they felt about the Hoosiers’ rating.

Chants of “Who’s Your Daddy” and “Overrated” were shouted with glee at the Indiana bench after the team was knocked from the unbeaten ranks.

Make no mistake, Rutgers (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten) owns Indiana (7-1, 0-1) on the basketball floor these days.

Freshman guard Derek Simpson scored 10 straight points in a game-deciding run and Rutgers beat Indiana for the sixth time in a row and ninth time in 10 meetings, 63-48 on Saturday.

“As far as Indiana goes, I feel we just know the focus of this team,” said Rutgers senior Caleb McConnell, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. “It gives us an advantage because we had beaten them five times in a row. We went in trying to execute our game plan and we did it again.”

Simpson scored all 14 of his points in the second half as Rutgers made coach Mike Woodson’s first visit to “The Banks” unpleasant.

“We got to make shots from the perimeter,” said Woodson, whose team shot 30.4% from the field, including 6 of 21 from long range. “But we just got out-toughed tonight. I thought, I mean, from the beginning to the end, I mean, we couldn’t rebound the basketball with him. I thought that was the difference in the ballgame and that was the cushion that they needed.”

Miller Kopp scored a season-high 21 points for Indiana . Star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who faced a packed in defense, was held to 13 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late.

Jackson-Davis said Indiana just didn’t play well.

“I don’t necessarily say that it’s a bad matchup for us because I think defensively we’re still good,” he said. “But at the same time, our offense just wasn’t clicking tonight.”

The win was coach Steve Pikiell’s 14th over a ranked team since taking over a struggling Rutgers’ program in 2016-17. As usual, defense was at the center of its win.

The Hoosiers’ point total was a season low. They were averaging 87.1 points and were coming off a win over North Carolina.

Indiana played poorly in the first half in falling behind 31-24. The Hoosiers opened the final 20 minutes with a 13-4 spurt, taking two-point leads on baskets by Xavier Johnson and Kopp.

McConnell hit a 3-pointer to put Rutgers ahead for good and then Simpson took over, hitting a layup, a jumper, a 3-pointer and a big scoop shot for a 47-37 lead. His final point in the run came when Johnson hit him in the face in the offensive zone and a flagrant foul was eventually called. He made 1 of 2 free throws.

“I still have have much more to do and I am going to keep working and we’re going to keep working as a team,” Simpson said. “It was a fun game, and it really got loud. My ears are still ringing right now.”

MULCAHY RETURNS

Rutgers senior starting guard Paul Mulcahy returned to the lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury. He came off the bench early in the first half and played almost 24 minutes, scoring six points and handing out four assists.

MISSING

Indiana starting guard Jalen Hood-Schifino did not play because of a back problem. He was averaging 8.7 points. Starting forward Race Thompson, who was averaging 7.3 points, was scoreless on 0 for 4 shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Indiana: This was poor performance by the Hoosiers. They are bound to take a tumble.

Rutgers: This was a big win for Rutgers, which was coming off a road loss at Miami. They are 6-0 at home.

UP NEXT

Indiana: Conference home opener against Nebraska on Wednesday.

Rutgers: At No. 25 Ohio State on Thursday.

Flagler, No. 6 Baylor rally late, top No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63

Baylor vs. Gonzaga
USA Today
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a rematch of the 2021 national championship game, Adam Flagler hit a pair of 3s as No. 6 Baylor scored the final eight points to rally past No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63 Friday night.

Gonzaga’s Rasir Bolton missed a wild, driving layup try at the buzzer.

Two seasons ago, Baylor beat the then-undefeated Zags 86-70 to win its first title. This time, the Bears didn’t take the lead for good until Jalen Bridges made two free throws with 16 seconds left.

“Adam is a great leader, but no one knew he wasn’t feeling well today,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “To be honest, some players wouldn’t have played. He played through the pain and left it all out on the court. As a coach, I appreciate that.”

The Bears (6-2) trailed 63-56 before Flagler hit a 3-pointer with 1:33 left. Flagler’s 3 with just over a minute to play cut Baylor’s deficit to 63-62.

After a Gonzaga shot clock violation, Flagler’s 3-point attempt for the lead was off the mark, but Bridges was fouled by Drew Timme on the rebound attempt. Bridges hit two foul shots to put Baylor ahead.

The Zags (5-3) had a final chance when Bolton caught an inbounds pass near his own foul line with 4.6 seconds remaining. He drove the lane, but his off-balance shot went high off the glass and missed as the buzzer sounded.

“We took two balls down hill and tried to make plays at the rim. At that point in the game, those are tough,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “It’s very disappointing. They made plays, man.”

Freshman Keyonte George had 18 points and seven rebounds for Baylor. Flagler had 11 points and Langston Love added 10.

