College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, November 15, 2012
There were blowouts aplenty among Top 25 teams on Thursday night. #1 Indiana improved to 3-0 with a breezy, 99-45, victory over Sam Houston. Louisville, ranked #2, blew past Samford, 80-54.
After trailing 36-28 at the break, #7 Kansas scored 41 in the second half and ripped Chattanooga, 69-55. #6 Villanova humbled Penn State, 72-65, in the Puerto Rico Tip Of, and #13 UCLA - still awaiting word on the eligibility of Shabazz Muhammad - pounded James Madison, 100-70.
But, hidden within the plethora of scores and stats around the college hoops universe, Davon Usher, a 6'5" junior guard, lit it up for 35 points as his Mississippi Valley Delta Devils dropped their third straight - all on the road - in an 81-68 defeat at Northwestern.
Usher hit 12 of 18 shots from the field, including 7-8 three-pointers, adding a fo4-for-4 effort from the line and seven rebounds. He single-handedly kept the Devils in the hunt, hitting a three-point shot to knot the score at 58-all, but the Wildcats pulled away in the final minutes, outscoring MSVU, 23-10, down the stretch.
The South Baltimore native is averaging 22.3 points per game while seeing over 37 minutes of court time.
Usher, who toiled his first two years of eligibility in junior college, at Polk State College in Lakeland, Florida, figures to make the most of his two years in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)
The Delta Devils have an imposing early schedule. They've already visited Mississippi and Cincinnati and will continue their non-conference road trip for six more games - including stops at LSU, Virginia, Virgiia Tech and TCU - before opening SWAC play at Arkansas Pine Bluff.
Last season, the Devils followed a similar route, going 1-11 before reeling off 17 straight wins to capture the conference title and went on to win three games in the conference tournament to qualify for the automatic bid to the NCAAs.
That's where the road ended, with a 59-58 loss to Western Kentucky in the opening round. With Usher now adding to the mix, keep an eye out for the Delta Devils as the season progresses. They are among the favorites to win the SWAC for a return visit to the Big Dance in March.
Norman Powell, UCLA: 10-14, 27 Pts, 3 Rebs, 5 Assists
Darrun Hilliard, Villanova: 7-10, 22 Pts, 3 Rebs
T.J. Warren, NC State: 9-12, 22 Pts, 8 Rebs
Pierre Jackson, Baylor: 10-15, 31 Pts, 2 Rebs, 7 Assists