Deonte Burton

AP Photo/Sam Craft

SATURDAY’S SNACKS: No. 5 UNC makes statement, No. 14 Kentucky falls

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Texas A&M 79, No. 14 Kentucky 77 (OT)

Tyler Davis’ put-back of a Danuel House miss as time expired gave the Aggies the win in College Station. Jalen Jones scored 24 points for the Aggies, who benefitted from a technical foul called on Kentucky’s Isaac Humphries with 9.4 seconds remaining in overtime. While Kentucky may have a beef with that call, there’s another area that proved costly for them Saturday night. Tyler Ulis led the Wildcats with 22 points and 11 assists, and Jamal Murray added 21 points in a losing effort.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 5 North Carolina 96, No. 11 Miami 71: After losing to Duke earlier this week, the Tar Heels took care of business with a convincing home win as six players finished in double-figures. Brice Johnson led North Carolina with 16 points and 15 rebounds as the Tar Heels scored 54 points in the second half.

No. 18 Louisville 71, No. 20 Duke 64: The Blue Devils, playing without the injured Matt Jones, ran out of gas down the stretch as they lost at Louisville. Grayson Allen fouled out after scoring 29 points, but no other Duke player reached double figures with freshman Brandon Ingram (ten turnovers) going through his own struggles. Damion Lee scored 24 points and Deng Adel 12 for the victorious Cardinals.

BUBBLE BANTER: What do Saturday’s results mean for Selection Sunday?

No. 3 Oklahoma 76, No. 10 West Virginia 62: Buddy Hield scored 29 points for the Sooners, who completed a season sweep of the Mountaineers with a win in Morgantown. Oklahoma outscored West Virginia 24-10 over the final 7:49, and just as important as the offense was their play on the boards and on the defensive end of the floor.

No. 22 Indiana 77, No. 17 Purdue 73: Troy Williams scored 19 points and Yogi Ferrell 18 as the Hoosiers moved into first place in the Big Ten. A big key in this game was turnovers, as Purdue committed 13 with Indiana converting those mistakes into 20 points. The Boilermakers were good offensively when they didn’t turn the ball over, shooting nearly 59 percent from the field. However their comeback attempt fell short in Bloomington.

STARRED

Deonte Burton, Iowa State: With Jameel McKay not playing for an unspecified reason, Burton accounted for 23 points and 14 rebounds in the Cyclones’ win over TCU.

Josh Adams, Wyoming: Adams accounted for 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the Cowboys’ 84-66 win at Colorado State.

Michael Carrera, South Carolina: Carrera accounted for 20 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in the Gamecocks’ 73-69 overtime win over Florida.

Kevin Ferguson, Army West Point: Ferguson, who scored the game-winning basket, finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds in the Black Knights’ 80-78 win at Navy.

Patrick McCaw, UNLV: 25 points, 18 rebounds and five assists in the Runnin’ Rebels’ 102-91 overtime win over Nevada.

STRUGGLED

San Diego: The Toreros scored 11 points in the first half of what would become a 91-33 loss at BYU. USD shot 0-for-20 from three. This happened just two days after the Toreros lost to BYU by two points at home.

Brandon Ingram, Duke: Eight points on 3-for-10 shooting and ten turnovers in the Blue Devils’ loss at No. 18 Louisville.

Jevon Carter, West Virginia: Scored four points, shooting 1-for-10 from the field, in the Mountaineers’ 76-62 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma.

