Scott Phillips

Getty Images

Tuesday’s Things to Know: No. 1 Kentucky upset, Oregon topples Memphis, Gavitt Games continue

3 Comments

One week into the new college basketball season and we’ve already seen the No. 1 team lose in back-to-back weeks.

Last week’s Champions Classic saw No. 1 Michigan State get picked off by No. 2 Kentucky. On Tuesday, the No. 1 Wildcats fell in stunning fashion at home to Evansville.

The shocking Kentucky loss made for an surprisingly busy night in college hoops as Oregon and Memphis also played in Portland in a “neutral” matchup of top-15 teams.

1. No. 1 Kentucky suffers stunning loss to Evansville

Although Tuesday night’s slate of games was supposed to be intriguing it wasn’t supposed to give us this sort of excitement.

Evansville and Walter McCarty went into Rupp and exited with a 67-64 win as the No. 1 Wildcats suffered one of the most stunning early-season upsets in recent memory. The Purple Aces soundly outplayed a team that was favored to win by 25 points. We just never see No. 1 teams lose at home to unranked, mid-major teams.

I break down more on some of Kentucky’s early-season issues. The Wildcats are desperately seeking a consistent go-to player while the interior scoring and perimeter shooting leaves a lot to be desired. Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley were the only consistent Kentucky players on offense on Tuesday.

This loss was a big sign that college basketball doesn’t have a dominant team at this point in the season. Things are wide open.

2. No. 14 Oregon takes down No. 13 Memphis, James Wiseman

The top matchup of Tuesday saw the Ducks take care of the Tigers in Portland. Memphis star freshman James Wiseman is continuing to suit up for Memphis despite the NCAA’s claim of ineligibility.

That didn’t matter to Oregon.

This was a solid overall effort from the Ducks as Payton Pritchard (14 points, six assists) made some clutch plays to lead a balanced offensive effort. Oregon also got Wiseman in first-half foul trouble as they limited him to 14 points and 12 rebounds on only 5-for-8 shooting.

CBT’s Rob Dauster digs deeper into this one. Oregon is once again looking like a balanced team led by one of the nation’s top lead guards in Pritchard. Memphis has many exciting young players to keep tabs on but they are in for an up-and-down season.

3. Home teams win all three Gavitt Games

The Big Ten/Big East Gavitt Games continued Tuesday night with three more games. Following DePaul’s road win over Iowa on Monday, all three home teams won on the second night of the event.

No. 21 Xavier needed overtime to outlast Missouri in the closest game of the three. Michigan took down Creighton to open up the evening while Butler took down Minnesota behind a big game from Kamar Baldwin.

Tuesday’s results pushes the Big East to a 3-1 mark so far through four games as the Gavitt Games continue the next two nights. While Tuesday’s games were mediocre, Wednesday sees Villanova traveling to Ohio State while Thursday features Seton Hall hosting Michigan State.

VIDEO: Okoro’s layup lifts No. 22 Auburn past South Alabama, 70-69

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MOBILE, Ala. — Freshman Isaac Okoro made a layup with 2.9 seconds left to lift No. 22 Auburn to a 70-69 victory over South Alabama on Tuesday night.

Samir Doughty twice rebounded missed 3-pointers for the Tigers (3-0), setting up the game-winning shot. Okoro hit the shot while falling down in the lane and drew a foul. He missed the free throw, but it didn’t matter.

Andre Fox hit back-to-back 3-pointers in between an Okoro basket to give South Alabama a 69-68 lead with 28 seconds left. That capped a 22-8 South Alabama run.

Okoro had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists for Auburn. Jamal Johnson scored 14 and made 4 of 5 3-pointers. Anfernee McLemore also had 14 points while Doughty had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Fox led the Jaguars (2-1) with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He also had 10 rebounds. Josh Ajayi scored 15.

The game was played in front of the largest crowd in Mitchell Center history, 10,068.

BIG PICTURE

Auburn: Okoro, The Tigers made 10 of 24 3-pointers but were just 12 of 22 from the free throw line. Still searching for a consistent lineup to replace stars Jared Harper, Bryce Brown and China Okeke off last year’s Final Four team.

South Alabama: Trailed by 10 points with four minutes left. Fox scored 11 of the Jaguars’ final 13 points. Lost by 40 to Auburn last season.

UP NEXT

Auburn hosts Cal State, Northridge Friday night.

South Alabama visits Chattanooga Friday night.

Stewart leads No. 20 Washington past Mount St. Mary’s 56-46

Getty Images
Leave a comment

SEATTLE — Isaiah Stewart scored 16 points and blocked five shots, Nahziah Carter scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, and No. 20 Washington overcame an awful first half offensively to pull away for a 56-46 win over Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday night.

