Friday, February 28, 2014

Indiana Upsets Iowa, 93-86, Behind 30 from Will Sheehey

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 27, 2014

It was a night for upsets, Thursday in college hoops.

Unranked Indiana (16-12, 6-9) overturned #20 Iowa, 93-86, in Indiana, getting a career-high 30 points from 6'7" senior forward, Will Sheehey.

Sheehey was just 2-for-7 from beyond the arc, but deadly inside it, hitting 11-of-13 two-pointers to go with four rebounds, three assists and a steal. The Hoosiers, eighth in the Big Ten, aided their post-season cause, but probably are too far removed from even bubble status to be considered for the NCAA tourney. Look for them in the conference tourney and probably the NIT.

Elsewhere, Penn State downed #22 Ohio State, 65-63, Houston toppled #21 Memphis, 77-68, Arkansas needed overtime to stop #17 Kentucky, 71-67, and, Dusquesne, 4-10 in the A-10, dealt #10 St. Louis their first conference loss, 71-64.

The only Top 25 team to record a victory was #7 Louisville, easily handling Temple, 88-66, behind 24 points from Russ Smith.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marcus Paige Leads Tar Heels with 35 in OT Win over Wolfpack

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 26, 2014

T.J. Warren led all scorers with 36 points, but Marcus Paige's 35 was enough for North Carolina to escape NC State with an 85-84 overtime win.

Warren's two free throws with two seconds left in regulation tied the game at 71, and he scored nine points in the extra session, but a missed free throw opened the door for the Tar Hells and Paige walked through it, scoring a layup with four seconds to go for the final, one-point edge.

Paige made a pair of three-pointers in OT and had 10 of North Carolina's 14 points in the extra session on his career-high night, going 11-for-21 overall and 7-for-12 from beyond the arc. The sophomore sensation was 6-for-8 at the foul line, with six rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals.

North Carolina improved to 21-7 and 11-4 in the ACC, while the Wolfpack dropped to 7-8 n conference play and 17-11 overall. While the Tar Heels appear to be a lock for the NCAA tourney, NC State still may have some work to do in order to get a ticket to the big dance.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dorian Finney-Smith Saves #1 Gators at Vandy; Florida Wins 20th Straight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 25, 2014

As so often happens in the world of college hoops, the Florida Gators, just a day after being ranked #1 in the national polls, had to prove it against a determined opponent.

In a close, 57-54, win at Vanderbilt, sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith came off the bench to lead the team with 19 points, hitting a key three-pointer with 33 seconds left to seal the victory. The shot came off a pass from Scottie Wilbiken, who had five assists, and put the Gators up by five.

Vanderbilt scored on a layup with 19 seconds remaining, but the Gator defenders wouldn't allow the Commodores a good shot after Wilbiken missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Smith also had nine rebounds to go with his three treys and overall shooting of 6-for-11. Patrick Young was the only other Gator in double figures, with 12 points. Florida shot just 40% but clinched at least a tie for the SEC title with a 15-0 conference mark.

The win was the 20th consecutive for Florida. At 26-2, their last defeat was on December 2nd, when UConn defeated them at the buzzer, 65-64. The only other Gator loss was at Wisconsin, 59-53, in their second game of the season.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Phil Forte III, Marcus Smart Lead Oklahoma State over TCU

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 24, 2014

Phil Forte III matched his season-high with 23 points and Marcus Smart made five straight three pointers down the stretch as Oklahoma State trounced TCU, 78-54.

Smart finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Forte went 8-for-14 from the field (5-for-10 on threes) with four assists, three rebounds and a pair of steals.

While the Cowboys were taking care of business, the Kansas Jayhawks wrapped up the Big Ten regular season title with an 83-75 win over Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State, regarded as one of the more dangerous teams in the country, may, in fact, not make it to the field for the NCAA tournament due to their 6-9 conference record, even though they are 18-10 overall. The Cowboys could even their conference record by winning their final three games, but those contests are against Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State. After that, Oklahoma State could improve on their resume in the Big 12 tournament. They have some work to do.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Nik Stauskas Scores 21 of 25 in Second Half to Propel Michigan over Michigan State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nik Stauskas scored 21 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, fueling a 16-4 run by #20 Michigan as they went on to defeat #13 Michigan State for the second time this season, 79-70.

