Monday, December 31, 2012

Jeff Elorriaga Hits 10 Treys, Scores 30, as Boise State Romps

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Top 25 teams were in action on Sunday, but Boise State was, and the Broncos continue to make their case for inclusion in the elite ranks of college hoops.

Boise won their fourth straight, improving to 10-2 on the season, with a monstrous, 105-49, defeat of the visiting Corban Warriors. Obviously, this was a mismatch of mammoth proportions, but Boise State players took advantage of the opportunity to hone their skills prior to conference play in the Mountain West.

One of those players working on specific skills was junior guard, Jeff Elorriaga, who got plenty of open looks from beyond the arc and used the space to practice his long-range bombing.

Making 10 of 16 from three-point range, a school record for made threes, Elorriaga threw down a career high 30 points, scoring all of his points from long range, never even stepping to the foul line and missing his only shot from inside the arc.

Elorriaga, already a specialist from range, improved his three-point percentage to an excellent 45.6 on the season.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tyler Haws Pumps in 42 as BYU tops Virginia Tech, 96-71

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 29, 2012

There's no lack of offensive players in college hoops this season, and on Saturday, two of the best in the business hooked up when Virginia Tech made the trek out West to play BYU.

Hokie guard Erick Green, the leading scorer in the nation (24.4 ppg) was looking to extend his steak of scoring at least 20 points to 13 games, but the Cougars had other ideas, defending the perimeter and denying Green good looks. The result was Green's worst shooting performance of the season, going 4-for-17 and 0-for-5 from three-point range for a season-low 12 points.

Meanwhile, on the offensive end, Tyler Haws was lighting up the Hokies, helping BYU build an insurmountable, 56-31 lead at the break, en route to a decisive, 97-71 victory, their second straight win and 10th in 14 outings.

Haws, a 6'5" sophomore out of Alpine, Utah, was firing at will, nailing 14 of 25 shots, including six of eight from beyond the arc, adding eight of nine from the foul line for a career high 42 points.

Haws leads the Cougars in scoring, averaging 20.9 points per game and has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 games this season.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Phil Pressey Dishes 19 Assists, but Shabazz Muhammad Leads UCLA over Missouri

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 28, 2012

When the UCLA Bruins lost at Georgetown, it was understandable. But, after home losses to Cal Poly and San Diego State, there were those declaring the Bruins' season a bust, and college hoops at Pauley Pavilion a dead issue.

However, five straight wins later, like Mark Twain, reports of the Bruins' death may have been greatly exaggerated.

On Friday night, UCLA hosted the #7 Missouri Tigers and their superlative point guard, Phil Pressey, who lit up the arena with 12 assists in the first half en route to a career-high 19 for the game. Despite Pressey's efforts, though, the Tigers couldn't pull away from the Bruins, the scored knotted at 47 at the break.

The second half was more of the same. More crisp passes from Pressey, more spurts from David and Travis Wear, more scoring by both Pressey and the Bruins' standout freshman, Shabazz Muhammad. Trailing by eight with under five minutes to play, UCLA rallied to tie the game at 88-all and send it into overtime.

In the extra period, it was the Bruins who dictated pace and made plays. Muhammad scored a key three-pointer with 1:01 to play which gave UCLA the lead for good, finally prevailing, 97-94, improving their record to a respectable 10-3.

Muhammad led all scorers with 27 points, tying his career high. Pressey led Missouri with his own career high, 19 points.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Brandon Davies Leads BYU to 84-54 Win over Northern Arizona

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 27, 2012

The holiday-shortened week was witness to another day of sparse collegiate hoops action, with just 11 games nationally and only one involving a Top 25 team, that being #8 Cincinnati, which entered their last home game of the season undefeated, facing the 12-1 New Mexico Lobos, but ended the night with their first loss of the season, a 55-54 defeat.

That leaves just four teams with unblemished records: Duke, Michigan, and Arizona, ranked 1, 2, and 3 respectively, plus unranked Wyoming, hailing from the Mountain West conference.

In Provo, Utah, the BYU Cougars improved to 9-4, pounding visiting Northern Arizona, 84-54, behind 27 points and 10 rebounds from senior forward, Brandon Davies.

At 6'9", Davies dominated the paint, making good on 13 of his 16 shots. Averaging 20.3 points per game, Davies is the #15 scorer in the nation, and his shooting percentage of 56.5 is the best among the top 25 scorers. He also holds the distinction of averaging the fewest minutes of all the leading 20 scorers in the nation, a mere 28.4 per game.

