Three Things To Know: Seton Hall beats Maryland, Auburn’s undefeated

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NEWARK, N.J. – Thursday was a relatively quiet night in the college basketball world.

But it wasn’t a silent night.

Here are the three things that you need to know:

1. SETON HALL PICKED UP AN ENORMOUS WIN

When it comes to the tangible stuff, Seton Hall’s win over No. 7 Maryland is massive.

The Pirates were coming off of back-to-back losses. They were playing at home for the first time since Nov. 23rd. They were playing their final quality non-conference opponent that just so happens to be a top ten team, and they were doing it at home. Beating Iowa State on a neutral court is going to be a solid win on Selection Sunday.

Beating Maryland?

At home?

That’s the kind of win that will be a difference-maker. Entering Thursday night, our Dave Ommen had Seton Hall as one of the last teams into the dance. They needed this W, and they needed it badly.

But there is more to it than simply landing a win for their resume.

For the last season and a half, the Hall has basically been looked at as a team that had Myles Powell and a bunch of guys. They win when Powell goes bonkers. They struggle when he is human, and while that is a pretty fair summation overall, the problem is that the mindset had permeated the team, in a way.

“We defer to him,” Quincy McKnight told me after the game.

They couldn’t defer to Powell on Thursday, because Powell was back home in his apartment watching the game while relaxing in a dark room.

(He was actually bouncing off the walls, lights on, and going nuts on FaceTime with his teammates after the fact. “I yelled at him,” head coach Kevin Willard said, and I’m not sure if he was kidding or not.)

That meant that the likes of McKnight and Jared Rhoden and Anthony Nelson were forced into playing bigger roles, and it worked out. McKnight had 15 points and six assists. Nelson had 10 points and four assists. Rhoden had eight points, 12 boards and three assists.

The Pirates didn’t win because of that – they won because their defense turned the Terps into a middle school JV team – but it did force Powell’s supporting cast into having to make plays to win the game without him. They had to figure it out on their own, to prove to themselves they have what it takes.

That will benefit them down the road.

2. BUT MARYLAND MIGHT BE BROKEN

The Terps, on the other hand, were just dreadful. They finished the night shooting 26.9 percent from the floor. They were 5-for-21 from three. They had more turnovers (17) than made field goals (14). Hell, they had more shots blocks (15) than shots made.

Mark Turgeon?

He was not happy, clearly frustrated by the fact that he can’t find a way to get the best out of this team. They’ve been a mess offensively in recent weeks. They look nothing like the team that beat Marquette in Orlando in November.

Specifically, Turgeon said that he frustrated by his team’s decision-making and execution. Things like the inability to execute coming out of a timeout; Maryland was down by three with the ball with less than a minute left, but they turned it over when they couldn’t run the play he called a timeout to draw up. He was unhappy about the fact that his team continually challenged Seton Hall’s two seven-foot centers at the rim, which did not go well for the Terps.

It’s never a good situation when you hear coaches say this: “Hopefully tonight will allow guys to be a little more coachable moving forward.”

3. AUBURN LANDED A NEEDED HOME WIN OVER N.C. STATE

The Auburn Tigers remained amongst the ranks of the undefeated on Thursday night, as they won their 10th straight game to open the season behind 24 points from Samir Doughty.

I think that this win is relevant because of the position that the Tigers have put themselves in with their scheduling. Believe it or not, but N.C. State is the first team from one of the Big Seven leagues that Auburn has played this season, and it is the only high-major foe that they are going to face until the start of SEC play. That’s not to say that the Tigers have played an easy schedule. They’ve beaten Davidson, New Mexico, Richmond, Furman and Saint Louis already this year, and every one of those teams is a top 100 team on KenPom. They ended up being forced to play Richmond after Wisconsin lost to the Spiders in the Legends Classic, and they still get Iowa State in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

But the truth is that there is nothing in their non-conference that is going to be overly impressive. Gonzaga went into Arizona and won. Ohio State beat Villanova by 25. Duke beat Kansas. All of those teams have statement wins. N.C. State was Auburn’s statement win, if you will.

And given the way that the non-conference has played out for the SEC, that is somewhat concerning for the Tigers. The top of the league is thoroughly unimposing. Florida and Kentucky have both been disappointing. Tennessee is working through some issues, having lost two straight. LSU just got worked over at home by East Tennessee State. If Kentucky ends up playing closer to their current ranking in the NET (77th) than on KenPom (15th), there’s a real scenario where Auburn will go through the entire season without playing a single ranked team.

What kind of seed will that lead to in the NCAA tournament?

Zach Edey has 19 points, No. 1 Purdue beats Michigan 75-70

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Zach Edey had 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points to help No. 1 Purdue hold off Michigan 75-70 on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers (20-1, 9-1 Big Ten) had a 15-0 run to go ahead 41-28 lead in the first half after there were 10 lead changes and four ties, but they couldn’t pull away.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) were without standout freshman Jett Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury, and still hung around until the final seconds.

Joey Baker made a 3-pointer – off the glass – with 5.9 seconds left to pull Michigan within three points, but Purdue’s Brandon Newman sealed the victory with two free throws.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said Michigan slowed down Edey in the second half by pushing him away from the basket.

“They got him out a little more, and got him bottled up,” Painter said.

The 7-foot-4 Edey, though, was too tough to stop early in the game.

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “He’s very effective, especially if he’s 8 feet and in.”

With size and skills such as a hook shot, the junior center from Toronto scored Purdue’s first seven points and finished the first half 7 of 12 from the field and 1 of 2 at the line.

