Big East play kicked off on Monday night, K.J. Lawson returned to Memphis and Roy Williams matched Dean Smith on the career wins list.
Here is everything you need to know from Monday’s college basketball action.
1. MYLES POWELL IS THE BEST DOUBTFUL PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL
For the second time this season, Kevin Willard publicly said that Myles Powell was doubtful to play in a game only to have Powell show up in the layup lines like:
Powell suffered a scary concussion in a loss at Rutgers two weeks ago and missed Seton Hall’s last two games. He was listed as doubtful by the program before becoming a game-time decision and, eventually, suiting up. He put 27 points on a good Blue Demons team in a 74-66 road win. Back in November, after suffering an ankle injury, Powell was considered doubtful for a game against Michigan State. He started and scored 37 points in a loss.
This is exactly the start that Seton Hall needed to Big East play after a rough non-conference. They are beat up physically, they took four losses playing a brutal schedule and they have yet to really look like the team we all thought could compete for a Big East title and make a run at the Final Four.
But momentum is building. They now have won three in row, which includes a home win over Maryland. Next up? Georgetown on Friday night in Newark.
Elsewhere in the Big East, Collin Gillespie scored 24 points and added five assists as No. 10 Villanova knocked off Xavier for the seventh straight time in Philly. The Wildcats are now 13-2 against Xavier in the seven years they’ve been a part of the Big East.
2. K.J. LAWSON GOT BOOED IN MEMPHIS
Memphis native and former Memphis player K.J. Lawson returned to his hometown for the last time on Monday night, and while he scored 22 points in an 84-73 loss to the No. 9 Tigers, he was also booed by the fans, something that left him in tears while talking about it in the press conference.
KJ Lawson, Ron Hunter and Penny Hardaway on Lawson being booed tonight. Lawson had 22 points in his return home. pic.twitter.com/pi8Qy4ks4N
— Kevin Barbee (@local24kevin) December 31, 2019
I feel for K.J. Getting booed in a city you love, in a building you called home, by fans that chanted your name two years earlier is never going to feel good. And, as far as I know, his beef was always with former head coach Tubby Smith and the way he treated K.J.’s father, Keelon, who was a member of that coaching staff at the time. It wasn’t with the school or the program itself.
Fans are going to be fans, and dumb fans are going to do dumb things. But it does seem particularly cold-blooded to boo a local kid coming home for the last time because of something that happened with his father.
3. ROY WILLIAMS WON HIS 879TH GAME
It wasn’t easy, as the Tar Heels almost blew a double-digit lead at home against Yale, but UNC eventually got a 70-67 win and gave Roy Williams a win that matches his mentor, Dean Smith, on the all-time list.