Playing in the West Coast Conference, Davies will probably see more floor time when the Cougars match up against conference powerhouses, Gonzaga, St. Mary's and Santa Clara. The Cougars open conference play at home against Loyola Marymount on January 3.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Solomon Hill Scores 21 as Arizona Remains Undefeated

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 25, 2012

There were no college basketball games played on the US mainland Christmas Day, but eight teams took to the hardwood in Hawaii as the Diamond Head Classic concluded.

#17 San Diego State and #3 Arizona advanced to the finals in a match-up of Top 25 teams, and, for much of the game, it appeared the Wildcats would become the latest unbeaten team to suffer its first loss.

Down by as many as eight points, the Wildcats rallied to a 68-67 victory, preserved by Nick Johnson's swat of an attempted layup by the Aztecs' Chase Tapley as the final seconds ticked away.

Senior forward Soloman Hill led all scorers with a season-high 21 points, making seven of 15 from the field and adding another seven points from the foul line. Hill also grabbed six boards and handed out three assists for the 12-0 Wildcats.

Arizona is one of just five undefeated teams in Division 1. Duke, Michigan, Cincinnati and Wyoming are the others. Soon to be plying their skills against a watered-down PAC-12, the Wildcats are poised to make a serious run to the conference championship and into the NCAA tourney come March.

The Wildcats open conference play with a pair of home games on January 3rd and 5th, facing Utah and Colorado, the two newest members of the expanded conference.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Murphy Holloway Leads Mississippi to 9-2 Record

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dominated in recent years by Kentucky and Florida, the SEC is a conference with plenty of room for improvement through its ranks in college hoops.

One team that may be capable of breaking out from the pack of mediocrity is Mississippi, as the Rebels are coming off a very productive 2011-12 season (24-11) with a 9-2 start in 2012-13, their latest exploit an 85-78 road victory over the San Francisco Dons.

Topping the scoring and rebounding stats was senior forward Murphy Holloway, who dominated the interior, with his sixth double-double of the season - 23 points and 13 boards. His point total equalled his season high; Holloway has scored in double figures in each of Ole Miss' 11 games.

The Rebels are a competitive bunch, their two losses - to Middle Tennessee and Indiana State - were by three and two points, respectively, and both losses occurred on the road.

Mississippi is unranked, but may be able to make the SEC a more interesting conference as the season progresses.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Perfect No More: Syracuse, Illinois, Lobos Fall; Khalif Wyatt's 33 Leads Temple over Orange

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 22, 2012

Upsets were the order of the day on a jam-packed Saturday of college hoops action.

Three previously-unbeaten teams took their first losses of the season as Temple dumped #3 Syracuse, 83-79, South Dakota State took the measure of #16 New Mexico, 70-65, and #12 Missouri took home bragging rights from St. Louis, dropping #10 Illinois, 82-73.

The sudden Saturday turn of fortune leaves just four teams without losses. Top-ranked Duke, #2 Michigan, #11 Cincinnati and unranked Wyoming remain perfect.

In games involving teams from the Sunflower State, both the Jayhawks and Wildcats were successful, as #9 Kansas knocked off #7 Ohio State, 74-66, and unranked Kansas State welcomed visiting #8 Florida with their second loss, 67-61.

Getting the nod for top performance of the day was Temple guard Khalif Wyatt, who tallied a game-high and career-high 33 points in Temple's win at the Carrier Dome over the Orange. The 6'4" senior was 8-for-17 from the field, including two treys, but his perfect skill toeing the line, where he was 15-for-15, provided the difference in denying SU coach Jim Boeheim his 901st career victory.

The Owls were a combined 29-for-36 (81%) from the line, while the Orange struggled, making 19 of 34 (56%).

Wyatt added three rebounds and four assists, helping the Owls reach 9-2, which might just be good enough to get a peek at the top 25 when the new polls are released on Monday.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jack Cooley Leads 12-1 Notre Dame to Easy, 89-67, Win over Niagara

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 21, 2012

When Notre Dame's Jack Cooley finds his groove, the result is usually pretty obvious. Cooley gets a ton of points on easy layups and dunks and hustles down a boatload of rebounds.

Such was the case as an unguardable Cooley took his skills to the paint against Niagara University Friday night, pumping in a game high 24 points to go with 15 boards in an 89-67 Irish win, their tenth straight.

So dominant was Cooley's performance that he only had to be on the court for 25 minutes, going 9-for-12 from the field and 6-for-6 from the foul line. It was Cooley's ninth double-double (which he averages: 15.2, 11.3) in 13 games.

