Kendrick Perry

College Hoops Week in Review: Julius Randle, Kendrick Perry and Providence

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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kendrick Perry, Youngstown State

Perry led the Penguins to a championship in the Kennesaw State Tournament this weekend, becoming the only team in the country to go 3-0 in the first three days of the season. The wins themselves weren’t overly impressive — Kennesaw State, Florida International and Eastern Kentucky — but Perry’s play was. He averaged 22.0 points, 5.7 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals in the three games, including a 31-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist performance in the championship game against EKU.

They were good, too:

  • Julius Randle, Kentucky: Randle’s college basketball career started in impressive fashion, as he averaged 22.4 points and 14.5 boards while leading Kentucky to a 2-0 start heading into Tuesday’s showdown with Michigan State.
  • Cady Lalanne, UMass: The Minutemen big man went for 27 points, 12 boards and three blocks in an impressive, 13-point win over Boston College on Sunday.
  • Casey Prather, Florida: With the Gators struggling and shorthanded, Prather went for 28 points in Florida’s opener against North Florida, a game the Gators only won by eight points.
  • Trevor Cooney, Syracuse: Cooney struggled to find confidence as a freshman, but he certainly didn’t lack it on Friday night. He finished with 27 points and hit 7-for-8 from three to lead Syracuse to a win over Cornell after trailing by 14 in the first half.
  • Dylon Cormier, Loyola (MD): Cormier led the Greyhounds to a 2-0 week by averaging 32.5 points, 8.5 boards and 3.0 blocks in wins over Binghamton and Cornell.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Providence Friars

Providence entered their season opener against Boston College short-handed, as Kris Dunn continues to battle the shoulder injuries that slowed him last season and Brandon Austin has managed to get himself suspended from the team already. But that didn’t matter, as Ed Cooley’s club knocked off a better-than-you-think Eagles club in overtime on Friday night. Bryce Cotton led the way with 28 points, six boards and four assists.

They were good, too:

  • UConn: The Huskies nearly blew a 17-point second half lead to Maryland, but ended up pulling out a 78-77 win at the Barclays Center on Friday night. Shabazz Napier led the way with 18 points, seven boards and seven assists.
  • Wisconsin: The Badgers put together an impressive win over St. John’s on Friday, jumping out to an 18-point first half lead, never allowing the Johnnies to get back within four points. Five Badgers finished in double figures, but it was seldom-used big man Duje Dukan’s 15 points off the bench that were most notable.
  • Oregon: Playing without Dominic Artis or Ben Carter, the Ducks picked up a key non-conference win against Georgetown on Friday, surviving despite watching their depleted front line get dominated by Josh Smith.
  • Northern Colorado: Credit where credit is due: UNC was the first team to knock off a high-major program when they went into Manhattan and knocked off Kansas State.
  • Nebraska: It was the first game of the season and it came against a team that finished second in the Atlantic Sun last season while losing their head coach and leading scorer, but the Cornhuskers’ blowout win over Florida-Gulf Coast was impressive. Not because of the final score, but because Nebraska actually looked like a basketball team that will be able to compete in the Big Ten. That conference is going to be really, really balanced this season.

Youngstown State silences Georgia on the road

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In the early going of a long night of college basketball, Youngstown State delivers the first surprise of the night.

The Penguins (I still love the mascot) beat Georgia in Athens in the Progressive Legends Classic, 68-56. The loss is the first for the Bulldogs this season.

While Youngstown State was billed as a much-improved team in the Horizon League, I don’t think anyone thought this would be the case. Georgia never led and only scored 14 points in the first half (YSU led 25-14 at halftime).

While every team has their struggles in the early season, the biggest problem was probably that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the lone Bulldog in double-figures in points — and it wasn’t even close — with 27, making 10 of the team’s 17 field goals, including five of their six threes. Tim Dixon and Marcus Thornton had eight each for Georgia.

Kendrick Perry, a front-runner for Horizon League Player of the Year, led the Penguins (seriously though, isn’t that animal just awesome for a mascot?) with 23 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals. He was also 10-for-11 from the free throw line as well.

In yet another stupid rule that needs to be changed, however, Youngstown State won’t get a berth in the tournament semifinals in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, because the last four teams that make it are predetermined. What a waste, because I think Perry could hang with the big boys.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.