Kahlil Felder

Associated Press

Gill leads No. 5 Virginia to 71-58 victory over Oakland

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Mike Tobey showed again what a jolt of confidence can do for his productivity, just in time for Atlantic Coast Conference play.

The 7-foot senior scored 16 points, more than he had in his last five games combined, and was part of two runs that helped No. 5 Virginia pull away from pesky Oakland for its 10th consecutive victory, 71-58.

It was a far cry from the former starter whose confidence drooped as he tallied two points in three of his last four games, and went scoreless in the fourth while playing just 6 minutes.

“It felt really good. My teammates have been real supportive and just helping me get through the hum of not playing as much as I would like to play, but it felt good to get a good one in tonight,” he said.

Tobey was 7 for 8 from the field and added seven rebounds in 19 minutes.

The Cavaliers open their ACC schedule at home on Saturday against Notre Dame.

Anthony Gill and London Perrantes scored eight points each during a 24-7 run to open the second half that put the Cavaliers in command, and while both are regular scoresheet contributors for Virginia, Tobey has been a sometimes frustrating four-year enigma.

But he started his night with a putback dunk, and then an alley-oop dunk on a pass from Darius Thompson, and was off.

“It was awesome,” Gill said. “We’ve kind of been waiting on it and we know he has it in him. It’s up to him just to go out there and do it. When he’s like that, it’s hard to beat us because we have another big guy down there that can really score the ball or cause other problems.”

Gill led the Cavaliers (11-1) with 17 points, and Malcolm Brogdon had 12.

Kay Felder, the nation’s No. 3 scorer with a 26.6 average, had 30 on 10 for 22 shooting to lead the Golden Grizzlies.

Oakland (8-5) arrived with a reputation as a dangerous team, having won at Washington and then taken No. 1 Michigan State to overtime in a 99-93 loss, but after trailing 29-28 at halftime, the Golden Grizzlies were no match once Virginia got its offense going.

Its defense also forced eight turnovers in the first 8 minutes while allowing just seven points.

“We really wanted to play their game and not play our game,” said Oakland coach Greg Kampe, who is in his 32nd season and whose team likes to get up and down the floor quickly and score quickly. “I thought if we played our game it wouldn’t go well.”

The Golden Grizzlies closed the half on a 7-0 burst to lead 29-28, but as the second half started, the Cavaliers clicked.

Gill scored inside, Perrantes followed a turnover with a 3-pointer and Brogdon followed another turnover with a free throw. A dunk by Gill made it 36-29 before Felder finally hit two free throws for Oakland. Another turnover led to a breakaway dunk for Gill, followed by a 3-pointer from Perrantes, and the Cavaliers built their lead as high as 22 points.

THREE FOR ME:

Virginia scoring leader Malcolm Brogdon has made six baskets in the last two games, all from 3-point range. He’s 6 for 9 from beyond the arc in victories against California and Oakland, but 0 for 13 from 2-point territory.

TIP INS:

Oakland: Max Hooper came into the game having attempted 103 field goals, all 3-pointers. He’d made 46, or 44.7 percent. He tried eight shots at John Paul Jones Arena, all also from beyond the arc, and was Oakland’s second-leading scorer with nine points.

Virginia: Virginia entered play with the nation’s ninth-best scoring defense, allowing 59.2 points per game. The Golden Grizzlies’ 88.4 scoring average was fourth-best in the country. … New Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall got a loud cheers when introduced at halftime. They got louder when he told the crowd, “I only know winning football, and I don’t know what it’s like to be home in the holidays.” Mendenhall led BYU to 11 straight bowl games.

UP NEXT:

Oakland plays Cleveland State at home on Saturday.

Virginia plays Notre Dame at home on Saturday.

Follow Hank on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org

WEEKLY AWARDS: Tyler Ulis shines while Harvard makes a statement

(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky

Tyler Ulis played his best game of the season on Saturday, scoring 21 points and handing out eight assists to lead the Wildcats to a thrilling, 75-73 win over No. 16 Louisville. He scored early to keep Kentucky from getting run out of their own gym. He made the plays and hit the big shots down the stretch to keep Louisville’s come back from coming to fruition. And he switched onto 6-foot-6 Damion Lee to try and slow down the Louisville star when he got hot in the second half.

And the result was the Wildcats landing the kind of confidence-boosting win they needed as we bear down on SEC play.

But perhaps the most important part of Ulis’ Saturday was that he actually knocked down some jumpers. Since he had hyper-extended his elbow earlier this month, he’s been mired in a pretty nasty shooting slump, hitting just 12-for-45 from the floor (26.7 percent) and 6-for-25 from three (24.0 percent) in the last four games. On Saturday, he shot 7-for-12 and hit four threes, including a pair of bombs in the second half that came late in a shot clock and when Louisville had some momentum. When he’s playing like this, he’s the best pure point guard in the country.

THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM

  • Zena Edosomwan, Harvard: Edosomwan averaged 20.3 points, 13.0 boards and 2.7 assists in Harvard’s second-place finish at the Diamond Head Classic. That inclued 25 points and 16 boards against Oklahoma.
  • Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: Hield might have been better than Edosomwan, as he finished the week averaging 28.7 points while shooting 13-for-22 from three for the champs.
  • Kahlil Felder, Oakland: Felder’s Oakland squad couldn’t quite pull the upset on No. 1 Michigan State, but the Grizzlies got 37 points and nine assists out of their diminutive superstar.
  • Georges Niang, Iowa State: Niang scored 24 points and had 10 boards as the Cyclones landed a statement win at Cincinnati. He also notched an assist on the game-winning basket.
  • A.J. Hammons, Purdue: Hammons is starting to assert himself as the dominant low-post presence on this Purdue roster. He had 17 points, 10 boards and seven blocks in the win over Vanderbilt.
  • BENCH: Bryn Forbes (Michigan State), Ben Bentil (Providence)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Harvard Crimson

Harvard made quite the statement on the islands this week, letting the rest of the Ivy League know that they’re going to be in the race for the conference title. Entering the year, it looked like Yale, Princeton and Columbia would be battling it out for the conference title, but the fact that the Crimson lost Siyani Chambers, Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi hasn’t stopped this program. Harvard had a slow start to the year, but this week they landed wins over BYU and Auburn before taking a lead on Oklahoma into the break. That’s what happens when Zena Edosomwan starts playing like he’s Dwight Howard.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Oklahoma Sooners: Three more wins in the Diamond Head Classic, three more outstanding Buddy Hield performances. The Sooners are a legitimate title contender in the Big 12, which may be tougher to win outright than the national title.
  • SMU Mustangs: The Mustangs picked up a pair of wins, including one against a decent Colorado team, as they will remain undefeated heading into AAC play.
  • Iowa State Cyclones: Iowa State made the statement that they needed to make on Tuesday, winning in Cincinnati over a Bearcat team that matched up well with them.
  • DePaul Blue Demons: DePaul has not been great this season, but they didn’t manage to land a quality home win over No. 20 George Washington by 21 points.
  • Milwaukee Panthers: The Panthers now own two road wins against Big Ten competition, knocking off Minnesota at The Barn this week.

SET YOUR DVR

  • No. 6 Xavier at No. 17 Villanova, Thu. 12:00 p.m.
  • No. 10 Providence at No. 9 Butler, Thu. 2:30 p.m.
  • No. 9 Butler at No. 6 Xavier, Sat. 1:00 p.m.
  • No. 23 Baylor at No. 2 Kansas, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
  • No. 11 Iowa State at No. 3 Oklahoma, Sat. 7:00 p.m.

No. 1 Michigan State rallies to top Oakland in overtime without Denzel Valentine

Associated Press
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Playing for the first time without Player of the Year front-runner Denzel Valentine, No. 1 Michigan State rallied in the second half to beat Oakland, 99-93, in overtime at the Palace in Auburn Hills on Tuesday night.

The Spartans (13-0) trailed, 50-37, at the break as they looked like they were in real trouble for much of the game. Senior guard Bryn Forbes stepped up in a major way and scored 32 points while going 7-for-9 from 3-point range to help carry Michigan State.

Oakland (7-4) had a huge first half from junior point guard Kay Felder, as he went for 21 points, seven assists, two steals and zero turnovers, but the Spartans defense did a better job of slowing him down in the second half. Felder, the nation’s second-leading scorer and leader in assists, finished with 37 points and nine assists on the night while going 10-for-23 from the field and 14-for-18 from the free-throw line. After shooting 8-for-14 in the first half, Felder slowed down from the field, but stayed aggressive in getting to the free-throw line frequently. Jalen Hayes added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Sherron Dorsey-Walker added 13 points in the loss for Oakland.

Felder nailed a step-back 3-pointer and the game-tying free throws in the game’s final 30 seconds to help force the overtime.

On the surface, one might think that Michigan State is in trouble without Valentine, since they had so many problems with a Horizon League program, but Oakland head coach Greg Kampe always has his team play a tough non-conference schedule and Felder is a legitimate All-American candidate. Oakland has played Michigan State tough in the past and the Golden Grizzlies — who were 2-9 at the time — only lost by four points to then No. 5 Michigan State only two years ago. Many of Oakland’s players look at the Michigan State game as an opportunity to stick it to the in-state juggernaut that didn’t recruit them.

As for Michigan State, the first-half defense was certainly concerning, but credit the Spartans for having a good gameplan on Felder in the second half and slowing him down enough to make a comeback. The hot first-half perimeter shooting from Oakland was also slowed down as they started 7-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half before finishing 8-for-22 from distance.

It was also encouraging for Michigan State that West Virginia transfer Eron Harris stepped up as he finished with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists. Harris played his best game as a Spartan and if he can step up and provide a scoring lift, that should really help the Michigan State offense not only while Valentine is out, but also when he comes back in a few weeks.

While this is a tough loss for Oakland, they certainly looked like a team that will compete with Valparaiso for the Horizon League crown this season. Felder is a star and he’s surrounded by a decent supporting cast that knows how to play around him. They’ll be a mid-major team to keep track of the rest of the season and Felder is appointment television if you get the chance to see him play again.