For good measure, the 6'9" forward dished out three assists and blocked a pair of shots as the Irish easily took the measure of the Purple Eagles, taking a 42-34 lead into the break before blowing the game open with 47 second half points.

The 22nd-ranked, 12-1 Fighting Irish haven't ventured off campus yet this season, where they are averaging 76.4 points per game. Their 89 in Friday's contest was the second-highest point total of the season, behind only the 82-65 beating they put on Chicago State back in November.

This is the last game the Irish play before opening their Big East schedule on January 5th, when they host Seton Hall. Their first road game of the season is January 7, when they travel to Cincinnati to play the 11th-ranked, 11-0 Bearcats, currently one of eight undefeated teams in the nation.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mason Plumlee Boosts #1 Blue Devils to 11-0

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 20, 2012

On Monday, the Duke Blue Devils were anointed the top spot in the AP Poll.

On Thursday, they showed why they deserve to be #1, with a routine, 78-54, victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, running their record to 11-0.

Dominating the affairs on the court was senior forward Mason Plumlee, a polished, physical forward who has the look of a certain All-American and a potential player of the year.

Plumlee turned in his usual strong performance with 21 points and 15 boards against the overmatched Phoenix. He was 9-for-14 from the field. Eight of his rebounds came off the offensive glass.

Averaging a double-double (19.3 points, 11.5 rebounds), Plumlee has scored in double figures every game this season while averaging 32.5 minutes. His 64% shooting percentage is in the top 20 nationally, while his rebounding is fifth best in the countryHe has seven double-doubles this season.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sean Kilpatrick Scores 25 as Cincinnati Downs Xavier

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 19, 2012

11th-ranked Cincinnati improved to 11-0 with a 60-45 win over crosstown rival Xavier, and, while the game was of a particularly ugly variety, it was a dramatic improvement over last season's meeting with involved a nasty display of fisticuffs and brawling, multiple ejections and eventual suspensions and a black eye for college hoops in general and the style of ball played in and around Cincinnati in particular.

That style is typified by hard-nosed defense, close defending and a man's game under and often above the rim. Wednesday night's contest had plenty of that, but nothing even approaching a flagrant foul was witnessed as both teams played with dignity without sacrificing toughness.

When it came to toughness, there was none tougher than freshman point guard, Dee Davis, who limped through most of the second half with severe leg cramps, but was largely ineffective.

For the Bearcats, who led almost the entire game, junior guard Sean Kilpatrick was the answer, scoring a game-high 25 points (nearly half of the Bearcat total) with seven rebounds and four steals over 35 minutes of floor time.

While Kilpatrick shot just 37% (10-for-27), his shooting actually boosted the Bearcat average. Cincinnati shot just 33% as a team, making 21 of 64 shots, including 5-for-24 (21%) from three-point range.

The Bearcats weren't exactly lighting it up, but neither were the Musketeers, who were held to 38% shooting, making just two of 13 three-point attempts. Perhaps the best defense of Xavier came from the stripe fifteen feet from the hoop - the foul line - from where the Musketeers could knock home just three of 14 free throws, in a display of foul shooting that would make the likes of Rick Barry turn away in horror.

Kilpatrick, who leads Cincinnati in scoring at 19.7 points per game, has tallied in double figures in all 11 Bearcat wins, and, while the win was ugly, it was still a win, keeping Cincinnati's record perfect at 11-0.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Luke Martinez, Larry Nance Jr., Lead Wyoming to 11-0 Record

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Don't sleep on these Cowboys.

Wyoming, despite their 11-0 record following a Tuesday night win over Denver, 71-61, remains unranked and unloved by pollsters, but the Cowboys have the players and the experience to make some noise in the Mountain West conference, where they share the lead - at 11-0 - with #16 New Mexico.

Out of the same conference, San Diego State and UNLV are also both ranked, #18 and #21, respectively.

Sophomore forward, Larry Nance Jr., son of former NBA star, Larry Nance, is showing that genetics matters, leading the Cowboys - along with senior guard Luke Martinez - to their prefect record with 21 points against the Pioneers.

Nance was 5-for-8 from the field, but converted all 11 of his free throw attempts. Martinez bombed away from the perimeter, scoring a game-high, career-high, 25 points, hitting nine of 12 shots, including 5-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Martinez converted both of his free throws, improving his percentage at the line to 93.1. Nance is hitting foul shots at an 88.4% rate, a stat that usually comes into play during conference play and into the tournament.