OTHER TOP 25 RESULTS

  • No. 1 Villanova maintained its two-game lead in the Big East with a 77-67 win over Butler. Juniors Josh Hart (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Kris Jenkins (20 points) led the way for the Wildcats, who visit No. 8 Xavier Wednesday night.
  • No. 2 Kansas won at Kansas State, beating the Wildcats 72-63. Frank Mason led three Jayhawks in double figures with 16 points.
  • No. 8 Xavier ran past Georgetown for a Big East road win as Edmond Sumner had 22 points.
  • No. 13 Iowa State held off TCU 92-83, with four players scoring 90 of their points. Georges Niang finished with 27 points, with Abdel Nader adding 24, Deonte Burton 23 and Matt Thomas 16.
  • With the Bonnies fighting for a potential at-large bid, St. Bonaventure picked up a huge 79-72 win at No. 15 Dayton. Jaylen Adams had 31 points and Dion Wright had 15 points and eight rebounds.
  • Tyler Dorsey scored 25 points as No. 16 Oregon beat Oregon State 91-81. The Ducks led by 23 at the half as they rebounded from getting swept in the Bay Area last weekend.
  • Marcus Georges-Hunt’s shot with one second remaining gave Georgia Tech a 63-62 win over No. 19 Notre Dame in Atlanta. Georges-Hunt finished with 19 points and seven assists.
  • No. 25 Baylor went to Austin and dominated the action in their 78-64 win over No. 24 Texas. Johnathan Motley shot 12-for-13 on the day, scoring a game-high 24 points.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • South Carolina outlasted Florida in overtime for an SEC win as Michael Carrera had 20 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Vanderbilt had a solid win over Georgia at home to bounce back from the Mississippi State loss. Damian Jones had 15 points and 16 rebounds.
  • South Florida picked up its first conference home win of the season by beating Memphis. Nehemias Morillo led the way with 19 points for the Bulls.
  • Winthrop broke a tie for first-place in the Big South with an 81-80 win over UNC Asheville as Jimmy Gavin had 26 points.
  • Jack Gibbs scored 35 points as Davidson beat Saint Joseph’s 99-93. Isaiah Miles led the Hawks, who are now a game out of first in the Atlantic 10, with 32 points.
  • Pittsburgh completed a season sweep of Syracuse, beating the Orange 66-52 at the Carrier Dome. Jamie Dixon is now 7-2 in his coaching career at the Carrier Dome.
  • Two SEC teams did themselves no favors with regards to the bubble, as Alabama lost at home to Mississippi State and LSU was whipped by 16 at Tennessee.
  • IPFW (11-3) retained its one-game lead in the Summit League with a 94-90 win over Omaha. South Dakota State kept pace with an 87-67 win at Western Illinois.
  • UNCW moved to 13-3 in the CAA with a 59-55 overtime win at Charleston. The Seahawks lead Hofstra (11-4) by a game in the loss column, with the Pride scheduled to visit UNCW next Thursday.
  • Chattanooga’s at-large hopes took a significant hit, as they lost 79-64 at home to UNC Greensboro. RJ White led the Spartans with a game-high 26 points, and Chattanooga shot just 6-for-29 from three.
  • Belmont (12-3) earned at least a share of the OVC regular season title with a 95-86 win over Tennessee Tech (10-4). Evan Bradds led five Bruins in double figures with 21 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds.
  • With star big man Joel Bolomboy playing just seven minutes, Weber State held off Northern Arizona 77-74 in Flagstaff. Jeremy Senglin scored 22 points and Kyndahl Hill 19 for the Wildcats.
  • Washington snapped its four-game losing streak with a 64-53 win over Stanford. Dejounte Murray led the Huskies with 25 points and nine rebounds.
  • Saint Mary’s moved into a tie for first in the WCC with a 63-58 win at Gonzaga. The Gaels swept the season series, and it could be a case where both teams get to the conference tournament needing the auto bid to go dancing.
  • UNLV pulled away from Nevada in overtime, winning 102-91 after Marqueze Coleman (Nevada) and Patrick McCaw (UNLV) traded three-pointers in the final seconds of regulation. McCaw finished with 25 points, 18 rebounds and five assists, and Nevada’s Cameron Oliver racked up 14 points and 21 rebounds.
  • Hawai’i took a two-game lead in the Big West with a 75-71 comeback win at UC Irvine. Aaron Valdes’ three-pointer with 40.1 seconds remaining gave the Rainbow Warriors their first lead of the game, and they’ve swept the season series with the Anteaters.

Cousins comes up big as No. 3 Oklahoma remains undefeated

Associated Press
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While it was tempting for some to look ahead to Monday’s meeting between Oklahoma and Kansas, the third-ranked Sooners had some important business to take care of before going to Lawrence with No. 11 Iowa State in town. And after looking off-balance offensively in the first half the Sooners performed much better in the second half, taking better shots and getting some timely scoring from guard Isaiah Cousins.