“He did a great job in the first half, going to his right shoulder and using his left hand,” Painter said. “He made four baskets with his left hand which is huge.”

Freshman Braden Smith had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s defense ultimately denied Michigan’s comeback hopes, holding a 22nd straight opponent to 70 or fewer points.

Hunter Dickinson scored 21, Kobe Bufkin had 16 points and Baker added 11 points for the Wolverines, who have lost four of their last six games.

Dickinson, a 7-1 center, matched up with Edey defensively and pulled him out of the lane offensively by making 3 of 7 3-pointers.

“Half his shots were from the 3, and that’s a little different,” Painter said. “His meat and potatoes are on that block. He’s the real deal.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers got the top spot in the AP Top 25 this week after winning six games, a stretch that followed a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3 that dropped them from No. 1 in the poll. Purdue improved to 7-2 as the top-ranked team.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edey can’t beat teams by himself and he’s surrounded by a lot of role players and a potential standout in Loyer. The 6-4 guard was the Big Ten player of the week earlier this month, become the first Boilermaker freshman to win the award since Robbie Hummel in 2008.

“Fletcher is somebody who has played better in the second half, and on the road,” Painter said.

Michigan: Jett Howard’s health is a critical factor for the Wolverines, who will have some work to do over the second half of the Big Ten season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Howard averages 14.6 points and is the most dynamic player on his father’s team.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Boilermakers were away from home for 12 of 23 days, winning all five of their road games. They won at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan for the first time since the 1997-98 season and beat the Spartans and Wolverines on their home court in the same season for the first time in 12 years.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Hosts Michigan State on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the Boilermakers beat the Spartans by a point on Edey’s shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Michigan: Plays at Penn State on Sunday.

Miller scores 23, No. 10 Maryland tops No. 13 Michigan 72-64

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Diamond Miller scored 23 points, and No. 10 Maryland closed the first quarter with a 13-2 run and led the rest of the way in a 72-64 victory over No. 13 Michigan on Thursday night.

Abby Meyers contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (17-4, 8-2), who won for the 10th time in 11 games. Lavender Briggs scored 14 points and Shyanne Sellers added 13.

Maryland gained a measure of revenge after losing twice to Michigan last season – including a 20-point rout in College Park.

Leigha Brown led the Wolverines with 16 points.

Michigan (16-5, 6-4) led 13-9 in the first quarter before a three-point play by Miller started Maryland’s big run. Briggs and Faith Masonius made 3-pointers during that stretch.

The Terps pushed the lead to 16 in the third quarter before the Wolverines were able to chip away. Miller sat for a bit with four fouls, and Michigan cut the lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines still wasted too many possessions with turnovers to mount much of a comeback.

Michigan ended up with 24 turnovers, and Maryland had a 25-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

Miller fouled out with 2:19 remaining, but even after those two free throws, the Terps led 65-57 and had little trouble holding on.

Michigan lost for the second time in four days against a top-10 opponent. No. 6 Indiana beat the Wolverines 92-83 on Monday.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: Whether it was against Maryland’s press or in their half-court offense, the Wolverines turned the ball over too much to score consistently. This was a lower-scoring game than the loss to Indiana, but the margin ended up being similar.

Maryland: While Miller clearly led the way, the Terps had plenty of offensive contributors. They also held Michigan to 13 points below its season average entering the game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Wolverines have appeared in 48 straight AP polls, and although a two-loss week could certainly drop them, the quality of their opponents could save them from a substantial plunge.

Maryland is tied for 10th with an Iowa team that beat No. 2 Ohio State on Monday night. Now the Terps can boast an impressive victory of their own.

UP NEXT

Michigan: The Wolverines play their third game of the week when they visit Minnesota on Sunday.

Maryland: The Terps host Penn State on Monday night.

 

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.

No. 12 Iowa State holds on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76

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AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes matched his season high with 23 points as No. 12 Iowa State held on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) moved into a three-way tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats and Texas.

Gabe Kalscheur added 19 points for Iowa State. Osun Osunniyi finished with 16.

Markquis Nowell led Kansas State (17-3, 6-2) with 23 points.

A 3-pointer from Holmes gave Iowa State a 59-49 advantage with 8:12 remaining. Kansas State responded with a 10-1 run to trim the margin to 60-59.

Caleb Grill’s 3-pointer steadied the Cyclones and pushed the lead back to 63-59 with five minutes left.

Free throws by Osunniyi, Grill and Holmes sealed the victory in the final 24 seconds.

The first half featured eight lead changes and ended with Kansas State up 33-31.

A 3-pointer by Kalscheur ignited an early 9-0 run for the Cyclones and helped them build a 19-14 lead. Iowa State made just one of nine 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was trying to extend its best start to a season since 1961-62.

Iowa State improved to 11-0 at home. The Cyclones have not lost back-to-back games this season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Florida on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Iowa State travels to Missouri on Saturday.

Georgetown snaps 29-game conference losing streak

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WASHINGTON – Primo Spears scored 21 points and Georgetown snapped a 29-game conference losing streak with an 81-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.

Georgetown (6-15, 1-9) won its first Big East game since March 13, 2021, ending the longest skid in the history of the conference. The Hoyas also ended a 10-game losing streak this season.

Spears also contributed six assists for the Hoyas. Akok Akok scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks and Brandon Murray recorded 12 points.

Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7) in scoring, finishing with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Javan Johnson added 13 points.

Spears scored nine points in the first half and Georgetown went into the break trailing 37-36. Georgetown used a 10-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 75-63 with 1:39 remaining.