WEEKLY AWARDS: Wes Washpun leads UNI, and Ohio State’s big game

(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Wes Washpun, Northern Iowa

For the second time this season, the Panthers have landed a win over a top five team. In November, they beat then-No. 1 North Carolina. On Saturday, they knocked off No. 5 Iowa State. No one in all of college basketball has two wins that are as good as those two wins, and given that the Panthers don’t have any horrid losses on their résumé, this win more or less locks up an at-large bid as long as UNI does the things they’re supposed to do in Missouri Valley play.

The star of the show this weekend was Washpun, who finished with 28 points, 11 assists and seven boards. The scouting report on Iowa State at this point is pretty easy to figure out: they are not great defensively and struggle to contain penetration. Washpun exposed them, and while he was helped by the fact that UNI went 13-for-22 from beyond the arc, it doesn’t change how dominant he was on Saturday.

THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM

  • Brice Johnson, North Carolina: It’s been two games since North Carolina lost Kennedy Meeks to a knee injury and Johnson is doing his best to make sure that the Tar Heels don’t miss him. In wins over Tulane and No. 22 UCLA, Johnson averaged 26.0 points and 9.5 boards while shooting 22-for-29 from the floor.
  • Kahlil Felder, Oakland: Felder had 38 points, nine assists and six boards as the Grizzlies knocked off Washington in Seattle on Saturday. He’s now averaging 25.9 points and 8.9 assists on the season.
  • Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga: The good news: Sabonis played his best game as a collegian in a win over Tennessee on Saturday, finishing with 36 points and 16 boards. The bad news: The Zags needed every one of those points and rebounds in a close win over Tennessee.
  • Cat Barber, N.C. State: The 33 points, seven boards and four assists that Barber had in a win over Missouri on Saturday was his second-best game of the week. He also had 26 points, six boards, five assists and the game-winning, buzzer-beating jumper to beat High Point.
  • Isaiah Taylor, Texas: The 12 points and seven assists that Taylor had in a win over Appalachian State was nice and all, but it was the 26-point, six-assist homecoming performance in which he hid a game-winning floater to beat Stanford in Palo Alto that got Taylor on this list.
  • BENCH: London Perrantes (Virginia), Roosevelt Jones (Butler), Troy Williams (Indiana), Ryan Anderson (Arizona), Stefan Moody (Ole Miss)
Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State was dead in the water this season. They had already lost at home to UT-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. They lost in overtime against Memphis. They fell at UConn by 20 points in a game that wasn’t even that competitive. They’re young, they lack leadership at the point guard spot, they don’t have a go-to scorer or a low-post presence, they don’t defend. Through the season’s first 10 games, Ohio State was 5-5 and, more than anything, proving to the world just how much better D’Angelo Russell made the players around him.

And then on Saturday, at the Barclays Center, Ohio State came out and whipped up on No. 4 Kentucky. They led by 16 points in the second half. Kentucky made a run when Jamal Murray caught fire, but the Buckeyes were able to hold them off, in the process landing the kind of marquee win that can be the difference between the NIT and the right side of the bubble.

Will Thad Matta’s crew be able to get a bid?

It’s way too early to make any kind of declarations like that, but the bottom line is that a young, inexperienced team get themselves a shot of confidence that they desperately needed.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Utah: Utah made a statement on Saturday in New York, as they knocked off No. 7 Duke despite the fact that they spent much of the second half playing without Jakob Poeltl, who was in foul trouble all game long. The Utes have been a bit inconsistent this season — that loss at Wichita State doesn’t look great today — but if this wins shows us anything, it’s that this group is capable of being pretty good.
  • Virginia: The ‘Hoos knocked off No. 12 Villanova in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon in yet another sterling, late-game performance from London Perrantes. This team is not as good defensively as they have been in recent years, but are they actually the most dangerous offensive in college basketball? They may be.
  • Butler: Purdue entered the weekend undefeated, looking like the nation’s best defensive team and a real Big Ten contender, and the Bulldogs beat them in impressive fashion at the Crossroads Classic despite getting an 0-for-12 shooting performance from leading scorer Kellen Dunham.
  • Monmouth: The latest Monmouth victims? Georgetown and Rutgers, who joined UCLA, USC and Notre Dame.
  • Texas A&M: The Aggies beat the brakes off of No. 16 Baylor on Saturday. The final score was 80-61, but at one point, Billy Kennedy’s club was up 62-35. It was a mismatch. A&M might actually be the best team in the SEC as of today. Think about that.
  • Indiana: The most important ten minutes of Indiana’s season came on Saturday as the Hoosiers erased a 16-point deficit against Notre Dame. Indiana beat the Irish with their defense, which is not something that has been said before this season.

SET YOUR DVR

  • No. 19 Louisville at No. 4 Kentucky, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
  • No. 10 Xavier at Wake Forest, Tue. 7:00 p.m.
  • No. 5 Iowa State at No. 23 Cincinnati, Tue. 7:00 p.m.
  • Vanderbilt at No. 9 Purdue, Tue. 8:00 p.m.
  • Cal at No. 8 Virginia, Tue. 9:00 p.m.