Monday was a slow night in college basketball. There were three games between ranked teams to keep it interesting though. With major battles in the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12, the night started slow, but closed with a good back-and-forth game.
No. 9 Kansas outlasts No. 24 Iowa State in back-and-forth contest
Following a bad loss to West Virginia over the weekend, Kansas took the floor Monday against an Iowa State team that previously blew them out in Ames.
The Jayhawks avenged that first Iowa State loss with a solid comeback win in Lawrence against the Cyclones on Monday. Playing very much like a Player of the Year candidate, Jayhawk junior forward Dedric Lawson had a monster game with 29 points and 15 rebounds — making critical plays on both ends of the floor. Lawson knocked down a key three-pointer to make it a five-point difference with under a minute left while also making a huge block of a Lindell Wigginton dunk attempt that could have pulled Iowa State to within one.
With all of the Kansas woes late in games, this was a solid win for them after Iowa State mounted a late rally to tie the game.
First-half run propels No. 11 North Carolina past No. 10 Virginia Tech
The Monday ACC undercard to Saturday’s memorable Duke vs. Virginia clash, the Tar Heels used a huge 20-2 run at the end of the first half and eventually run past the Hokies. Getting stops after a hot start for Virginia Tech’s offense, the North Carolina defense looked much improved after some bad stretches at times during the season.
Freshmen also played a giant part in the win for the Tar Heels as Coby White (27 points) and Nassir Little (23 points) combined for 50 points while Luke Maye (14 points) and Garrison Brooks (12 points) had solid games on the interior.
Since North Carolina has to play a difficult remaining ACC schedule that includes two games against Duke and a tilt with Virginia, this is a critical home win for them to get against a team as good as Virginia Tech.
Cassius Winston, No. 6 Michigan State control game against No. 13 Maryland
In the Big Ten, the Spartans maintained control of the league with a solid double-digit win the Terps. Playing without junior guard Joshua Langford, and with big man Nick Ward (0 points) struggling for consistent offense, the Spartans still pretty easily took care of a top-15 thanks to defense, toughness and the steady play at point guard of Cassius Winston.
Soundly outplaying his counterpart in Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr., Winston (14 points, seven assists) led a balanced effort for Michigan State as five double-figure scorers led to a solid offensive night. Kenny Goins (14 points, 12 rebounds) finished with a double-double for the Spartans while Xavier Tillman (10 points, five blocks) and Aaron Henry (12 points, six rebounds, four assists) gave great role efforts.
The Spartans remain unbeaten through eight games in a very deep Big Ten as they’re quietly looking like one of the most consistent teams in the country. This team doesn’t have a headline-making star like Miles Bridges, but Michigan State is playing together and playing hard on both ends of the floor.