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.
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.
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.
- 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.