Down 36-34 at the half, the Wolverines turned on the jets and overwhelmed the Spartans in the second half, taking over the Big Ten lead in the process with an 11-3 mark. Michigan State fell to 11-4 in conference play, but is still a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament with a 22-6 record.

Stauskas was 9-for-13 from the field and hit three of five from beyond the arc. He added four points from the foul line, plus three rebounds and five assists.

19-7 Michigan took care of the Spartans back on January 25, winning the first-place showdown by an 80-75 margin. Since that win and before Sunday's game, the Wolverines had gone just 2-3, but now have the regular season title lined up, with four games remaining, all against unranked opponents.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

T.J. Warren Lights Up Hokies in 71-64 NC State Victory

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 22, 2014

While all the lights were on at Cameron Indoor Stadium to see #5 Duke outlast #1 Syracuse, the NC State Wolfpack was doing its best to get off the tournament bubble and make themselves a sure pick out of the ACC.

T.J. Warren lit up Virginia Tech for 31 points as the Wolfpack scored an important win on the road, 71-64.

The leading scorer in the ACC, Warren was 12-for-21 from the field, 2-for-6 on threes and 5-for-8 at the stripe, mixing in six boards and four steals at the 17-10 Wolfpack evened their conference record at 7-7.

Warren is tied with BYU's Tyler Haws for fourth nationally in scoring, hoisting up 23.3 points per game. Creighton's Doug McDermott leads the nation at 25.8 per game.

NC State has just four games left on the regular season schedule, with home games against North Carolina, Miami and Boston College. Their road game is at Pitt, leaving them a legitimate shot at reaching the tournament if they can split these games or upset either the Panthers or Tar Heels.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Michigan State Sets Team Mark with 17 3s; Gary Harris Leads with 25 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 20, 2014

Three was the lucky number of the night for the #13 Michigan State Spartans as they cruised past Purdue, 94-79, taking a half-game lead over Michigan in the Big Ten with the win.

The Spartans rained down a school record 17 three-pointers, six of them coming off the hands of Gary Harris, who was 7-for-11 overall and 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, scoring a game-high 25 points, with three rebounds, three assists and three steals.

22-5 Michigan State holds an 11-3 mark in the conference, just ahead of 10-3 Michigan, with just four more games on the regular season slate for the Spartans, including a Sunday showdown at high noon in Ann Arbor with the Wolverines.

Elsewhere, the ACC got a lot more interesting as unranked North Carolina dropped #5 Duke, 74-66. Duke hosts #1 Syracuse on Saturday, at 7:00 pm ET, seeking to avenge their overtime loss at the Carrier Dome earlier in the season. The Orange are coming off their first loss of the season, taken Wednesday at home, when they fell, in OT, to Boston College, 62-59.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fred VanVleet Powers Wichita State to 28-0 Mark; Syracuse Downed by Boston College

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 20, 2014

While #1 Syracuse was being dealt its forst loss of the season by Boston College, 62-59, in overtime, the only other undefeated team, Wichita State, was going about its business in a more orderly fashion, dropping Loyola, 88-74, to get to 28-0 and 15-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Shockers were led - as they often are - by Fred VanVleet, the 5'11" sophomore from Rockford, Illinois, who had a perfect shooting night, going 6-for-6 from the field and 10-for-10 from the foul line.

VanVleet also led the Shockers in rebounds, with eight and assists, dishing six.

Wichita State is currently ranked #3 nationally. #2 Florida also survived a scare, closing out Auburn late, 71-66.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Julius Randle Posts 14th Double-Double as Kentucky Rolls Mississippi

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The argument over who is the best freshman in the country could very well come down to just two players, Duke's Jabari Parker and Kentucky's Julius Randle - though a couple of guys named Wiggens and Ennis, from Kansas and Syracuse, respectively, might beg to differ.

Tuesday night's games features top-notch performances from the two big frosh, as Parker double-doubled with 16 points and 14 rebounds in Duke's 68-51 victory over Georgia Tech, but Randle's game was just a little better, going for 25 and 13 as the Wildcats ripped Ole Miss, 84-70.

Randle was nearly flawless, making six of seven from the field and knocking down 13 of 14 from the foul line. Four of his 13 boards came on the offensive end, a few of those leading directly to scores.