As a team, the Cowboys shot a remarkable 65% for the game, making 22 of 34 shots, including 8 of 12 from three-point range.

If you can't stop them and you cant foul them, that's a winning combination.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jim Boeheim Gets 900th Win as James Southerland Leads Syracuse

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 17, 2012

In his 36 years as head basketball coach at Syracuse, Jim Boeheim has had a fair share of easy wins. Monday's victory in the Carrier Dome, Boeheim's 900th - all with the Orange - won't make that list of easy ones.

The Orange rolled out to an early lead, taking a 40-21 edge into intermission on the strength of James Southerland's 3-point shooting, but nearly let the win slip away, as Detroit outscored the Orange by 15 in the second half, cutting the Syracuse lead to just three with 1/2 second left.

Michael Carter-Williams made one of two free throws to increase the lead to four points and the Orange put Boeheim in the record books as just the third coach in division 1 history to record 900 wins with a 72-68 victory.

Southerland led all scorers with 22 points, making seven of 12 from the field, including 5-for-8 from three-point land. Carter-Williams finished with a double-double - 12 points and 10 assists - helping the #3 Orange to a 10-0 record.

Boeheim joins Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bobby Knight (902) as the only members of the 900-win club.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fuquan Edwin, Brandon Mobley, Aaron Cosby Lead Seton Hall to 8-2 Mark

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 16, 2012

Illinois dumped Eastern Kentucky, 66-53, making eight the number of unbeaten teams in the college hoops universe. The Fighting Illini prevailed at home, running their record to 12-0. Brandon Paul dropped in 17 points and snatched nine boards.

Elsewhere, Seton Hall continued preparations for Big East play with a 77-66 victory over North Carolina A&T, improving to 8-2 with the win.

Fuquan Edwin led all scorers with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting, making 5 of 7 from beyond the 3-point line. The 6'6" junior also contributed five boards, four assists and had three steals.

Three Pirates accounted for all but six of Seton Halls points. Along with Edwin, Brandon Mobley pitched in 23 to go with his 13 boards, and Aaron Cosby also set a career mark with 21 points.

Mobley and Cosby are both sophomores.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

#1 Indiana Topped by Butler; Trey Burke Leads Michigan to 11-0 Mark

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 15, 2012

The pollsters seem to have a pretty good feel for which teams are the best in the nation as there were 17 games involving Top 25 teams and all of them except two won. Determining which team deserves to be numero uno is a topic which appears certain to be argued all the way to the Final Four.

Of those 17 Top 25 games, one involved two ranked teams, as the Florida Gators traveled west to tangle with the Arizona Wildcats, and a tangle is was, not decided until Mark Lyons' running floater with seven seconds left finished a furious final minute in which the #8 Wildcats rallied from a six=point deficit to down the #6 Gators, 65-64.

The only other game that came close to matching the intensity of that contest was earlier in the day, at Indiana, where the unranked - but always tenacious - Butler Bulldogs upset #1 Indiana in overtime, 88-86, when 5'11" walk-on, Andrew Barlow, scored on a spinning jumper in the lane with 2.4 seconds left in the extra frame.

Rotnei Clarke, the transferee from Arkansas, scored 19 points and was sensational at both ends of the floor, as was the Bulldogs' Roosevelt Jones, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

The singular performance of the day belonged to #3 Michigan's blue chip point guard, Trey Burke, who teamed with Tim Hardaway Jr. to score 52 of the wolverines' points in an 81-66 victory at West Virginia.

Hardaway tied his season high with 25 points, burying four of eight from three-point range, but Burke topped all scorers with his own season high 27 points, on 12-for-16 shooting with eight assists, six rebounds and three steals, all without committing a single turnover in 38 minutes of floor time.

With the #1 team going down to a narrow defeat, one of the few inactives on the day, #2 Duke, should move up to take over the top spot in Monday's new poll, though Michigan will surely receive a solid number of #1 votes.

The Blue Devils are on an extended break, last seen December 8, ripping apart Temple, 90-67, and won't hit the hardwoods again until December 19, when they host Cornell at Cameron Indoor Arena.

The losses by Florida and Indiana drops the number of undefeated teams down to nine. Along with Duke and Michigan, the unbeaten squads are #4 Syracuse, #8 Arizona, #10 Illinois, #11 Cincinnati, #17 New Mexico and unranked Wyoming and Eastern Kentucky.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anthony Drmic, Boise State End LSU's Unbeaten Streak

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 14, 2012

It's the middle of December, the college hoops season about one month old, so, between cream-puff blowouts, opening tournaments and early season showcase games, there still should be a good number of undefeated teams dotting the hardcourt landscape.

