Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blue Devils Win at Wake Forest, 75-70, Behind Mason Plumlee's 32 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eleven of the nation's top 25 teams were in action Wednesday night, with only two ending up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, those being #10 Oregon, a 76-52 loser at Stanford, and #17 Missouri, which, despite 25 points from Phil Pressey, lost at LSU, 73-70. It was the third loss against four wins in the SEC for the Tigers, jeopardizing not only their ranking, but their chances of making a solid showing in the conference.

#5 Duke improved to 18-2, winning on the road at Wake Forest, 75-70, on the strength of Mason Plumlee's career-high 32 points, falling just one rebound short of his 13th double-double of the season. The 6'10" senior hit 12 of 15 shots from the field, eight of 10 from the foul line with nine boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 35 minutes of floor time.

Duke kept pace with Miami, 73-64 winners at Virginia Tech, but continue to trail the ACC leaders by two games. Miami is 7-0. Duke trails in second place, at 5-2, along with Virginia.

NOTABLE: #4 Florida held host South Carolina to 10 first half points in a 75-36 rout, the ninth straight win for the Gators.

Doug McDermott had 29 points as #21 Creighton improved to 19-3 with a 91-77 victory over Missouri State. McDermott is second nationally in scoring, at 23.9 points per game, trailing Virginia Tech's Erick Green (25.5).

Other Top 25 winners were Michigan, Indiana, Kansas State, New Mexico and Cincinnati.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kyle Wiltjer Has 26 as Kentucky Tops Mississippi, 87-74

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A trio of Top 25 teams took it on the chin Tuesday night in a light college hoops schedule.

At Virginia, #18 NC State fell to the Cavaliers, 58-55, and #15 Wichita State lost at home to Indiana State, 68-55, dropping their third game against 19 wins.

The game of the day was in Mississippi, where the 16th-ranked Rebels sought to keep their SEC record pristine, seeking their seventh straight win when Kentucky came calling.

It was not to be, as the Wildcat defensive effort held Ole Miss to 38% shooting, running off late for the 87-74 victory.

The Wildcats scored 50 second half points, led by 6'10" sophomore forward, Kyle Wiltjer, who threw down a career high 26 points, leading all scorers. Wiltjer made 10 of 19 shots, including five of 12 from beyond the arc, adding seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Teammates Nerlens Noel and Archice Goodwin supported with 12 blocked shots and 24 points, respectively.

The result left #4 Florida alone atop the SEC at 6-0, trailed by Mississippi at 6-1 and Kentucky at 5-2. The Wildcats travel to Florida on February 12.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Louisville Ends Three-Game Losing Streak as Dieng Has Double-Double

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 28, 2013

Being ranked number one in the polls does have its downside. Just ask the Louiville Cardinals, who achieved the position two weeks ago before promptly losing three straight games.

Serving as a wake-up call for coach Rick Pitino's troops, the Cardinals finally got back to their usua, winning ways with a 64-61 home win over the Pitt Panthers Monday night.

As games for the Cardinals and Panthers have been of late, it was nip-and-tuck all the way, Louisville desperately holding on for the win.

Junior guard, Russ Smith, was the game's leading scorer with 21 points, but forward Gorgui Dieng was strong on both ends of the floor, scoring 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting while snatching 12 rebounds - his fifth double-double of the season. Dieng had a solid all-around game with four assists and five blocked shots.

Despite the consecutive losses to Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown, the Cardinals still managed to hold onto the #12 spot in the most recent poll. despite being 5-3 in the Big East, two games behind co-leaders, #6 Syracuse and #25 Marquette, both at 6-1.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Miami Routs Florida State; Clemson Improves as Milton Jennings Pumps In 28

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 27, 2013

With seven consecutive wins - six straight over conference opponents - the Miami Hurricanes are threatening to run away with the ACC regular season title, their 6-0 record leaving them 1 1/2 ahead of NC State, their closest pursuer.

The last two games were particularly convincing of just how good the 25th-ranked Hurricanes really are. After a 90-63 trouncing of Duke, Miami pummeled in-state rival, Florida State, 71-47, holding the Seminoles to just 31% from the field.

Miami's low ranking is sure to get a significant boost in the new poll out Monday.

Elsewhere in the ACC, Clemson is seeking to become relevant. The Tigers got a huge effort from senior Milton Jennings, the 6'9" forward scoring a career best 28 points while also wiping the glass clean with 14 rebounds as Clemson defeated Virginia Tech, 77-70.

