GAME OF THE NIGHT: Valparaiso 65, No. 21 Rhode Island 62
The Crusaders had a rare opportunity to host a top-25 team from the Horizon League and took advantage with a huge win. All-American candidate Alec Peters might have put together a signature performance with 27 points and nine rebounds. NBC’s Rob Dauster has more on why this is Valpo’s most important win of the season.
No. 5 Duke 78, Michigan State 69: Grayson Allen got going again as the Blue Devils were able to win at home. Allen finished with 24 points.
No. 17 Wisconsin 77, No. 22 Syracuse 60 — Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ powered the Badgers to a home win over the Orange. All three had monster games but Hayes had the most important one of all. Find out why with my take on this game here.
Pitt 73, Maryland 59 — The Panthers jumped out to a big, early lead on the Terps on the road and never looked back. Kevin Stallings’ bunch was up 21 by halftime. Huge outings from Michael Young (25 points, nine rebounds) and Jamel Artis (22 points, six rebounds) as they’re going to be tough to handle in ACC play. Maryland struggled to 10-for-26 shooting from three as Melo Trimble was limited to 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
UT-Arlington 72, Texas 61 — The Longhorns have dropped three straight games as the Mavericks win by double-digits on the road. Kevin Hervey had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead UT-Arlington. The Texas guards struggled to play consistently as a unit in this one.
Illinois 88, N.C. State 74: Illinois desperately need a win after dropping three straight and this one was important for the Illini. Malcolm Hill finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Illinois had 56 points in the second half.
Jack Gibbs, Davidson: The Wildcats picked up an easy win over Mercer as Gibbs poured in 33 points, including 8-for-14 three-point shooting. Also adding four assists, three rebounds and no turnovers, Gibbs had a good overall game besides getting hot from the perimeter.
Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: The junior forward went for 24 points and 17 rebounds as the Fighting Irish rolled past Iowa at home. Colson was only 6-for-14 from the floor but he was 12-for-12 from the free-throw line as he helped Notre Dame go 30-for-33 from the line.
- Six players finished in double-figures as No. 2 Villanova rolled past Penn. Kris Jenkins led the way with 22 points. The Wildcats were 12-for-26 from three-point range.
- LeGerald Vick went 9-for-9 and finished with 23 points as No. 4 Kansas ran past Long Beach State.
- No. 7 Xavier cruised to a home win over North Dakota State as junior Trevon Bluiett had an outstanding game. Scoring a team-high 23 points, Bluiett also added seven assists and five rebounds.
- It looked like a tight game at halftime but No. 10 Creighton had a big second half to run past Buffalo for a home win. Marcus Foster led the way with 22 points while Justin Patton had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Unsung sophomore guard Kyhri Thomas finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
- Other winners in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge included Notre Dame rolling past Iowa and Penn State over Georgia Tech.
- The rebuild is going to take some time for St. John’s as they dropped one to Delaware State. Guard Devin Morgan poured in 26 points to lead the Hornets.