It wasn’t a busy Thursday night on the college hoops calendar, but there was enough action to keep you occupied once Derrick Henry made it clear that football wasn’t going to be interesting.
1. CARSEN EDWARDS STRUGGLED AGAIN, BUT MADE WINNING PLAYS
Edwards entered this season as a favorite to win the National Player of the Year award, and while his raw numbers have been pretty impressive — he did enter Thursday night averaging 24.4 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 boards — his efficiency has been down and he’s struggled to find a rhythm in games.
That’s not necessarily a surprise, mind you. Purdue is shuffling a number of pieces into new and bigger roles this season, and that takes some time. But we are approaching a point where we should start asking just how much of a concern this is. The Big Ten is loaded this year, and the Boilermakers are struggling to find out where, exactly, their supporting cast resides.
Here’s the good news: Purdue beat No. 23 Maryland, 62-60, an important home win in a league race where 9-11 could be good enough to get into the tournament. The better news: They won while Edwards went 4-for-15 from the floor, as their star had a pair of assists and forced a critical turnover down the stretch. Performances matter, but at the end of the day, a win is a win is a win, and Edwards got them over the line.
2. NO. 18 IOWA LANDS ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE WIN
As if the Big Ten hadn’t already proven enough.
Iowa shook off a 22-point loss to Michigan State on Thursday night to lay the smack down on in-state rival Iowa State. The final score was 98-84, but the game never really felt in doubt in the second half. Tyler Cook led the way with 26 points and 11 boards, while Isaiah Moss chipped in with 20 of his own.
Worth noting for Iowa State: Lindell Wigginton did not play. He’s been out since the second game of the season with a strained foot.
3. ARIZONA AVOIDS EMBARRASSMENT
The Wildcats trailed by 12 points at halftime against Utah Valley State, but Brandon Randolph scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half — including hitting four threes in the opening four minutes of the half — to erase the deficit and help ensure that the Wildcat would extend their non-conference home-winning streak to 52 games.
Brandon Williams added 15 points, 10 boards and five assists for Sean Miller’s club, who improved to 7-2 on the season. Arizona replaced all five starters off of last year’s team and not much was expected out of the Wildcats this year, but we’re now more than a month into the season, and the only losses to their name are against top ten teams Auburn and Gonzaga.
Edwards’ late flurry leads Purdue past No. 23 Maryland 62-60
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Carsen Edwards scored 20 points and Aaron Wheeler had a season-high 15 on Thursday to help Purdue pull off a 62-60 upset over No. 23 Maryland.
The Boilermakers (6-3, 1-1 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak and avoided going 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2013-14.
Anthony Cowan Jr. finished with 18 points and six assists for the Terrapins (7-2, 1-1). Bruno Fernando had 10 points and 13 rebounds while Darryl Morsell scored 12 points.
The Terrapins had plenty of chances to seize control on the road and even had a shot to win it at the buzzer when Morsell attempted a 3-pointer right in front of the Maryland bench. But Nojel Eastern blocked the shot to seal the victory.
Purdue, playing its third straight ranked opponent on the schedule, finally took advantage of Edwards’ decisive closing flurry to pull ahead after trailing for most of the first 33 minutes.
The Boilermakers charged back quickly from a 34-30 halftime deficit and tied the score when center Mat Haarms and forward Grady Eifert made back-to-back 3s with 14:05 to play.
Neither team could build a lead of more than three until Edwards hit the last of his three 3s to give Purdue a 55-54 edge. He then dumped the ball off to Wheeler for a layup and fed the wide-open Haarms for a dunk that made it 59-54 with 5:18 left.
Maryland never recovered. It turned the ball over three times in the final five minutes and missed a free throw before Cowan made two free throws to get Maryland to 60-59 with 7.2 seconds left.
Edwards answered with two more free throws and Morsell’s potential winner never had a chance.
Maryland: The Terrapins shot 28.6 percent from the field in the second half, finished the game going 1 of 9 from the field and scored only six points in the final 7 1/2 minutes.
Purdue: While the Boilermakers continue to struggle offensively, coach Matt Painter had to like the grit his team showed. And Edwards eventually found a way to lead his teammates to a crucial victory.
Wednesday’s Things to Know: Florida State, Michigan earn big home wins
Wednesday’s college basketball slate was mostly dominated by the ongoing ACC/Big Ten Challenge as road wins turned out to be a big theme of the night. While No. 7 Michigan and No. 15 Florida State made major statements, it was road teams who made the most of the annual non-conference showcase.