Jennings was 0-for-3 from beyond the arc, but was 6-for-12 overall and canned 16 of 18 from the stripe to lead all scorers.

The win put the Tigers at 3-4 in the conference (11-8 overall) with hopes of putting together a little winning streak as their upcoming schedule shows successive games against Georgia Tech, Boston College and Virginia.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rotnei Clarke Returns to Lead Butler Past Temple, 83-71

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 26, 2013

Now who's number one?

That question will be answered when the new pol is released on Monday, the most likely candidate being 18-1 Michigan, if they survive a trip to Illinois at 6:00 pm ET Sunday. Right behind them would be Kansas, also sporting an 18-1 record after defeating Oklahoma, 67-54, Saturday.

All this shuffling around is because both #1 Duke and #3 Syracuse suffered losses during the week, the latter losing at Villanova in overtime, 75-71, Saturday afternoon.

Other top 25 teams losing on Saturday were #11 Kansas State, a 73-76 loser at Iowa State, and Louisville, losing their third in a row after being proclaimed #1 a week ago, the latest loss at Georgetown, 53-51.

#12 Wisconsin, #15 New Mexico, and #19 VCU also were taken down in conference games.

One team bouncing back is Butler. After defeating Gonzaga in a thriller last Saturday, the Bulldogs were spent in a 53-52 loss at La Salle, but the good news is that they got senior point guard Rotnei Clarke back from a brief injury, and he led all scorers with 24 points in their 83-71 win over Temple on Saturday.

Clarke missed three games, but came back firing at home against the Owls. A bit rusty, Clarke hit just four of 14 shots, including 3-for-10 from three-point range, but he made 13 of 14 from the foul line and distributed the ball efficiently with nine assists and just four turnovers.

Butler remains atop the Atlantic-10 (the conference now has 16 teams) with a 4-1 record, but they are closely followed by a gang of five teams at 4-2.

The Bulldogs next play at St. Louis on Thursday, january 31.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Niagara's Juan'ya Green Tears Up Sienna as Purple Eagles Win 5th Straight

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 25, 2013

Unsure whether there are any purple eagles living in the wild, but one thing's for sure, the Sienna Saints surely don't want to see any more emblazoned on the uniforms of Niagara players.

For the second time in eight days, the Purple Eagles tore up the Saints, winning by sharing the ball (18 assists) and forcing 12 turnovers in a 79-68 victory, the fifth straight for the top team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

And, if the Saints could choose one player to never see again, it would have to be Juan'ya Green, who fell just short of a triple-double, with 19 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.

Green wasn't all that accurate from the field, going 6-for-17, but he made up for it on the line, making six of six. His rebounding and assist totals were also career highs (the assist number equaling his output in a win at Canisius last season).

The 12-8 Purple Eagles are 8-1 in conference games, clutching a one-game lead over 7-2 Iona and Loyola (MD). They face those two main rivals in back-to-back home games January 31 and February 2.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kelly Olynyk, Elias Harris Too Much for BYU as Gonzaga Rebounds

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 24, 2013 BYU is an improved team this season, but they'll have to go a ways in order to compete with the top team in the WCC, as Gonzaga proved too powerful on the interior, cruising to an easy, 83-63, home win over the Cougars.

Seven-footer, Kelly Olynyk, was perfect both from the field and the foul line, making nine of nine shots and hitting all eight of his free throws for a game-high 26 points.

Falling just one rebound short of his third double-double of the season, Olynyk wiped the boards with nine rebounds.

Complementing his center's perfect play, Elias Harris did get his third double-double of the season, chipping in with 26 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 9-for-13 from the foul line with 10 boards.

The Bulldogs got off early and were up 40-21 at the half. For the game, they held BYU to just 36% shooting and out-rebounded them 37-29. The Bulldogs shot 57% for the game.

Gonzaga was coming off a last-second, one-point loss at Butler, but showed no negative hangover effect, winning for the 18th time against just two losses.

The Bulldogs lead the West Coast Conference with a 5-0 mark, trailed by St. Mary's (5-1), and 5-2 BYU.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Seniors Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott Lead as Hurricanes Storm #1 Duke, 90-63

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 23, 2013 March is shaping up to be a wide open scramble for the crown of college hoops, as fans stormed the court in Coral Gables, Florida, where the Miami Hurricanes tore apart top-ranked Duke, 90-63, the fourth time this season a #1 team has fallen, and the second time that Duke has been the patsy.

