College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Kentucky's freshman sensation, John Wall, has gotten an inordinate share of press and frothy praise by NBA scouts who believe he'll be the #1 pick in the draft later this year. s Wall has helped the Wildcats to the Top of the AP poll, ranking #1 for the first time since 2003 with their 19-0 record, that was, until Tuesday night when Kentucky squared off with SEC foe South Carolina Gamecocks at the Colonial Center in Columbia, SC.
Amid all the hype and excitement over Wall and the #1 Wildcats, 5'9" guard Devan Downey was having none of it and he proved his point with 30 points and a 68-62 win, eliminating the last of the undefeated teams in college hoops.
Downey was the ultimate water bug against Kentucky, spinning, whirling, twisting, and leaping past defenders. Though he only shot 31% (9-for-29), he made up for it with impressive defense and by hitting 10 of 11 from the foul line. Easily the shortest player on the court, he managed to grab 5 rebounds to go with his 3 assists, keeping the Wildcats off-balance and in awe most of the night. Downey leads the SEC in scoring at 22.4 points per game.
Helping in the upset effort were 6'8" forward Sam Muldrow, who contested everything in the paint, blocking 5 shots while scoring 9 points with 11 rebounds. Downey's backcourt mate, Brandis Raley-Ross, chipped in with 17 points and 5 boards.
Kentucky's reign as #1 lasted just over one day before they tasted their first loss of the season, though they will retain the #1 ranking through Sunday, and might just stay there, depending on how they fare against Vanderbilt on Saturday and how other teams - #2 Kansas, #3 Villanova and #4 Syracuse - perform during the week.
NOTABLE: The University of Seattle is a fledgling independent playing mostly teams from the Big West, PAC-10 and other independents, and they've done fine, sporting a 9-11 record heading into their Tuesday night game at Washington. Seattle hoped to be competitive against the Huskies, but the wheels fell off completely as the Redhawks committed 45 personal fouls, had six players foul out and sent the Huskies to the charity stripe 61 times, where the Washington players gleefully dropped in 46 freebies en route to a 123-76 thrashing.
Washington built an insurmountable 61-20 lead by the half, and Seattle played the final 1:27 with just four players on the court due to the foul-outs. Quincy Pondexter led 6 Washington players in double figures with a game-high 27 points. Washington shot 56%, to just 30% for Seattle.