Days after opening the season with an upset of then-No. 16 Baylor, the Huskies looked sluggish and at times lost at the offensive end of the floor, but they found enough scoring in the second half to shake the pesky Mountaineers.

Stewart was again a force on the interior as the freshman made 7 of 10 shots, mostly from close range, and was imposing defensively. Carter ignited a sleepy arena with a fast-break dunk midway through the second half and followed with a 3-pointer from the wing to give Washington a 43-36 lead.

The Mountaineers (1-2) wouldn’t go away, hitting five 3-pointers in the second half as they found gaps in Washington’s zone defense. Vado Morse finished with 10 points. Naim Miller and Damian Chong Qui both added nine points.

Washington had lengthy scoring droughts and struggled to run its offense without Stewart in the post. The offensive woes were an amplified version of what Washington experienced in the opener against Baylor. It took a late 21-5 run to pull off the upset, which at least for one game hid the question of how the Huskies will go about replacing 80% of its scoring from last season.

Defense won’t be the issue with Washington. It will be finding the right scoring options.

For this night, it was Stewart and Carter providing enough punch. Hameir Wright added nine points and seven rebounds.

Tied at 21-all at halftime, Washington jumped to a seven-point lead in the opening moments of the second half, but it was gone in a matter of minutes. Nana Opoku’s rebound and basket caped an eight-point run and gave Mount St. Mary’s a 34-33 lead with less than 12 minutes remaining.

It was the last lead for the Mountaineers, who were outscored 23-12 the rest of the way.

BIG PICTURE

Mount St. Mary’s: The Mountaineers can be proud of their effort in two games this season on the road against power programs. The Mountaineers led Georgetown by 19 points in the second half last week before watching the lead disappear late in an 81-68 loss. Mount St. Mary’s easily could have built a substantial first-half lead against Washington if not for its shooting woes. The Mountaineers shot 21.2% in the first half and were 2 of 12 on 3-pointers.

Washington: The Huskies will need to get more out of Jaden McDaniels. The prized freshman was 2 of 9 shooting. He did have nine rebounds and four assists, but also committed five turnovers.

UP NEXT

Mount St. Mary’s: The Mountaineers continue their early-season trip at Lamar on Friday.

Washington: The Huskies will face Tennessee in Toronto on Saturday.

No. 17 Utah State routs Denver

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LOGAN, Utah — Brock Miller scored a career-high 27 points and No. 17 Utah State cruised to a 97-56 victory over Denver on Tuesday night.

Alphonso Anderson added 15 points and Sam Merrill had 14. Justin Bean led the Aggies with 15 rebounds.

The Aggies (3-0) jumped out to an 18-5 lead over the first five minutes. Miller scored Utah State’s first eight points, hitting two 3s and a jumper.

During the opening nine minutes of the game, the Aggies were especially stingy on defense. After David Nzekwesi scored Denver’s first three points of the game on a three-point play, Utah State allowed just four points over the next eight minutes. Over that time, the Aggies went on a 28-4 run. Utah State’s defense forced Denver to 36% shooting from the field and just 13% from beyond the arc. The Aggies also forced six turnovers in the first half.

Utah State’s defense was equally as good after the halftime break, holding Denver to just five points in the first seven minutes of the final half.

Ade Murkey led Denver (1-2) with 14 points.

POLL WATCH: Utah State remained at the No. 17 spot in the Associated Press poll after starting the season 2-0 with an 81-73 win against Montana State to open the season and an 89-34 route against in-state school Weber State. The No. 17 ranking the third-highest AP ranking in school history and the Aggies’ highest ranking since the 1970-71 season.

BIG PICTURE

Utah State: The Aggies improve to 3-0 on the season with another win at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Utah State again played without sophomore center Neemias Queta as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Starting in his place was Kuba Karwowski.

Denver: The Pioneers, coming off of a 74-62 win against WAC school Utah Valley University, fell to 1-2 on the season. Utah State held Denver to season lows in points scored, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

UP NEXT

Utah State: The Aggies continue a seven-game homestand to open the season, taking on North Carolina A&T at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Friday.

Denver: The Pioneers head back home to play Western Colorado on Saturday at the Hamilton Gymnasium.

Petrusev leads No. 8 Gonzaga over North Dakota 97-66

Getty Images
Leave a comment

SPOKANE, Wash. — Filip Petrusev had 19 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots as No. 8 Gonzaga beat North Dakota 97-66 on Tuesday.

Corey Kispert scored 20 points and Anton Watson added 15 for Gonzaga (3-0), which has romped to victory in all three games. Six Bulldogs scored in double figures.

The Zags have won all six meetings with the Fighting Hawks.

Marlon Stewart scored 21 points and Filip Rebraca had 16 points and 13 rebounds for North Dakota (1-1), which took Gonzaga to overtime before losing here in 2017.