At 6'9" and 250 pounds, Randle is a double-double machine, having reached that statistical level 14 times this season while helping the Wildcats to a 20-6 record and a 10-3 mark in the SEC.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jerrelle Benimon Leads Towson over Delaware in Colonial Action

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 17, 2014

Talk about monster games, that's just what senior forward, Jerrelle Benimon has when the top two teams in the Colonial Athletic Association met Monday night.

Benimon led the Towson Tigers to a 78-63 win over conference-leading Delaware, which entered the game unbeaten in the CAA.

With his 18th double-double of the season, Benimon was familiar with putting up big numbers as he pumped in 25 points and secured 18 rebounds for Towson. He also led his team with five assists as the Tigers inched closer to the conference leader with the victory.

Benimon was 9-for-16 from the field, made good on his only three-point attempt of the night and hit six of 10 free throws.

Towson improved to 9-3 in conference play, though the Fighting Blue Hens of Delaware still lead, at 11-1. Towson avenged an earlier, 83-76, defeat at Delaware and certainly will be heard from again in the conference tournament, the winner getting the automatic invite to the NCAA tourney.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Doug McDermott Matches Season High as Crieghton Pounds Villanova Again

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 16, 2014

Caris LeVert scored a career-high 25 points for Michigan, but Wisconsin's Frank Kaminski had 25 of his own for Wisconsin, along with 11 rebounds, to lead the Badgers to a 75-62 victory at Ann Arbor.

While those efforts were laudable, it was Creighton's brilliant Doug McDermott who had the game of the day, matching his season high with 39 points on 13-for-17 shooting to lead the #18 Bluejays to a 101-80 triumph over visiting #6 Villanova.

McDermott made four of six from three-point range, was 9-for-9 from the foul line, had seven rebounds and an assist. McDermott passed Larry Bird on the all-time college scoring list, taking 13th place. McDermott remains the #2 scorer in the nation, behind Niagara's Antoine Mason.

21-4 Creighton leads the Big East with an 11-2 mark over 10-2 Villanova. The Bluejays handed Villanova another loss earlier in the season, ripping them 96-68 in January.

Perry Ellis Leads Kansas Rout of TCU with 32 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 15, 2014

#7 Kansas bounced back from their 85-82 OT loss at Kansas State earlier in the week, continuing to lead the Big 12 with a 10-2 record after smashing up TCU, 95-65, Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore Perry Ellis scored a career-high 32 points on a night of nearly flawless sharp-shooting. 13-for-15 from the field (2-for-2 on threes) and 4-for-4 at the foul line, Ellis led the onslaught which broke wide open in the second half.

Kansas led by seven at the break, but outscored the Horned Frogs, 48-25 in the second half. Due to their overall size advantage, KU also had a huge, 35-18, rebounding edge, Ellis adding his eight to the total, along with five assists and a pair of steals.

Ellis is the second-leading scorer for the Jayhawks, at 14.5 points per game, behind Andrew Wiggins' 16.1.

The Jayhawks lead 10-3 Texas by a game in the conference.

Around the Top 25, #1 Syracuse defied NC State, getting a late steal and a C.J. Fair layup to win their 25th game without a loss, 56-55, at the Carrier Dome. #3 Florida shook off #14 Kentucky, getting a rare win at Rupp Arena, 69-59. The Gators have won 17 straight.

#8 Duke survived a scare at home to defeat a determined Maryland squad, 69-67. #5 San Diego State continues to steamroll through the Mountain West at 11-1 after defeating Air Force, 64-56.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Adreian Payne Has Double-Double in Michigan State Win over Northwestern

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 13, 2014

Adreian Payne scored 20 points and snagged 14 rebounds, helping #8 Michigan State overwhelm Northwestern, 85-70.

Payne was 6-for-11, made two of three from beyond the arc and was 6-for-8 from the foul line. His 14 rebounds included four on the offensive end, to go with three assists, a steal and a block.

Michigan State improved to 21-4 overall and 10-2 in the Big Ten, where they share the conference lead with Michigan.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tyler Ennis Beats Buzzer, Pitt with 35-Footer, Keeps Syracuse Undefeated

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

He only scored 13 points, and was just 3-for-7 from the field, but Syracuse point guard, Tyler Ennis, made the biggest shot of the college basketball season, draining a 35-footer at the buzzer to keep the orange undefeated with a 58-56 win at Pittsburgh.