1. No. 15 Florida State comes back to beat No. 19 Purdue
The most compelling finish to any game on Wednesday night was Florida State’s back-and-forth win over Purdue in a fun nightcap. The Seminoles had the game-winning bucket from guard Trent Forrest with 5.6 seconds left as they went from up 12 at halftime to being down by two possessions for much of the second half.
This is the kind of comeback win that should give the Seminoles a lot of confidence. On a somewhat weird night where they squandered a lead, Florida State was still able to forge a comeback against a top-25 team playing arguably its best stretch of ball during the season.
The Seminoles had eight different players score at least seven points in this one as they remain one of the most deep and athletic teams in the country. Even if someone doesn’t go bananas for Florida State, they have enough in the rotation to wear you down over the course of 40 minutes.
2. No. 7 Michigan makes a big statement in win over No. 11 North Carolina
Another major statement from Michigan as the Wolverines knocked off another potential Final Four team by double-digits. Even after going down early, the Wolverines quickly rallied to fly by the Tar Heels behind 24 points from freshman Iggy Brazdeikis and 21 points from junior guard Charles Matthews.
We know that Michigan’s defense is going to be nearly elite on most nights. But if Michigan is shooting 11-for-22 from behind the three-point line, they’re going to be nearly impossible to beat this season.
3. Syracuse, Virginia, Rutgers earn important road wins
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge had a lot of road teams picking up wins on Wednesday night. The biggest one of note is Syracuse taking down No. 16 Ohio State to earn an important victory. The Orange dominated most of the second half of this one as I have more takeaways on this game here.
Elsewhere, No. 4 Virginia held off No. 24 Maryland to earn another solid win. Although the Terps put up a valiant effort with a good offensive effort, the Cavaliers earned the win thanks to solid nights from Kyle Guy (18 points) and Ty Jerome (17 points).
And Rutgers quietly picked up one of its biggest wins in years by knocking off Miami for a road win. The Scarlet Knights defense held the Hurricanes to 34 percent shooting as Geo Baker led the way with 16 points. This win is important for Rutgers as they have back-to-back games against ranked Big Ten teams within the next week.
The only home team to win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge besides Michigan on Wednesday was Northwestern. The Wildcats put together a 67-61 win over Georgia Tech.
Guy scores 18 as No. 4 Virginia beats No. 24 Maryland 76-71
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Virginia had blown most of a 17-point lead and appeared in trouble as the sellout crowd at Maryland implored the home team to complete the comeback.
The Cavaliers had been in this situation before, and they knew exactly how to handle it.
Showing the kind of poise befitting the fourth-ranked team in the country, the Cavaliers took good care of the basketball and exhibited cool at the foul line in slipping past the No. 24 Terrapins 76-71 Wednesday night.
Hitting shots from long range and playing its usual stout defense, Virginia (7-0) built a 48-31 lead with 16:29 left. Maryland (6-1) closed to 63-59 before Ty Jerome popped a 3-pointer and Jack Salt added a dunk, and the Cavaliers closed it out by making six free throws in the final 37 seconds.
With a roster that includes several returnees from a team that entered last season’s NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed, the Cavaliers are already battle-tested.
“We do a really good job of never really worrying or wavering from our ways,” said Kyle Guy, who scored 18 points. “So there was never any panic or anything like that. We just knew what we had to do to pull away a little bit more.”
Guy nailed five 3-pointers and the Cavaliers went 10 for 22 beyond the arc. Virginia committed only two turnovers — both offensive fouls — which speaks volumes about the Cavaliers’ ball-handling prowess.
“We lost to a great team tonight that played at a high level,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Only two turnovers against us in this building, shot a great percentage from 3 and made a lot of tough shots.”
De’Andre Hunter scored 15 for Virginia, which improved to 121-35 in nonconference games under coach Tony Bennett. Virginia has won 25 straight in November, dating back to 2015.
Bruno Fernando had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 15 for the Terrapins, whose 35-23 rebounding advantage was offset by 14 turnovers.
“It just comes down to turnovers,” Turgeon lamented.
“We took care of the ball,” Bennett said. “Our ability to only have two turnovers and not give them any loose-ball or live-ball turnovers was a big story line.”
