Tuesdays College Basketball Recap: Villanova, Arizona, West Virginia land big wins

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PLAYER OF THE DAY

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges thrust himself into the national consciousness on Tuesday night. Playing in primetime on national television in the most hyped game of a terrific night of college hoops. Bridges exploded for a career-high 28 points, adding six rebounds and a pair of blocks as the No. 4 Wildcats handed No. 12 Gonzaga their worst loss since falling to No. 2 seed Arizona in the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament.

Bridges was already making his way up NBA Draft boards because of his improved scoring ability, but this kind of performance is what people remember. Everyone saw this happen. In college football, we call it a ‘Heisman Moment,’ and for Bridges, this was one of those moments.

Well, if we’re being truthful, it was probably this dunk.

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • Jevon Carter nearly finished with a triple-double, posting 23 points, 10 boards, seven assists and a pair of steals as No. 18 West Virginia protected their home court and extended their winning streak to eight games as they knocked off No. 15 Virginia, 68-61.
  • Glynn Watson went for 29 points, nine boards, three steals and two assists as Nebraska picked off No. 14 Minnesota, 78-68, in their Big Ten home-opener.
  • With 25 of his 32 points coming in the second half and overtime, Keenan Evans led Texas Tech to a come-from-behind win over No. 22 Nevada, 82-76. This one is going to hurt for the Wolf Pack, who should have had this thing locked up.
  • Wichita State’s Landry Shamet had 21 points and eight assists as the Shockers notched a come-from-behind win over South Dakota State.
  • No. 23 TCU won the battle of the Dallas metroplex, beating SMU, 94-83, behind 27 points, nine boards, five assists and three steals from Kenrich Williams.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Can I get some credit for being the only member of the “Arizona is back!” bandwagon after Saturday night’s win at UNLV? I think I should, because the Wildcats proved that, if they are not all the way back, they sure are getting close after knocking off No. 7 Texas A&M in Arizona on Tuesday night. They needed that win.

What makes it all the more impressive is that it came on a night where Allonzo Trier, who was their leading scorer entering the night, finished with just seven points on seven field goal attempts. If Arizona can dispatch a Texas A&M team that won by 16 points at USC and beat West Virginia by 23, then maybe — just maybe — they’ll find a way to get themselves back into the national title picture before it’s all said and done.

GAME OF THE DAY

Taylor Persons scored 24 points, including hitting a three with 1.5 seconds left, as Ball State shocked No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend, 80-77, on Tuesday night in a fun, back-and-forth battle that resulted in the second loss for the Irish in three games. As good as Notre Dame looked earlier in the season, there are some depth issues slowly but surely popping up. Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and Temple Gibbs all logged 39 minutes, while Rex Pflueger chipped in with 35 minutes himself. That does not seem sustainable once we get into ACC play.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

No. 6 Wichita State found a way to beat South Dakota State and Mike Daum, one of the nation’s best mid-major players, on Tuesday night, but it wasn’t easy. The Shockers, known for being one of the best defensive programs in college basketball, not only gave up 85 points on the night, but they allowed the Jackrabbits to hit them for a 50-spot in the first half.

And Gregg Marshall?

He was none-too-pleased about that:

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

We mentioned it earlier, but No. 18 West Virginia is all the way back. They beat No. 15 Virginia in Morgantown on Tuesday night, their eighth straight win since a season-opening beatdown at the hands of Texas A&M made just about everyone hop off of the bandwagon.

It wasn’t easy for No. 3 Michigan State, but they moved to 2-0 in Big Ten play with a win at Rutgers. The Spartans trailed for much of the first half and didn’t pull away until the final minutes of the game. Miles Bridges led the way with 21 points and, for a stretch of the first half, took the game over, but overall he had another relatively unimposing performance for a team that is still not totally clicking offensively. And I’m sure the 20 offensive rebounds they gave up will give Tom Izzo an ulcer.

Dylan Osetkowski had 17 points and Mo Bamba added 13 points and 13 boards as Texas went into Richmond and knocked off VCU in Shaka Smart’s first return to the school that he left three years ago.

Tyus Battle had 22 points as Syracuse reclaimed ownership of New York City with a 72-63 win over UConn in the nightcap of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

No. 1 Duke scored 71 points in the first half against St. Francis PA. You don’t even want to know the final score. (They won by 55.)

They were playing without Bruce Brown and looked sluggish for a half, but freshman Lonnie Walker IV and No. 10 Miami turned it on in the second half and beat Boston U. by 15 points. Walker had 26.