In a game that was expected to be tight (Syracuse was actually a two-point underdog), the Panthers lived up to their reputation as a hard-nosed squad that wouldn't back down in the face of Syracuse's 2-3 zone scheme. Though they shot only 36% from the field, the Panthers led most of the game and found themselves ahead by a point after Talib Zanna made a pair of free throws with 4.2 seconds left.

Ennis took the inbounds pass in Pitt's backcourt, dribbled past a couple of defenders and over the half-court line, and, with about 1.5 seconds left, let fly a perfect arching shot that found the bottom of the net.

Ennis, a freshman who has emerged as one of the steadiest point guards in the country, also has a flair for the dramatic, though one could hardly assume that from his quiet, confident demeanor. His numbers in the final five minutes of games are off the charts and Wednesday's shot heard 'round the college hoops world only serves to solidify his growing reputation.

It also kept #1 Syracuse unbeaten at 24-0 with an 11-0 mark in the ACC. The Orange are the only unbeaten team in the nation besides 26-0 Wichita State. The Shockers are 13-0 in the Missouri Valley conference.

Duke-North Carolina Postponed: The game scheduled for 9:00 pm ET, Wednesday night, between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels was cancelled due to the powerful snow storm that swept through the South and Mid-Atlantic. The game has been re-set for February 20, on the North Carolina campus at Chapel Hill.

The distance between campuses is only eight miles, but the roads between Durham and Chapel Hill were largely impassable and dangerous. The re-scheduling sets up a rough stretch for #8 Duke, who will have four games in seven days. They host Maryland on the 15th, play at Georgia Tech on the 18th and host Syracuse on the 22nd.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NC State Tops Wake Forest on T.J. Warren's Career-High 34 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 11, 2014

NC State's T.J. Warren took 26 of his team's 59 shots Tuesday night, but he made 15 of them, propelling the Wolfpack to an 82-67 victory over visiting Wake Forest.

When he wasn't knocking down shots for a career-high 34 points, Warren was swiping the glass clean, snaring 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. His big night included 2-for-3 from three-point range and five offensive boards.

Warren, a 6'8" home-grown sophomore from Durham, NC, leads the Wolfpack in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 23.1 points and 7.4 rebounds. In addition to being the seventh-leading scorer in the country, Warren is the top scorer in the ACC.

The Wolfack improved to 16-8 overall and 6-5 in the conference, though they have no wins against the top ACC teams, already having lost to Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest. Their win over the Demon Deacons was a step in the right direction, but their next game is at #1 Syracuse on Saturday.

NC State reached the NCAA tourney last season, but they were one-and-done, ousted by Temple, 76-72. A winning record in the conference may not be enough to earn a trip to the big dance this season, especially if the Wolfpack can't produce a win over any of the teams above them in the standings.

Top 25 Watch: #5 San Diego State was upset Tuesday night by Wyoming, 68-62; Wichita State trailed by a point at half time, but shook loose from Southern Illinois for their 26th straight win, 76-67, and a perfect, 12-0 mark in the Missouri Valley conference.

Six games involving ranked teams are on the slate for Wednesday, the most attractive in the ACC. At 7:00 pm ET, top-ranked Syracuse invades Pitt, hoping the #25 Panthers won't upset their undefeated season. At 9:00 pm, North Carolina hosts #8 Duke.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Remi Debo, Juwan Staten Lead Mountaineers' 102-77 Rout of #11 Iowa State

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 10, 2014

West Virginia's 102-77 win over #11 Iowa State points up the idea that there's no rest in college hoops, especially in the Big 12, this season.

Following Melvin Ejim's record-setting performance on Saturday, Ejim and his fellow Cyclones traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia and laid an enormous egg, shooting just 37%, while the Mountaineers were bombing away at a 54% rate overall, including 13-for-22 from the three-point line. After scoring 48 and setting a Big 12 scoring record, the big man had just six points, though he did manage 12 rebounds.

The Mountaineers were led by Remi Debo, who nailed six threes and scored 20 points, and Juwan Staten, with 19 points, seven boards and nine assists. Staten was 7-for-15 from the field, while Debo was 6-for-8 from three-point land, 7-for-10 overall, with four rebounds in just 21 minutes before fouling out with 1:49 left to play.