“I trust my work. I was able to knock them down,” George said. “My teammates believe in me each and every day. They give me that confidence in a big game to make big shots like that.”

Malchi Smith scored 16 points for Gonzaga. Anton Watson added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Timme had nine points.

Baylor led by as many as 12 in the first half before Gonzaga closed to five at the break.

Watson’s basket put Gonzaga ahead 41-40. From there, the teams swapped leads over the next 13 minutes as the second half featured two ties and 14 lead changes.

A thunderous dunk from Smith gave Gonzaga its seven-point lead with under two minutes to go.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The win was a big rebound for Baylor after its 26-point loss to Marquette earlier in the week. The loss was the Bears’ most lopsided since they fell to Kansas 82-56 in 2007

Gonzaga: After opening the season ranked No. 2 in the AP preseason poll, the Zags have now lost two of three.

STAR WATCH

Timme began the night leading the Bulldogs in scoring at 20 points per game. He was hampered by foul trouble against Baylor and got his first field goal with six minutes remaining. He fouled out with 16 seconds to play.

REMATCH PLAYERS

Four players on the floor Friday night had significant minutes in the championship game two years ago including Flagler, Timme and Watson, along with Baylor’s Flo Thamba.

UP NEXT

Baylor: The Bears return home to host Tarleton on Tuesday before playing Washington State on Sunday in Dallas for the Pac 12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs return to Spokane for three straight beginning Monday when they face Kent State for the first time in school history.

Carr scores 19, No. 2 Texas beats No. 7 Creighton 72-67

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AUSTIN, Texas – Texas had pressured Creighton’s shooters into a miserable night, only to watch a late flurry of 3-pointers start swishing.

An 11-point Longhorns lead was down to three.

That hardly rattled Marcus Carr and the second-ranked Longhorns, who stepped up with big late shots of their own and steady free-throw shooting to secure another impressive early-season victory, 72-67 over the seventh-ranked Bluejays on Thursday night.

Carr scored 19 points and made two free throws with 10 seconds left as Texas held off Creighton’s furious late-game rally.

Creighton struggled through a wretched 3-point shooting night, but pulled within 62-59 thanks in part to five points in a row by Baylor Scheierman. Carr’s baseline jumper and an easy layup by Tyrese Hunter when Creighton lost him on an inbound pass with 46 seconds left stretched the Longhorns’ lead again.

That didn’t quite close the door on Creighton, which got two more 3-pointers from Scheierman, who had missed his first nine attempts. That forced Texas to finish it from the free-throw line behind Carr and Brock Cunningham. Cunningham’s two free throws with 4 seconds left were his only points of the game.

“There’s going to be a bunch of times one of us has to go down there and knock down a bunch of free throws,” Carr said. “We talk about it all the time.”

The matchup was part of the Big 12-Big East Battle and Texas earned its second win over a top-10 opponent in its new arena. The Longhorns (6-0) beat then-No. 2 Gonzaga on Nov. 16 and have their highest ranking since they were No. 1 during the 2009-2010 season.

“I don’t think we’ve proven anything,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “We’re just a team that’s trying to get better.”

Hunter scored 15 points for Texas.

Ryan Kalkbrenner had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Creighton (6-2), and Ryan Nembhard scored 17 points. The Bluejays were 4 of 27 on 3-pointers.

Scheierman, a 44% shooter from beyond the arc this season, made three 3s in a row late. His off-balance shot from the right corner over a defender pulled the Bluejays within 68-65 with 11.4 seconds left.

Scheierman finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“The reality is you are gonna have nights,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “It just happens. We don’t ever want him to stop shooting.”

BIG PICTURE

Creighton: Kalkbrenner was all but unstoppable on a 9-of-10 shooting night for the Bluejays, who kept launching from long range instead of looking for their 7-foot-1 center.

Texas: The Longhorns couldn’t force their usual numbers of turnovers and fast-break points, but were exceptionally clean with the ball on offense. Texas had just three turnovers that Creighton turned into three points.

FORMER TEAMMATES

Texas senior forward Christian Bishop played three seasons at Creighton before transferring prior to last season. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

“We understood what this game was, not just for our team but for Christian,” Carr said.

TIRED TEAM

McDermott suggested his team maybe just wore out. The Bluejays went 2-1 in the Maui Invitational last week and then played their first game of the season on an opponent’s home court.

“Three games in three days against ranked teams (in Hawaii) and then to come in here,” McDermott said. “That’s a lot to ask of my team.”

UP NEXT

Creighton hosts in-state rival Nebraska on Sunday.

Texas plays No. 16 Illinois in New York City on Dec. 6 in the Jimmy V Classic.