Let's check.

Going into a sparely-populated Friday night (7 games), there were a total of 13 teams that have not suffered a loss.

Going down the AP Top 25 poll, the top five are all perfect. Indiana (9-0), Duke (9-0), Michigan (10-0), Syracuse (8-0) and Florida (7-0). Further down the rankings are #8 Arizona (9-0), #10 Illinois (11-0) and #11 Cincinnati (9-0). Two teams from the Mountain West conference, #17 New Mexico and unranked Wyoming are both 10-0. Eastern Kentucky tops the Ohio Valley East with a 9-0 record.

LSU and Charlotte were unbeaten as of Friday morning, but as darkness fell, so too their unblemished early season marks, as Charlotte was badly damaged by Miami, 77-46, and LSU's trip to Boise State was not very pleasant, as the Broncos pounded the Tigers, 89-70, getting 34 points from sophomore swingman, Anthony Drmic, a highly-touted recruit who played prep ball at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Drmic was 12-for-18 overall, draining six of 10 from three-point range. The Brocos established themselves early, taking a 43-30 lead into the break and cruised to their seventh victory against two losses. Drmic is averaging 14.3 points per contest.

With LSU and Charlotte going down on Friday, the number of unbeaten teams dropped to 11.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Anthony Bennett Leads Youth Movement as UNLV Goes 8-1

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2012

In sharp relief to the sexagenarian rockers on stage the other night at the concert for Sandy Relief, there's a real youth movement on the UNLV basketball team, which reached 8-1 Thursday night with a 91-44 rout of the La Verne Leopards.

Led by Anthony Bennett's 27 points and 14 boards (both game highs and career highs) the Runnin' Rebels led 38-21 at the break, but really broke the game wide open with 53 second half points, outscoring La Verne by 30.

20th-ranked UNLV shot 53% from the field while holding their opponents to 31% and out-rebounding the 49-19.

The Rebels sport six freshman on their roster, including Katin Reinhart, a starting guard, and three sophomores, from which guard Bryce Dejean-Jones is also a starter.

UNLV's only defeat this season was an 83-79 loss to Oregon. The Rebels have an interesting match-up with another youthful squad - North Carolina - during the holiday break. The Rebels travel to Chapel Hill to play the Tar Heels on Saturday, December 29.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Keith Clanton Goes for 30 as UCF Improves to 5-2

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Memphis usually rules the roost in Conference-USA, but, if Keith Clanton and the Central Florida Knights have their way, that will not be the case this season.

The 6'9" senior forward scored a career high 30 points and tallied his fifth double-double in seven games, leading the Knights to a 72-62 win over visiting Bethune-Cookman.

Clanton was an incredible 14-for-15 from the field, all shots taken and all but one falling from inside the three-point are. Less effective from the free throw line, Clanton hit two of four freebies, adding five of his 13 rebounds on the offensive end.

Having scored in double figures in each of UCF's games, Clanton has led the Knights to a 5-2 record in non-conference, early season games, averaging a double-double (17.4 points, 10.9 rebounds).

Last season, the Knights knocked off Memphis, 69-68, in January, but were pounded by the Tigers in late February by 29 points and in the conference tourney by 31. Clanton and his floor mates hope to improve upon those performances.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Matthew Dellavedova Racks Up 31 in St. Mary's 130-67 Rout

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Another mid-week, light schedule in college hopps saw just 18 games across the country, but a few notable wins.

Michigan, ranked #3, topped Binghamton easily, 67-39, and #10 Illinois remained unbeaten at 11-0, slipping by Norfolk State, 64-54. Surprising Minnesota improved to 11-1 with a 64-54 win over North Dakota State. The Badgers are ranked 13t in the most recent AP poll.

Late night, St. Mary's - 7-2 and unranked - poured in 68 second half points to overwhelm the Jackson State Tigers (0-6), 120-67.

Australian Matthew Dellavedova, the wonder from Down Under, led all scorers with 31 points, the second straight game in which he's tallied that number. The 6'4" senior was bombing away from the outside, making six of eight from three-point range, going 9-for-12 overall and 7-for-7 from the foul line, adding six rebounds and seven assists for the Gaels.