Down, 14-13, in the early going, the Mountaineers went on a 17-2 run to take the lead and never look back, extending to a 52-33 lead at the break. Dibo made a pair of threes to open the second half, but was saddled with foul trouble and forced to sit. When he returned in the latter stages, his three-pointer at 2:29 put West Virginia up by 30. The Mountaineers led by as many as 31 points as coach Bobby Huggins shuffled subs in and out during the second half.

The 102 points was the most scored by West Virginia this season and the most allowed by Iowa State. The result left the Mountaineers at 15-10, 7-5 in the Big 12, dropping Iowa State to 18-5, 6-5 in conference play.

NOTABLE: Iowa State wasn't the only Big 12 member upset on a quiet Monday night. #7 Kansas was dropped in overtime by Kansas State, 85-82.

Monday, February 10, 2014

With 27 Points and 10 Rebounds, Xavier Johnson Leads Colorado Rout of Washington, 91-65

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 9, 2014

Xavier Johnson, a 6'7" sophomore from Los Angeles, pumped in a career-high 27 points for Colorado, leading the Buffaloes to a 91-65 stampede over Washington, Sunday night in Boulder.

Johnson also collected 10 rebounds, giving him his third double-double of the season and second in his last three games.

While the Buffaloes were shooting at a 55% clip, Johnson did his part, going 10-for-14, including a 3-for-3 effort from beyond the arc, and nailed all six of his free throws.

The win was the third straight for Colorado, following a rough, 1-4 stretch in the competitive PAC-12 conference, where they are in third place, at 7-4. Overall, the Buffs are 18-6, and fell out of the Top 25 rankings recently, after a 14-2 start to their season.

Colorado hopes to keep the good times rolling, when they travel to UCLA on Thursday, February 13, though they are a notoriously bad road team, posting a 1-3 mark away from Boulder in conference games this season.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Melvin Ejim Explodes for 48 Points, 18 Rebounds as #17 Iowa State Downs TCU, 84-69

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 8, 2014

There were more than 135 Division I college basketball games on Saturday, but it didn't take long to find the one which contained the best individual player performance.

Melvin Ejim scored more than half of his team's points as the Iowa State Cyclones rocked TCU, 84-69. Ejim, a 6'6" senior from Toronto, poured in a career-high 48 points, setting a Big 12 record for points in a single game, and also notched a career-best in rebounding, with 18.

Going 20-for-24 from the field, 6-for-6 from the foul line, and 2-for-2 from three-point range, Ejim was about as good as one can get in 35 minutes of floor time. His 18 boards included six on the offensive glass, to go with two steals and an assist.

Ejim's big game matched the high-point total for the season. On December 18, Texas Southern's Aaric Murray had 48, matched by Tyler Haws of BYU on January 23.

The Big 12 record was previously held by a pair of Kansas State players. Michael Beasley scored 44 in February 2008, matched by teammate Denis Clemente in January of the following season.

So massive was Ejim's scoring outburst, that it increased his average from 18.3 to 19.8. The number was more than twice his season-high of 22, which he's put up five times this season, including each of the previous two games. Ejim, who has scored in double figures in all 20 games he's played this season, notched his eighth double-double and third in a row.

Ranked 17th nationally, Iowa State improved to 18-4 overall, and 6-4 in the conference.

Elsewhere, on a jam-packed afternoon and evening of college hoops, #4 Wichita State went on the road to top Northern Iowa, 82-73, giving the Shockers their 25th straight win without a loss and a 12-0 mark in the Missouri Valley conference. #7 Cincinnati had their 15-game winning streak rudely snapped at home, falling to SMU, 76-55. The Mustangs shot 54%, while holding the Bearcats to 35%, improving to 19-5 and 8-3 in the American Athletic under head coach Larry Brown.

#17 Iowa upset #10 Michigan, 85-67; Kansas State mauled #15 Texas, 74-57; and, #19 Oklahoma State fell to Texas Tech, 65-61.

#3 Florida, #5 San Diego State, #8 Kansas, #11 Duke, #13 St. Louis and #18 Kentucky were all winners. #24 Memphis knocked off #23 Gonzaga, 60-54.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Doug McDermott Powers Creighton to 78-66 Victory over Seton Hall

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 7, 2014

The two top teams in the Big East were in action Friday night, Villanova and Creghton remaining tied for the conference lead at 9-1 with convincing wins on their respective home courts.

Villanova gave coach Jay Wright his 400th career victory with a 70-53 splattering of Seton Hall, while the Creighton Blue Jays and star forward, Doug McDermott, were pasting DePaul, 78-66.