Maryland was, however, the first team this season to break the 60-point barrier against the Cavaliers, no small accomplishment for a team with six freshmen and four sophomores.
“Let’s be real. We’re playing five young guys out of our top eight and we’re going to have some growing pains,” Turgeon said. “We’re going to get better.”
Maryland and Virginia first met in the 1912-13 season and were both members of the ACC before the Terrapins joined the Big Ten in 2014. The Cavaliers trail in the series 107-76 but have won eight of the last nine.
It was Virginia’s second straight victory over a Big Ten team. The Cavaliers defeated Wisconsin last week to win the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Guy scored 15 points and accounted for four of Virginia’s eight 3-pointers in a first half that ended with the Cavaliers up 39-30.
“Kyle was terrific,” Bennett said. “He’s got such a gift when he’s on the move without the ball.”
Maryland made only one less basket than Virginia and held a 19-11 rebounding edge, but the Cavaliers’ 8-for-16 shooting beyond the arc made all the difference.
Also worth noting: Virginia had 11 assists and only one turnover through the first 20 minutes.
Virginia held the lead for 35 of 40 minutes, and never trailed over the final 31 minutes.
“They hit some tough shots at the end but it was enough,” Bennett said of 17-point cushion.
Virginia: The Cavaliers played their usual brand of suffocating defense and added an outside shooting touch to knock off a ranked team and solidify their stature in the top 5.
Maryland: If this game was held later in the season, perhaps the young Terrapins would have fared better. At this point, however, they’re not quite good enough to compete against a talented squad with a tenacious defense.
Virginia plays a Maryland-based team for the fourth time this season, hosting Morgan State on Monday night.
Maryland opens Big Ten play Saturday against Penn State, the last of six straight home games for the Terps. Unbeaten
This season’s crop of lead guards doesn’t have a lot of star power or guaranteed All-Americans.
Most of the top players in college basketball this year reside at other positions. There just aren’t that many impact point guards this season when it comes to the game’s elite players. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of players who won’t make a giant impact.
As you look through this list of college basketball’s top lead guards, you’ll notice that a healthy amount of the group is upperclassmen. That type of experience and leadership usually means that some of these teams could surprise this season thanks to some big games out of the backcourt.
This season’s freshman class also doesn’t add a lot when it comes to impact freshmen lead guards, as most of the top talents in the high school Class of 2018 come from the wing and interior.
So it should be a unique year for lead guards at the college level. This list already includes a lot of decorated players and 1,000-point career scorers. Many of these guys might be underrated, but they can also play.
1. CARSEN EDWARDS, Purdue, Jr.
Get ready for a fun season of Carsen Edwards. The 6-foot-1 junior will be among the nation’s leading scorers this season after Purdue lost the four other starters that played with Edwards last season.
Running with all that talent around him last season, the Boilermakers made the Sweet 16 for the second straight season as Edwards put up 18.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Now that Edwards will need to have even more of an impact on Purdue’s offense, he could put up massive scoring numbers. Expect Edwards to be a high-volume guard who gets tons of shot attempts this season while trying to get his new teammates involved as well.
Not many players in the country will have more resting on their shoulders than Edwards at Purdue. He’s also talented enough to put up 40 points and single-handedly carry an offense for a night. It’ll be fascinating to see how the newcomers step up, and how much Edwards can carry on his own.
2. TYUS BATTLE, Syracuse, Jr.
Battle’s decision to return for his junior season proved to be a pivotal one for the Orange as they become one of the country’s most intriguing teams. Syracuse’s best offensive option by a mile last season, the 6-foot-6 Battle often had to do a lot to score as he put up 19.2 points per game.
Also logging a ridiculous 39 minutes per game last season, Battle almost never left the floor for the Orange. He was counted on to be productive on both ends of the floor at nearly all times. One of the game’s biggest warriors, Battle should also get more help around him this season. The Orange have more perimeter weapons. They get a year older and better. That should contribute to Battle improving his 39 percent field goal percentage.
3. MARKUS HOWARD, Marquette, Jr.
If it weren’t for Trae Young generating so much attention last season then this 5-foot-11 guard might have received more headlines on his own. One of the most exciting perimeter scoring guards in college hoops, Howard had some monster games during his sophomore season.
Teaming with another high-quality shooter in Andrew Rowsey, Howard averaged 20.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game last season. A 40 percent three-point shooter who can get absurdly hot from distance, Howard had two games with 11 three-pointers last season — including a memorable 52-point outing in a road win at Providence.