Dellavedova, in addition to being one of the best point guards in the country, is one of the best free-throw shooters around. He's missed just three times this season and is stroking it at 93.3%, hitting 40 of 43.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Otto Porter Helps #15 Hoyas to 8-1 Mark with Career High 22

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 10, 2012

#15 Georgetown was the only Top 25 team in action on a very light Monday schedule of just seven games, but the Hoyas did not disappoint, putting 11 players in the scoring column in an 89-53 romp over the Longwood Lancers.

Sophomore sensation, Otto Porter, led the points barrage with a career high 22, adding four rebounds and seven assists to his impressive stat line. Porter went 8-for-11 from the field and made seven of nine free throws n 29 minutes of playing time, the most for any Hoya along with front court mate, junior forward, Nate Lubick.

The Hoyas went 24-9 last season and are off to an 8-1 start with their fifth straight win. Their only setback was an 82-72 loss to Indiana.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Anthony Bennett Scores 25 with 13 Boards to Lead UNLV

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 9, 2012

Anthony Bennett, a 6'6" freshman forward, scored 25 points but his teammate, Quintrell Thomas, retrieved an Anthony Marshall air ball, turned and put it back in with 1.2 seconds left to lead the UNLV Runnin' Rebels to a 76-75 win over 6-2 Cal.

The win was #21 UNLV's seventh, against just one loss. Bennett, who led all scorers, nailed nine of 17 shots from the field, was 7-for-11 from the foul line and ripped down 13 rebounds, three on the offensive end. It was the second double-double of the season for the Canadian-born Bennett, who played at Findlay College Prep prior to enrolling at UNLV.

Bennett has scored in double figures every time out for the Rebels and leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 19.5 points and 8.3 boards per game.

The Rebels blew a seven point half time lead, but hung in and were bailed out by Thomas' quick shot at the end of the game for their second straight road win in as many tries. UNLV's only loss was an 83-79 setback to Oregon on November 23. They've since won five in a row.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Brandon Paul Keeps Fighting Illini Perfect with 35 Points Against Gonzaga

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 8, 2012

With 21 of the top 25 teams in action on Saturday, choosing a single Player of the Day was no easy feat.

There was Cody Zeller of #1 Indiana, who led the Hoosiers to their ninth win without a loss, defeating hopelessly overmatched Central Connecticut State, 100-69.

Zeller, a top early choice for Player of the Year, had one of his best games of the season, scoring 19 points and hauling down the same number of rebounds.

His effort was gargantuan, but so was Russ Smith's game, as #5 Louisville crushed Missouri Kansas City, 99-47. Smith rolled up 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting, including three treys. He also had seven boards, five assists and five steals. Wow!

However, both of those efforts were against inferior opposition by top-ranked teams. For a look at the game of the day, that honor fell to Brandon Paul, the 6'4" senior leader of the 13th-ranked Fighting Illini, who led his squad to their 10th straight win without a loss, handing #10 Gonzaga their first loss of the season (9-1) with a come-from-behind, 85-74, victory.

Paul, who has scored in double figures every game this season, went off for a season-high 35 points on 10-for-16 shooting (5-for-9 on threes), making 10 of 11 from the foul line while adding four rebounds, three assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots, turning the ball over just twice.

A starter since joining the Illini as a freshman, Paul seems to savor big games against big opponents. His career high of 43 points came last season against the Ohio State Buckeyes, leading his team to a 79-75 win in one of the biggest Big Ten upsets of the year.

The Illini had a rough season, though, going 6-12 in the conference and losing their opening round game in the conference tourney to Iowa, costing them any chance at further post-season play, but the Illini have turned things around this season and appear poised to challenge Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State for league leadership.

Paul's superior performance on Saturday, on the road against an unbeaten, ranked foe, was perhaps this season's top single-game effort of the 2012-13 season.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

VCU Backcourt of Troy Daniels and Treveon Graham Dominate ODU

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 7, 2012

An extremely light slate of games graced Friday night, with just 11 contests taking place. After all it is college, and December, so all of those stdents and student athletes were out partying, er... studying for finals, no doubt.

Down at Old Dominion, the Monarchs weren't exactly rulers of their home court, as visiting VCU handed them their seventh straight loss, downing them by an 83-70 final tally.

The Ram back court of senior Troy Daniels and sophomore Treveon Graham teamed for 24 ad 23 points, respectively, with Daniels setting a career high on 8-for-16 shooting, all of his field goals coming from the beyond the three-point line, from where he was 8-for-13.

Graham, who is quickly turning into a big-time scoring threat, having scored in double figures in seven of nine VCU games this season, was 7-for-13 from the field, 8-for-12 from the charity stripe and came up just short of a double-double, with nine boards.