Wright has 278 wins at Villanova; the rest were earned at Hofstra.

McDermott, the leading candidate for player of the year honors, didn't have his best shooting game, going 9-for-21, but he made up for his misfires by nailing 13 of 14 from the charity stripe en route to a game-high 32 points, well above his 25.3 average. 4-for-6 in the early going, McDermott's teammates picked up the pace after Seton Hall tied the game at 13-all, going on a 13-2 spurt punctuated by a McDermott dunk, midway through the first half, taking control of the game which they led nearly all the way.

The Pirates cut the lead to two points on a couple of occasions in the second half and to one point with under eight minutes to play, but each time, Creighton had answers. With 5:30 left, the Bluejays' lead was four, until McDermott scored nine straight points - seven from the foul line - in just under three minutes, to put the game out of reach.

McDermott reached another milestone during the game, canning his 1,000th field goal during the contest. He is the first Division I player to achieve that mark since Calbert Cheaney did it from 1989 through 1993. According to ESPN, McDermott also passed J.J. Redick for 17th on the all-time Division I scoring list.

McDermott, the nation's second-leading scorer behind Niagara's Antoine Mason (26.0), was also the game's high rebounder, with nine, though the Blue Demons held a 41-31 edge on the boards.

Creighton's complete 19-3 record includes losses to San Diego State, George Washington and Providence. They are ranked #12 in the current AP poll. #6 Villanova sports a 21-2 record, with losses to Syracuse and Creighton. The two Big East powerhouses meet again on February 16 in a game that will likely determine the conference champion.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Cincinnati Wins 15th Straight behind Sean Kilpatrick's 26 Points, 12 Boards

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cincinnati extending their winning streak to 15 straight Thursday night, as Sean Kilpatrick put on a show, leading the Bearcats to a 63-58 victory over visiting Connecticut.

The Bearcats trailed the entire game, until Justin Jackson took a feed inside from Kilpatrick for a 47-46 lead with under eight minutes left in the second half. UConn took a brief one-point lead after that, but Kilpatrick's three-pointer from the wing at 5:19 put Cincinnati up 50-48, and they never trailed or were tied again.

Kilpatrick not only led all scorers with 26 points, but also was the game's most prolific rebounder and assist man, with 12 and six, respectively. The 6'4" senior from Yonkers, NY, was 8-for-15 from the field, hitting five of eight threes and 5-for-7 from the foul line. It was his second double-double of the season. Kilpatrick has scored in double figures in every game but one for the 22-2 Bearcats.

Cincinnati's 11-0 mark in the American conference is good for a 2 1/2 game lead over 8-2 Louisville. Connecticut fell to 5-4 in conference play and 17-5 overall. Cincinnati will be seeking their 16th straight win when they travel to SMU on Saturday, February 8.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Razorbacks Pull Away from Alabama as Freshman Bobby Portis Scores 35

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's February, so it's not too early to start talking about bubble teams for the NCAA tournament, and there may not be a more puffed up squad around than the 14-8 Arkansas Razorbacks, who will have to improve on their conference record, and certainly started the process with a 65-58 win over Alabama, Wednesday night.

Whether or not the Razorbacks make it to the Big Dance is still an open question, but one thing's for certain: 6'10" freshman, Bobby Portis, can ball. Portis, who's gradually been getting more playing time as the season wears on, put up a career-high 35 points against the Crimson Tide invaders, going 14-for-17 from the field, including the Razorbacks' only three-pointer, and was 6-for-6 from the foul line to boot.

While Portis was tearing up Alabama in the paint, he was not slouching on the defensive end, grabbing nine boards and blocking six shots, all while committing just one foul in 31 minutes.

The Razorbacks trailed by two at the break, as Portis scored the final six points of the first half for Arkansas, and took a two-point lead coming out of the break when Portis scored 11 straight to start the second half.

The lead changed hands a couple of times, but Portis gave Arkansas a four-point advantage with under five minutes left and the Tide never got closer than three after that.

The win snapped a two-game Arkansas losing streak, but the Razorbacks are on the verge, having already beaten Kentucky and falling to both Florida and Georgia in overtime games. Arkansas plays at Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Commodores are 5-4 in the SEC.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Longhorns Win 7th Straight as Jonathan Holmes Wrecks TCU with 20 Points, 16 Rebounds

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A pretty well-loaded conference, the Big 12 has a new contender, as the Texas Longhorns improved to 7-2 with a 59-54 win on the road at TCU.

