SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Kentucky, Purdue, Butler all land critical wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 6 Kentucky 103, No. 7 North Carolina 100

It might end up being the game of the year. There are a lot of things to note here, the most important of which is that Malik Monk had 47 points on 28 shots. You can watch all of those 47 points here. The five most important takeaways from that game can be found right here.

WIN OF THE DAY: Bob Huggins picked up career win No. 800 as No. 12 West Virginia ran away with a 112-67 win over UMKC. Seven Mountaineers finished in double-figures as they forced 24 turnovers. NBC’s Rob Dauster and Raphielle Johnson have more on how Huggins reached 800 wins by changing his philosophy.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 15 Purdue 86, No. 21 Notre Dame 81: Quality comeback win for the Boilermakers as they were down 14 points at the half. I have more on what Purdue did to make its comeback on the Irish.

No. 18 Butler 83, No. 9 Indiana 78: The Bulldogs got 28 points from Kelan Martin in a statement win over Indiana. We wrote all about that game here.

No. 19 Arizona 67, Texas A&M 63: The Aggies tried to act like it was last year’s NCAA tournament against Northern Iowa, but it was too little too late. Arizona was able to withstand an 18-0 Texas A&M run that made this a two-point game with under 30 seconds left. Arizona looked good for 35 minutes as their defense looked impressive at times. Dusan Ristic led four Wildcats in double-figures with 18 points.

No. 17 Xavier 69, Wake Forest 65: The Musketeers picked up another Skip Prosser Classic win thanks to 20 points from Trevon Bluiett and 17 points from Edmond Sumner. This Xavier team badly needs Myles Davis back, but it’s still unclear when he will be back from his indefinite suspension.

Georgetown 78, Syracuse 71: After the transfer of former highly-touted recruit Isaac Copeland this week, Georgetown responded with a huge win at Syracuse. The Hoyas have five straight wins since their disastrous ending in Maui as L.J. Peak had 23 points and 11 rebounds. Syracuse finally got the first-round-pick Tyler Lydon we’ve heard so much about as he went for 29 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort. This was Syracuse’s last chance for a semi-decent win in non-conference play (you don’t count, St. John’s) so this was not a great loss.

STARRED

Malik Monk, Kentucky: Enough said.

B.J. Johnson, LaSalle: The guard poured in 35 points on 10-for-16 shooting in a home win over Florida Gulf Coast. Johnson was also 12-for-14 from the free-throw line and added four steals on the day.

Yante Maten, Georgia: Is there a more underrated player in the country than Maten? He finished with 30 points in a win over Charleston Southern today.

Mike Daum, South Dakota State: Daum had a career-high 39 points, including 10 in overtime, as SDSU knocked off Murray State.

Naz Long, Iowa State: Long had 37 points, six boards and five assists, hitting 8-for-12 from three, as the Cyclones knocked off Drake.

STRUGGLED

Steve Vasturia, Notre Dame: The senior had a day to forget as he was 1-for-8 from the field for only three points in a loss to No. 15 Purdue in the Crossroads Classic. Vasturia fouled out and also had three turnovers.

Creighton: The No. 10 Bluejays barely hung on to beat Oral Roberts 66-65 on Saturday. ORU is now 2-10 and ranked 274th in KenPom. This was one to forget.

Wichita State: The Shockers, playing at home in a game they really needed to secure a chance at getting an at-large bid, got smacked around by Oklahoma State, 93-76. In other news, this is a really solid win for a Cowboys team that appears to be better than anyone realized.

TOP 25

  • It wasn’t even an ‘A’ game for No. 2 UCLA and its high-powered offense but they still won over Ohio State. Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday both had 20 points while Lonzo Ball had eight points, nine assists and nine rebounds.
  • No. 4 Baylor cruised to a 25-point win over Jackson State.
  • Easy win for No. 11 Louisville as they raced past Eastern Kentucky for a home win. The Cardinals holding the Colonials to 16 first-half points is impressive. Donovan Mitchell led with 15 points.
  • Devon Hall and Kyle Guy both had 13 points to lead No. 13 Virginia past Robert Morris.
  • It didn’t come easy for No. 16 South Carolina but they pulled away for a road win at South Florida. The Gamecocks trailed at six at the half as they once again played without senior Sindarius Thornwell. P.J. Dozier had 23 points as South Carolina outscored the Bulls by 17 in the second half.
  • Dwayne Bacon had 16 points to lead No. 23 Florida State to a home win over Manhattan. Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Trent Forrest each had 10 points for the Seminoles.
  • Reaching triple digits was No. 25 Cincinnati as they had a big win over Fairleigh Dickinson. Kevin Johnson paced the Bearcats with 18 points while Jacob Evans added 17 points.

NOTABLE

  • The chances of Northwestern getting to the NCAA tournament got better today as they beat Dayton, 67-64. Northwestern was up 23 points at halftime and managed to hold on for the win.
  • Texas Tech won its only non-Big 12 road game on the season with a victory at Richmond. The Red Raiders had 17 points and 10 rebounds from forward Zach Smith. Sitting at No. 27 in Kenpom entering the day, a true road win at a top-150 team won’t hurt Texas Tech.
  • Nice overtime road win for Memphis over Oklahoma as they rallied from a halftime deficit after dealing with an injury to senior center Chad Rykhoek. Dedric Lawson had 26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists while K.J. Lawson added 19 points and 13 rebounds.