VCU is 6-3, with losses to some solid programs, Duke, Missouri and Wichita State. ODU dropped to 1-8.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Providence Whips Rhode Island on LaDontae Henton's 21 and 17

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Providence Friars are off to a solid start again, winning their seventh game against two losses (by two points to UMass and three points to Penn State) with a 72-57 whipping of visiting Rhode Island.

Sophomore forward, LaDontae Henton, who has scored in double figures in every game this season, racked up his fourth double-double with 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Friars.

Henton couldn't connect from the outside, missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc, but was deadly inside, making nine of 13 shots and going 3-for-3 throm the foul line. The 6'6" Henton wiped the boards clean, grabbing four on the offensive end. He also had four steals as the Friars exploded for 45 second half points after taking a 27-26 lead into the break.

Providence outrebounded the Rams, 41-28 and made 24 of 26 free throws. Only four players scored for the Friars, all in double figures, led by Kadeem Batts' game-high 23.

Providence struggled in the Big East last season, finishing with an overall 15-17 record. They went 11-2 in non-conference play, but were just 4-15 within the conference.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Matthew Dellavedova Leads St. Mary's Past Drake, 88-73, with 31 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for DAY, Month, 2012

When he's on his game, St. Mary's is a winner, and Matthew Dellavedova, the Gaels' senior point guard from Australia, was on it Wednesday night, leading St. Mary's to its sixth win of the season against two losses, ripping Missouri Valley Conference's Drake, 88-73.

Dellavedova led the visiting Gaels to an insurmountable 47-33 lead at the break and continued his superb back court play into the second half, finishing with a game-high 31 points, adding seven assists and five boards. The feisty point guard was 10-for-14 from the field, with four threes on five attempts. He canned seven of eight free throws as the Gaels toed the line 20 times, making 17.

St. Mary's shot 54% for the game, outrebounding the Bulldogs, 38-20. They also distributed the ball well, having 20 assists to just 12 for Drake.

The Gaels, with Dellavedova at the point the last four years, have established a tradition of challenging perennial powerhouse Gonzaga for the top spot in the West Coast conference, and this season seems to be shaping up as more of the same.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Razorbacks Snap 3-Game Skid with 81-78 Win over Oklahoma as Marshawn Powell Pops for 33

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 4, 2012

After three straight losses - at Arizona State, at Wisconsin and home to Syracuse - the Arkansas Razorbacks were reeling at 3-3, but at home, hosting the Oklahoma Sooners where junior forward Marshawn Powell took matters into his own hands, lighting up the Sooners with a career-high 33 points in a turbulent, 81-78 victory.

Powell hit on 11 of 17 of his shots, including four of six from three-point range, canning seven of eight from the foul line. As the Sooners cut into Arkansas' 11-point second half lead, eventually taking the advantage at 78-77, the Razorbacks were again in danger of losing, but BJ Young's runner in the lane put Arkansas ahead for good as Oklahoma failed to score on their final possessions.

Young's late basket culminated a 10-point, eight assist night for the sophomore guard, but it was Powell's sharpshooting that carried the Razorbacks most of the night. He also added six rebounds and five assists in an all-round superior effort, scoring just more than a point per minute in his 32 minutes of floor time.

NOTABLE: Just a few days ago - Saturday, to be exact - the Baylor Bears upset the then 8th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, but on Tuesday night, it was a different bunch of Wildcats - from Northwestern - that turned the tables on the Bears with a 74-70 win on the road.

Baylor's point guard, Pierre Jackson, had his usual double figure game (he's scored in double figures in each of Baylor's eight games this season) with 18 points, but shot just 33%, making 5 of 15 shots as the Northwestern defense scratched and contested every Baylor possession.

While Baylor clicked at just 44%, the Wildcats hit a cool 51% from the field while holding the Bears to just 25% (5-for-20) from the three point line and outrebounding their hosts, 37-24. Northwestern improved to 7-2, dropping the Bears to 5-3.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Jamaal Franklin Has 4th Double-Double as #17 Aztecs Roll to 6-1

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 3, 2012

In very light college basketball action Monday (just 14 Division 1 games), Jamaal Franklin stood above the rest, getting 18 points and 15 rebounds in San Diego State's 74-62 victory over Texas Southern.

The 6'5" junior guard continued his extraordinary level of early-season play for the #17 Aztecs with his fourth double-double in seven games, scoring in double figures every game this season.

Franklin led both teams in scoring and rebounding. San Diego State is 6-1.

