SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW
The biggest game of the day featured No. 2 Kansas going into Rupp Arena and taking on No. 4 Kentucky, and thanks to 20 points and ten boards from Josh Jackson, the Jayhawks left Lexington with a 79-73 win.
Pulling off one of its biggest wins of the season was No. 17 Duke as the Blue Devils rallied from double-digits with under five minutes left to win on the road at Wake Forest. Sophomore Luke Kennard put himself back in the Player of the Year discussion with an outrageous effort as he had 30 points in the second half alone.
It was the kind of win that can ignite a struggling Duke team and give them confidence going forward. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on this one.
The ACC had an insane day to kick things off in the afternoon as three ranked teams suffered upsets to unranked opponents on the road.
It began with Georgia Tech winning another ACC home game against a ranked opponent as the Yellow Jackets stung No. 14 Notre Dame with a buzzer-beating layup from freshman Josh Okogie. Tadric Jackson (25 points) had a monster outing for Georgia Tech and I wrote about how the Yellow Jackets are now in the NCAA tournament hunt.
Shortly after Georgia Tech’s win, Syracuse held off No. 6 Florida State for a very important conference win of their own. Andrew White led the Orange with 24 points — while continuing to look more comfortable on both ends of the floor — while guard John Gillon added 21 points and 11 assists. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on how this affects the Seminoles and Syracuse from here. Florida State has dropped two straight games.
Miami wanted to also partake in the ranked team takedown in the ACC as they thoroughly outplayed No. 9 North Carolina for a home win. The Hurricanes had a great game from freshman Bruce Brown while the Tar Heels had another sluggish outing from point guard Joel Berry. I wrote more on what both individual performances mean for each team’s season going forward while also discussing Miami’s NCAA tournament chances here.
Those weren’t the only teams to get upset on Saturday, as No. 10 Oregon fell at Colorado and No. 11 Butler lost at home to Georgetown. All told, eight of the top 11 teams in college basketball have lost this week, and No. 12 Virginia plays at No. 1 Villanova on Sunday.
No. 3 Gonzaga didn’t lose. They haven’t lost all season long, and look like they’re headed to No. 1 in the country on Monday morning.
Luke Kennard, Duke: Desperately needing a win on the road, the sophomore scored 30 points in the second half to lift No. 17 Duke past Wake Forest. Kennard finished with 34 points as he was 11-for-14 from the field and 6-for-6 from three-point range. He was 10-for-10 in the second half and made all five of his threes. He might have jumpstarted the Blue Devils and changed their fortunes with his efforts.
Marcus Keene, Central Michigan: Another Saturday and another gargantuan effort from the nation’s leading scorer. After putting up 50 last Saturday, Keene poured in 41 points in an overtime MAC road win over Kent State. Keene was 13-for-26 from the field and also added 10 rebounds and four assists on the afternoon.
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin: Bailing out the struggling Badgers on Saturday as the sophomore forward as Happ accounted for over half of the team’s points (32 overall) in an overtime road win over Rutgers. Also adding six rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks, Happ was 12-for-18 from the field. He could have done even more damage but was only 8-for-16 from the free-throw line.
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Peyton Aldridge and Jack Gibbs, Davidson: Both Aldridge and Gibbs had 28 points each as the Wildcats ran past Fordham for an A-10 road win. The duo combined to go 17-for-28 from the field and 11-for-15 from three-point range as Gibbs also had seven assists.
Nisre Zouzoua, Bryant: The Bulldogs pulled off an overtime win over Fairleigh Dickinson as Zouzoua hit the game-winning jumper with four second left. Zouzoua also added a game-high 25 points.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 5 Baylor overcame a 13-point first half deficit to beat Ole Miss in Oxford. Manu Lecomte buried a huge three with 20 seconds left to seal the win.
- Georgetown went into Indianapolis and picked off No. 11 Butler, who has not looked like the same team they were early on in the season since league play started.
- This one wasn’t pretty but No. 15 Wisconsin needed overtime to outlast Rutgers for a Big Ten road win. The Badgers needed a huge performance from forward Ethan Happ as they were 3-for-25 from three-point range.
- Needing a win in the worst way, No. 16 Creighton rolled past DePaul for a Big East home win behind a balanced effort. Khyri Thomas had 18 points to pace the Bluejays.
- Pressure defense was the key for No. 18 West Virginia in a home win over Texas A&M. The Mountaineers forced 23 turnovers as junior guard Jevon Carter had 19 points and nine rebounds.
- Winning in Minnesota is never easy but No. 22 Maryland made a late push to escape with a solid Big Ten road win. Freshman Justin Jackson had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Terps while freshman Kevin Huerter (19 points) and junior Melo Trimble (13 points) also finished in double-figures.
- Another blowout win for No. 22 Florida as they destroyed Oklahoma in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Kevarrius Hayes led four Gator double-figure scorers with 20 points.
- No. 23 South Carolina didn’t get an invite to the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, but they did pick off Missouri on the road to keep pace with Kentucky in the SEC standings.
- No. 25 Florida beat the breaks off of Oklahoma, winning by 32 in Norman.
- Clemson hadn’t won since the football team captured the national championship so they picked up a desperately-needed ACC road win at Pitt. The Tigers still have NCAA tournament hopes as senior Jaron Blossomgame led with 25 points.
- The Big 12/SEC Challenge had some dud games as Texas Tech beat LSU by double-digits and Tennessee smoked Kansas State by jumping out to a 17-point halftime lead. It did give us this legendary LSU highlight though.
- Major letdown game for Marquette as they fell at home to Providence after back-to-back top-10 wins over Creighton and Villanova. Kyron Cartwright had 18 for the Friars.