Defenses are going to focus even more on Howard this season with Rowsey moving on, but the Golden Eagles also have a more complete team filled with complimentary pieces. Howard could be in line for an All-American season if things go right in Milwaukee.
4. SHAMORIE PONDS, St. John’s, Jr.
The 6-foot-1 Ponds is one of the Big East’s elite players, as he put up monster numbers for the Red Storm last season. Putting up 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, Ponds produces the type of all-around numbers that make him a prime Player of the Year candidate.
And it will help Ponds immensely to have more help around him this season. With the addition of Auburn transfer Mustapha Heron, St. John’s has a chance to be one of the best (and most exciting) backcourts in the country this season. That means that Ponds doesn’t have to take so many forced looks. If Ponds shoots more like he did freshman season (37 percent three-point range) than he did sophomore season (25 percent) then he’ll be nearly impossible to defend.
5. TREMONT WATERS, LSU, So.
There might not be a guard who is more fun to watch than this 5-foot-11 sophomore. Breaking LSU’s freshman school assists record while pumping in tons of tough shots, Waters averaged 15.9 points, 6.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game last season. With flashy handles and deep perimeter shooting ability, Waters was made to make highlights as he can single-handedly ignite an offense.
With more tools at his disposal this season, Waters also has a chance to improve his efficiency. LSU’s offense has more legitimate big men this season, which should help Waters improve his 41 percent shooting. The Tigers are young and talented, but they have a shot at a great year if Waters plays as well as everyone believes he can.
6. CASSIUS WINSTON, Michigan State, Jr.
The junior hasn’t received significant attention because of his NBA lottery-pick teammates. That will change this season. Winston is one of the most efficient and talented point guards in the country as he led the Big Ten in assists and three-point percentage last season.
It’s hard to ask for anything better than a point guard that just misses going 50/50/90 with 6.9 assists per game. Now that Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson are gone to the League, Winston should produce more points on his own. The Spartans will need Winston to up his scoring this season, as they haven’t found a capable go-to scorer over the last several seasons.
7. JALEN ADAMS, UConn, Sr.
One of the lone bright spots for the Huskies the past few seasons, the 6-foot-3 Adams has a chance to leave the program on a high note this season. A do-it-all guard who can score or make plays for others, Adams can put up flurries of points with the best of them.
Adams had eight 20-point games in the American last season and also dropped 20-plus on quality teams like Arkansas, Michigan State and Syracuse. While Adams hasn’t had the most desirable of field percentages during his career, he also hasn’t had the most consistent amount of help. If Adams improves efficiency and gets a little more help, then the Huskies could surprise this season.
8. JON ELMORE, Marshall, Sr.
Becoming a national darling during Marshall’s surprising NCAA tournament mini-run last season the 6-foot-3 Elmore put up absurd numbers playing in the Thundering Herd’s high-octane offense. Producing multiple triple-doubles during the season, Elmore put up 22.7 points, 6.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game last season while shooting 43 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.
With the national spotlight more on him this season, Elmore is going to get a lot of attention from opposing defenses. Thankfully for Elmore, high-scoring backcourt running mate C.J. Burks has also returned as they form one of the best perimeter tandems in the country.
9. ANTHONY COWAN, Maryland, Jr.
It’s weird to think that this 6-foot-0 junior might be underrated. That’s also the burden of playing in Melo Trimble’s shadow. But now that Cowan has made a name for himself last season, he has a chance to be a breakout player for an intriguing Maryland team.
At 15.8 points, 5.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game last season, Cowan contributed in every facet of the game. He was also irreplaceable for the Terps. Cowan barely left the floor as he averaged 37 minutes per game. Underrated defensively, Cowan was also named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Team. Playing with a young supporting cast that is talented, but inexperienced, Cowan’s leadership will also be counted on in a major way.
10. MCKINLEY WRIGHT IV, Colorado, So.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of any freshman last season, the 6-foot-0 Wright led the Buffaloes in scoring, assists and steals as they had a winning record. Now with the chance to once again be the leader of a young team, Wright could be in line for a huge sophomore season.
A former Dayton commit who switched to the Buffaloes in the spring, Wright averaged 14.2 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game while also consistently getting in passing lanes. If Wright can improve his assist-to-turnover ratio by limiting turnovers, while also improving his inconsistent perimeter jumper (30 percent three-point shooting) then he has a chance to be an elite player this season.