No such thriller this time, as Gonzaga held the Fighting Hawks to 34.7% shooting and outrebounded them 53-29.

Gonzaga jumped to a 15-2 lead as North Dakota missed eight of its first nine shots.

Kispert and Admon Gilder each hit 3-pointers as Gonzaga built a 25-9 lead.

North Dakota found its shooting touch and consecutive 3-pointers by Stewart cut Gonzaga’s lead to 30-21.

The Bulldogs replied with a 14-1 run.

Gonzaga led 55-36 at halftime, after holding the Fighting Hawks to 35% shooting and outrebounding them 28-14 in the first.

Gonzaga pushed the lead to 65-40 midway through the second, behind three consecutive baskets by Watson.

BIG PICTURE

North Dakota: Freshman De’Sean Allen-Eikens scored 22 points in a season-opening win over Crown, but was held in check Tuesday. North Dakota has never beaten a ranked team since joining Division I in 2008. North Dakota has 11 returning letter winners, including four who started at least 16 games last season.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs came in shooting 60% from the field, second in the nation. They average 102.5 points per game. They have six freshmen on their roster and one returning starter in Kispert. Gonzaga’s 165 wins in the past five seasons are tops in Division I.

UP NEXT

North Dakota plays at Valparaiso on Sunday.

Gonzaga faces its toughest test of the young season at Texas A&M on Friday.

No. 21 Xavier rallies past Missouri 63-58 in overtime

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CINCINNATI — Xavier had made only two 3-pointers all game, none in the second half. Down by three in the closing seconds, the 21st-ranked Musketeers desperately needed somebody to finally hit from long range.

Naji Marshall swished one from the top of the key , and Xavier was finally on its way.

Marshall’s clutch 3 tied it in regulation, and he made a pair of free throws in overtime Tuesday night as Xavier overcame poor shooting and rallied for a 63-58 victory over Missouri.

The Musketeers (3-0) let a 15-point lead slip away because they couldn’t hit an outside shot, going only 3 of 21 from beyond the arc. Marshall’s 3-pointer — Xavier’s only one in the second half — tied it 51-all with 27.1 seconds left.

When they absolutely had to have a 3, Xavier let its best player shoot away.

“I knew it was going in,” guard Paul Scruggs said. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Missouri (2-1) missed a 3 at the end of regulation and never led in overtime, losing to a ranked team for the seventh time in a row. Dru Smith led the Tigers with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Scruggs hit a pair of baskets in overtime as Xavier built a seven-point lead and held on. Quentin Goodin made three free throws in the final 20 seconds to close it out.

Marshall’s big shot made it possible. He finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and a team-high three assists.

“He’s talented, he’s skilled, he has size, he made the big shot at the end of regulation,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Any time you have a guy with that skill package that you can run your offense through, he’s tough to guard.”

Missouri had a setback in the opening minutes. Top scorer Jeremiah Tilmon picked up two fouls in the first 2:56 and spent the rest of the half on the bench. He finished with six points.

“It was depressing,” said Xavier Pinson, who had nine points.

Xavier led by as many as 15 in a ragged first half. Missouri went eight minutes between field goals and had 13 turnovers, but Xavier couldn’t take full advantage because of its woeful outside shooting. Goodin’s steal and dunk capped an 11-2 spurt that gave Xavier its biggest lead, 27-12.

Tilmon had a layup and Smith scored twice off drives to the basket during a 14-point run that gave Missouri a 38-34 lead, its first since the opening minutes. Xavier went more than seven minutes without scoring while the Tigers rallied .

“That’s what we call a rock fight,” Xavier coach Travis Steele said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, it was going to be ugly at times, but I was really proud of our guys for handling the adversity we went through.”

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: The Tigers’ tough times against ranked teams continue. They haven’t beaten a Top 25 team since Feb. 13, 2018, when they defeated No. 21 Texas A&M 62-58.

Xavier: The Musketeers have struggled to hit 3s — an issue last season as well. They are only 13 of 63 on 3-pointers this season.

“We had some wide-open looks,” Steele said. “We’ll take those shots.”

POINTS TOUGH TO COME BY

Last season, Xavier lost at Missouri 71-56, the Musketeers’ second-fewest points of the season. They managed 51 in regulation Tuesday.

SCRUGGS BACK

Scruggs sat out the previous game with a sprained knee, costing the Musketeers one of their top guards. He started Tuesday, played 40 minutes and scored 12 points.

CARTER IMPRESSES

Xavier transfer forward Jason Carter played 38 minutes and had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

UP NEXT

Missouri hosts Wofford on Monday and Morehead State two days later as part of the 2019 Hall of Fame Classic.

Xavier hosts Missouri State on Friday, completing a four-game homestand to open the season.