Cousins scored all 15 of his points in the second half, including two huge three-pointers down the stretch, to help lead No. 3 Oklahoma to an 87-83 win over the Cyclones. Lon Kruger’s team remains one of three remaining undefeated teams in college basketball, and their game at Kansas should be a matchup of the nation’s two highest-ranked teams.

The difference for Oklahoma was the caliber of perimeter looks they got against the Iowa State defense. In the first half many of those looks were rushed, as Oklahoma played with an impatience they hadn’t shown much of in prior games. Instead of using their dribble penetration and passing to create quality looks the Sooners took the first available shot on many occasions, resulting in their shooting 3-for-16 from three in the first half. That changed in the second half, with Oklahoma calming down and making eight of their 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Oklahoma did leave some points on the board in the form of missed layups but they still averaged nearly 1.4 points per possession in the second half, and they did this with Buddy Hield (22 points) scoring eight points on 2-for-9 shooting.

There were definitely positives for Iowa State to take from the game, including Georges Niang scoring a game-high 29 points and Deonte Burton adding 19 and five rebounds off the bench. Niang’s a Big 12 and national Player of the Year candidate; what he brings to the court is well-known by now. But Burton’s going to be a key player for an Iowa State team that is looking to get by with a seven-man rotation.

Burton scored both inside and out against Oklahoma, and his ability to defend multiple positions makes him a player capable of filling multiple roles for Steve Prohm’s team. That versatility is one way Iowa State can account for their shallow bench, and it will have to be that way if they’re to contend both in the Big 12 and nationally as the season wears on.

For as well as Burton played in the second half Cousins was slightly better, rebounding from a 2-for-11 night in Oklahoma’s win over Harvard Christmas night. Oklahoma’s guards collectively rate among the best in the country, and when one’s struggling the others can step forward. With Hield’s shot being off in the second half Cousins got going, ensuring that the Sooners would make the trip to Kansas without a blemish on their record.

Abdel Nader’s jumper gives No. 11 Iowa State much-needed road win at No. 22 Cincinnati

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Abdel Nader hit a three with 11.0 seconds left and Iowa State survived as the Bearcats got three looks at the rim on the final possessions, escaping Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena with an 81-79 win.

Georges Niang led the way for No. 11 Iowa State with 24 points and 10 boards, his lone assist coming of the final possession, when he broke down No. 22 Cincinnati’s defense and found Nader open in the corner. Monte’ Morris added 16 points and seven assists for the Cyclones, who got a surprise contribution from Deonte Burton off the bench, who finished with 12 points. The Cyclones also got a nice lift from Matt Thomas. He shot just 4-for-14 from the floor, but he finished with nine boards — eight on the defensive end — and four assists.

Perhaps the most impressive part of this win is that it came on a night where Jameel McKay, Iowa State’s lone rotation big man, finished with just five points and three rebounds, all of the offensive end of the floor. He was more or less a non-factor against a team that has one of the toughest and most athletic front lines in college basketball.

This was certainly the kind of confidence-boosting win that Iowa State needed. This is the kind of team that, on paper, they don’t match up all that well with, and the Cyclones went on the road and survived despite blowing a pair of 13-point leads and trailing on their final possession of the game. The Cyclones, their last two times they’ve played high major competition, needed a choke job from Iowa to win at home and lost to Northern Iowa in a game where they mad Wes Washpun look like Russell Westbrook.

There were quite a few people — myself included — that had their doubts about whether or not this Iowa State team can truly contend for a Big 12 title or a Final Four. Winning at Cincinnati isn’t definitive proof that the Cyclones are elite, but it is a nice little reminder that they have some dudes on that roster that can play.

As far as the Bearcats are concerned, they now have lost three of their four marquee non-conference games, the lone win coming over No. 20 George Washington at the Barclays Center. They lost by ten at No. 6 Xavier — no shame in that — and if Roosevelt Jones had missed a tough floater at the buzzer of their loss to Butler and Farad Cobb hits a tough-but-makeable three at the buzzer tonight, we would be looking at the Bearcats very differently right now.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that I’m still buying Cincinnati as an AAC contender despite their last two home losses.