11. BARRY BROWN, Kansas State, Sr.
Underrated during his career with the Wildcats, the 6-foot-3 Brown is comfortable playing either guard spot and both sides of the ball. With over 1,200 career points, Brown is one of the best guards in college hoops at scoring near the basket. He just has to improve his 31 percent perimeter shooting.
12. CHRIS CLEMONS, Campbell, Sr.
If Edwards doesn’t lead the nation in scoring then this 5-foot-9 guard has a good chance to do so. Clemons has over 2,200 career points as he’s a lightning bolt on the offensive end. Capable of getting in the lane at will, if Clemons improves his assist-to-turnover ratio then he’ll have All-American potential.
13. TY JEROME, Virginia, Jr.
The 6-foot-5 junior still has two more seasons after a promising sophomore season that saw him become one of the ACC’s most complete players. Capable of controlling tempo, scoring and finding others, Jerome is a plus perimeter shooter (37.9 percent three-point range) and one of the college game’s best closers at the line (90 percent).
14. DARIUS GARLAND, Vanderbilt, Fr.
The McDonald’s All-American gives the Commodores plenty of immediate hope. At 6-foot-1, Garland is smaller in stature, but he makes up for it with a ridiculously high skill level. Garland can score with a sweet off-the-dribble jumper while also setting up others.
15. PAYTON PRITCHARD, Oregon, Jr.
Already appearing in a Final Four, this 6-foot-2 floor general has a lot of big-game experience. A deadly three-point shooter, Pritchard averaged 14.5 points, 4.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game last season. Pritchard will be the catalyst behind an intriguing Oregon offense.
16. ASHTON HAGANS, Kentucky, Fr.
Reclassifying late from the Class of 2019 to immediately join the Wildcats, Hagans looks like a potential two-way stud. Potentially Kentucky’s best perimeter defender, Hagans is also capable of helping on or off the ball on offense. Kentucky’s backcourt will be crowded, but Hagans has a defensive ability that could separate him from the pack.
17. TRE JONES, Duke, Fr.
The younger brother of former Duke star Tyus Jones has some big shoes to fill as the team’s starting point guard. Craving stability at lead guard the past few seasons, Jones should be able to capably run an offense while providing leadership, athleticism, and some better defense than his brother.
18. JUSTIN ROBINSON, Virginia Tech, Jr.
The 6-foot-1 senior helped the Hokies make the Big Dance in back-to-back seasons as he now Virginia Tech tries to make a deep tournament run. Robinson averaged 14.0 points, 5.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game — and those numbers went up during ACC play. Robinson is also a lethal perimeter shooter.
19. CODY MARTIN, Nevada, Sr.
Moving to point guard late last season when Lindsey Drew went down with injury, the 6-foot-7 Martin can be counted on to do a bit of everything for the Wolf Pack. Brother Caleb is the go-to scorer, but Cody is reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year while adding plenty of points, steals and rebounds.
20. KAMAR BALDWIN, Butler, Jr.
Wired to score during his first two seasons with the Bulldogs, the 6-foot-1 Baldwin will be asked to do more as a floor leader this season. Capable of being one of the best two-way guards in college hoops, Baldwin must improve his ability to help others while also improving his three-point percentage.
Maryland assistant Matt Brady suspended six games for rules violation
Tuesday evening Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon announced that assistant coach Matt Brady has been suspended for six games after an internal review found that Brady violated an NCAA rule during his time as the team’s director of player personnel last season.
Only assistant coaches are allowed to work with players in a “coaching role,” with Maryland finding in its investigation that there were instances of Brady doing this while serving in what the NCAA defines to be a “non-coaching role.”
“We identified some violations from last season regarding coaching versus non-coaching staff responsibilities and have decided to self-impose a six-game suspension for Matt Brady beginning with tonight’s exhibition,” Turgeon said in a statement released Tuesday according to the Washington Post. “As a staff, we have cooperated fully with our compliance office to ensure this will not happen again.”
Brady, who has prior head coaching experience at Marist and James Madison, was promoted to assistant coach this past offseason.
In addition to Maryland’s 100-67 exhibition victory over Lynn University, Brady will miss the team’s first five regular season games beginning with the November 6 opener against Delaware. Brady is scheduled to return to the sidelines for Maryland’s November 23 game against Marshall.