Having shocked the entire conference with their 81-69 thumping of Kansas on Saturday, Texas has a new hero in the form of 6'8" junior forward, Jonathan Holmes, a homebred from San Antonio.

Holmes followed up a 22-point effort against the Jayhawks with a 20-point, 16-rebound performance at TCU, going 5-for-11 from the floor with a pair of three-pointers in four attempts. The big man was 8-for-12 from the line and six of his boards came off the offensive glass.

After opening conference play with consecutive losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the Longhorns have reeled off seven straight victories, a run that includes four straight over ranked opposition - Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor and Kansas.

Currently ranked #15 in the AP poll, Texas remains on the road for their rematch with Kansas State, Saturday afternoon. The 7-2 Longhorns are in second place in the conference, trailing 8-1 Kansas by one game.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Top-Ranked Syracuse Tips Notre Dame on Trevor Cooney's Record 3-Point Outburst

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 3, 2014

On Saturday, Syracuse topped Duke in overtime, keeping their record perfect at 21-0, and, after Arizona lost to Cal, the Orange were unanimously celebrated as the #1 team in the country.

Monday night, the Orange were back to work, hosting Notre Dame, in a quick turnaround at the Carrier Dome. As expected, the Irish slowed down the game, which didn't help Syracuse, evidently suffering somewhat of a letdown after their emotional win over the Blue Devils - all except for three-point specialist, Trevor Cooney, that is.

After a sluggish start and the Orange down, 8-6, Cooney hit four straight threes in the middle of the first half and scored on a short jumper to give Syracuse a boost and a 20-12 lead with six minutes left in the half. His effort gave the team momentum and confidence to play shut down defense in coach Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone. When Cooney hit his fifth trey of the half with six seconds left, the Orange jogged off the court with a 32-18 lead.

The Irish didn't fold in the second half, starting off with an 11-5 run to cut into Syracuse's advantage and eventually cutting the lead to four points with 6:01 remaining. Once more, however, Cooney stepped up to save the day, hitting a pair of threes and making a traditional three-point play within a span of 1:31, boosting Syracuse's lead back to 10.

Notre Dame could get no closer than five after that, and the Ornage hit five free throws down the stretch to seal the 61-55 win, improving to 22-0 and 9-0 in the ACC.

Cooney's career-high 33 points tied a Syracuse record for made threes in a game, shared by Gerry McNamara, Andy Rautins and James Southerland. McNamara, now an assistant coach for the Orange, watched from the bench, obviously thrilled at the success of his long-range protege.

The 6'4" sophomore was 11-for-15 overall, making nine of 12 from three-point land. His 11 field goals were more than the rest of his teammates combined, which went 10-for-32. Cooney added a pair of free throws, two assists, two rebounds and four steals and was the only Orange player in double figures.

Syracuse will get some time off to relish their #1 ranking. They host Clemson next, on Sunday, February 9.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Indiana Drops Michigan as Yogi Ferrell Nails Seven 3-Pointers

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 2, 2014

Indiana has struggled this season in the Big Ten, but they got a huge victory Sunday afternoon, as point guard Yogi Ferrell found his range and helped deliver a stunning, 63-52, victory over visiting #10 Michigan.

Ferrell, a home-grown favorite in Indianapolis, made seven of eight from three-point range en route to scoring 27 points, carrying the Hoosiers to victory. Ferrell was 8-for-10 overall and made four of six at the foul line. He added a pair of rebounds, two assists and a steal as the Hoosiers out-shot Michigan, 54-40% and out-rebounded them, 31-22.

Ferrell was just one of two Indiana players in double figures. Forward Noah Vonleh had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The Hoosiers improved to 4-5 in conference play, while the loss dropped Michigan to 8-1, tying them with Michigan State atop the Big Ten.

Indiana may be able to make some headway in the conference. Their next three opponents are Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Syracuse Will Be #1 on Monday as C.J. Fair, Jeromi Grant Lead Orange Over Duke; Arizona Loses

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 1, 2014

Syracuse will be #1 when the new polls come out on Monday, not only because they are 21-0 after beating the Duke Blue Devils, 91-89, in overtime, Saturday, but also because the Arizona Wildcats, ranked at the top of college hoops for the past eight weeks, suffered their first loss of the season, falling to Cal, 60-58, making them 21-1.