Ironically, the only team to have beaten the Aztecs this season, Syracuse, was the only other Top 25 team in action Monday. After a slow start, the #4 Orange overwhelmed the Eastern Michigan Eagles, 84-48, as coach Jim Boeheim emptied the bench and got scoring from nine different players.

The Orange are 6-0.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Carl Hall's Double-Double Leads Wichita State to 8-0 Mark

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, December 2, 2012

As the season progresses, keep an eye on the Missouri Valley conference, one of the best, top-to-bottom, small conferences in the country.

Along with perennially-solid squads from Creighton and Southern Illinois, the Wichita State Shockers add to the competitive flavor.

On Sunday, the Shockers improved to 8-0, bringing the Air Force Falcons down to earth in a 72-69 win.

Led by Carl Hall's 21 points and 10 rebounds, the Shockers won their third road game of the season, which includes a 53-51 win at VCU, the team that knocked them out of the NCAA tournament last season with a 62-59 opening round win.

Hall, a 6'8" JUCO transfer, senior forward who's in his second year at Wichita State notched his fourth double-double of the season on 9-for-10 marksmanship from the field. His 21 points was a career high.

The Shockers were one of last season's most successful teams, going 27-6 overall and 17-2 in the Missouri Valley regular season.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Jamaal Franklin's 28 Points Helps San Diego St. Upend UCLA

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 1, 2012

Not even a month into the college hoops season, a few trends are developing, not the least of which is the relative parity among conferences - the Big East notwithstanding - the value of having upperclassmen and the over-zealousness of the early polling on big-name programs.

In keeping with those themes, Baylor, a squad sporting plenty of upperclassmen - like senior Pierre Jackson - and experience, took down the over-hyped Kentucky Wildcats - called by some a "one-year program" - 64-55. With two losses this week alone, the 4-3, 8th-ranked Wildcats don't deserve a Top 25 ranking, let alone a top ten one. Of their three losses, two were at home (Duke and Baylor). Message: Stay in school.

Xavier (Atlantic-10) defeated the Big Ten's Purdue, 63-57, off 25 points from Semaj Christon, a freshman guard.

In LA, San Diego State upended UCLA, 78-69, as Junior guard, Jamaal Franklin, lit up the Bruins for 28 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the field and seven of eight free throws. Franklin had three treys, seven boards and three assists, getting support from fellow junior, Xavier Thames, who dropped in 19 points for the 5-1 Aztecs, the nation's 23rd-ranked team.

The Bruins, already unranked, fell to 4-3.

As expected, the Big East came out far ahead at the end of the Big East - SEC Challenge. Going into Sunday with a 6-2 edge in games, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati and Providence notched wins, while Mississippi was the sole winner for the SEC, topping Rutgers, 80-67.

The Big East was hardly "challenged," taking the series nine games to three.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

James Southerland Scores 35, Michael Carter-Williams Misses Triple-Double by 1, as Syracuse downs Arkansas

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, November 30, 2012

James Southerland scored a career-high 35 points and SU point guard Michael Carter-Williams nearly had a triple-double as Syracuse defeated Arkansas, 91-82, in Friday's featured game of the Big East - SEC Challenge.

Southerland, the 6'8" senior forward who's averaging 19.2 points per game for the usually-balanced Orange, canning 12 of 17 shots, including an impressive 9-for-13 from three-point land. It was easily Southerland's best game as a collegian, eclipsing his previous high of 22 points, set just about a week ago in a 73-53 Orange win over Princeton.

Carter-Williams added 17 points while hitting the boards for 10 rebounds. The sophomore point guard fell just shy of the triple-double, distributing nine assists, right at his seasonal average of 9.2 per game.

Sixth-ranked Syracuse improved to 5-0 on the season. Unranked Arkansas lost its third straight after starting the season 3-0. The Big East continued to dominate the series, winning all four of Friday's contests. The conferences split four games on Thursday.

The challenge wraps up on Saturday with four more games, highlighted by the match-up of #16 Cincinnati hosting unranked Alabama. Both teams are 6-0. Tip-off is slated for 3:00 pm ET.

Call this one the weirdest game of the season. Georgetown hosted Tennessee as part of the Big East - SEC Challenge, but, as the game wore on, it seemed both teams were challenged... to get the round ball into and through the round rims.

The final score of 37-36, won by Georgetown, tied the Hoyas' lowest point total since 1985. For the Vols, it was their second-lowest scoring output over the same span.

AP writer Joseph White has the full, sad story. Kudos to him or whomever penned the headline, which began with the outstanding descriptor: "Clankfest."