The Syracuse-Duke meeting was a monumental game, so significant that for a while, late Saturday afternoon, a lot of people forgot there was a Super Bowl the next day.

A record 35,446 fans poured into the Carrier Dome to see the two most successful Division I coaches take their teams into head-to-head combat for the first time with Syracuse now a part of the ACC, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski with his 974 wins visiting Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, and his 940 - now 941.

The play on the court did not disappoint. It easily overshadowed the intense hype leading up to the contest between the #2 Orange and the #17 Blue Devils. In fact, 40 minutes wasn't even enough, as Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon hit a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, tied at 78.

In the overtime, with two Duke big men - Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson - having fouled out, the Orange repeatedly went inside to Jerami Grant, scoring Syracuse's first six points on emphatic dunks. Duke countered with the three-ball, as they had the entire game, as Andre Dawkins made two, sandwiching a layup in between, for an 87-84 Duke lead with 1:23 left.

Syracuse would not be denied, however, as Tyler Ennis and Grant combined for six points at the foul line, Ennis hitting four of four, Grant making a pair to go 10-for-10 from the line on the night. Sulaimon made a pair for Duke before Ennis hit his final two with 5.8 seconds left. C.J. Fair, who led all scorers with a career-high 28 points, missed the first of two free throws but made the second, giving Syracuse the two-point edge. Quinn Cook's shot at the buzzer caromed off the backboard as time expired, and jubilation reigned in upstate New York.

Statistically, the numbers defied logic. Syracuse shot 57% for the game, to Duke's 43%, but, Duke took half of its 72 shots from beyond the three-point line, making 15 of them, raining threes to keep them in the game. The Orange out-Duked Duke, getting to the line with amazing frequency - 32 times - and even more amazingly, making 26 of them - 81%. Duke only made 17 trips to the line, making 12.

Syracuse also out-rebounded the Blue Devils, 38-33, and blocked nine shots, to none for Duke, but still only managed a two-point win, and that, in overtime, no less.

Fair went 12-for-20 from the field and 3-for-6 from the line, adding five rebounds. Grant was 7-for-11, 10-for-10 at the line for a career-high 24 points, with 12 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season.

Syracuse improved to 8-0 in the ACC, a game better than second place Virginia, at 7-1, their 21-0 mark the best ever start to a season for a Syracuse team. Duke fell to 6-3 in the conference and 17-5 overall.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Harvard Tops Princeton on Wesley Saunders' 24 Points, 9 Rebounds

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 31, 2014

The Ivy League doesn't get much of the college hoops love, mostly because the conference seldom sends more than one team to the NCAA tourney, and, while this season appears to be consistent with that theme, the one team - Harvard - may be a dangerous one.

Friday night, the Crimson upped their record to 16-3 and 3-0 in the Ivy with an 82-76 victory over their chief rival, the Princeton Tigers.

Leading all scorers was Princeton's T.J. Bray, but his effort was not enough as Harvard's scintillating swingman, 6'5" junior, Wesley Saunders, scored 24 points, to go with nine boards, seven assists, three steals and a blocked shot.

Saunders, who leads the Crimson in scoring at 15.5 points per game, was 9-for-13 from the field and 6-for-7 from the charity stripe in 38 minutes of action.

Harvard took a 36-35 lead into intermission, but were tied by the Tigers at 42-all on a Bray three-pointer, three minutes into the second half. Over the next two minutes, Harvard went on a decisive 8-0 run, and led the rest of the way, eventually pushing their advantage to as many as 13 points. Another Bray three-pointer got Princeton to within four with under a minute to go, but Harvard made seven of eight at the line - Saunders going 4-for-4 - to ice the game.

Harvard has a one-game lead over Columbia, Brown and Yale, all at 2-1, and hosts Penn Saturday night, seeking a 4-0 mark. The three losses by the Crimson have been to UConn, Colorado and Florida Atlantic, but they have some quality wins, including blowouts of TCU and Boston College.

Tommy Amaker, former Duke player and assistant coach, has been head coach of the Crimson since the 08-09 season and the team has responded with improved performances during his tenure. Last season, Amaker guided Harvard into the NCAA tourney, and produced the school's first-ever win at the big dance, defeating New Mexico, 68-62, before falling to Arizona, 74-51.