The Hurricanes (14-3) broke open a close game early in the first half, going on a 25-1 run that turned a 14-13 deficit into a 38-15 lead and a commanding, 42-19, edge at intermission.

The final margin was the third-worst defeat eve for a #1 team and the first time Miami had ever defeated a top-ranked school. The Hurricanes suddenly find themselves all alone atop the ACC, with a 5-0 record. No other team in the conference has fewer than two losses.

A pair of senior starters accounted for more than half of the Hurricane scoring. Durand Scott poured in a game-high 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting with three 3-pointers while Kenny Kadji dominated the lane, making nine of 11 for a season-high 22 points to go with six boards.

Scott also added six rebounds and had four assists. His point toal was also a season high.

Ranked #25 in the most recent poll, the Hurricanes host Florida State on Sunday, seeking their seventh straight win. If they're successful, voters will have a difficult time keeping Miami out of the top 15.

Elsewhere around the hoops universe, #9 Butler was upended at LaSalle, 54-53, and #12 Minnesota fell to 55-48. 17th-ranked Creighton lost at Drake, 74-69.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Freshman Devin Thomas Conquers Wolfpack with 25 Points, 14 Boards in Wake Forest Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Louisville's reign at #1 was a very short one, ended when they lost to Syracuse on Saturday, and, on Tuesday, they followed up with another clunker, shooting just 40% in a 73-65 loss at Villanova.

In another top 25 defeat, #18 NC State found no answers for Wake Forest's freshman forward, Devin Thomas, who scored a game-high and career-high 25 points and hauled in 14 rebounds, nine of them off the offensive glass, in an 86-84 win by the Demon Deacons.

Thomas was red hot from the field, canning 10 of 13 shots from the field, while also finding time in his 37 minutes of playing time to dish four assists, snatch three steals and block four shots.

The win evened Wake's ACC record at 3-3. Thy are 10-8 overall.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Michael Carter-Williams Leads Syracuse past Cincinnati, 57-55

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 21, 2013

Michael Carter-Williams scored 16 points as #3 Syracuse barely held on over visiting Cincinnati for a 57-55 victory.

Carter-Williams, the assist leader for the Orange, was 6-for-10 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers, otherwise dishing to teammates seven times for scores. He also had five rebounds as the Orange put just three players in double figures.

The Orange shot 46%, but that was far better than Cincinnati's 33%. The Bearcats kept it close by controlling the boards, out-rebounding Syracuse, 38-28, and making nine of ten from the foul line.

Winners of their last eight straight, Syracuse improved to 18-1 and maintained their Big East lead with a 6-0 mark. Their closest pursuers in the conference are Louisville and Marquette, both at 4-1.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hossiers Looking at #1 after Cody Zelller Leads Win at Northwestern

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 20, 2013

The #2 Indiana Hoosiers invaded Welsh-Ryan Arena, in Evanstown, Illinois, on Sunday and wasted little time dictating play to the host Northwestern Wildcats, running off to an early lead off hard-nosed defense to forge a 31-17 lead at intermission.

The Hoosiers relied on their All-American candidate, Cody Zeller, to provide scoring and rebounding in their 67-59 win.

Zeller finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. He was 6-for-11 from the field and made nine of 10 free throws.

Improving to 16-2, the Hoosiers are tied with Michigan and Wisconson for second place in the Big Ten. The trio trails 5-1 Michigan State by 1/2 game.

With #1 Louisville losing on Saturday to Syracuse, the Hoosiers should get the nod for #1 from the pollsters when the new Top 25 results are posted on Monday.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Roosevelt Jones Beats Buzzer as Butler Drops Gonzaga

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 19, 2013

There were a slew of Top 25 teams in action this third Saturday in January, with five games featuring ranked opponents playing each other.

#13 Butler survived on a last-second shot by Roosevelt Jones, keeping the Bulldogs undefeated at home, with a 64-63 victory over eighth-ranked Gonzaga.

With five seconds left to play, Gonzaga led 63-62 after a pair of made free throws by Kelly Olynyk. After a missed opportunity by Butler, Gonzaga had the ball out-of-bounds near mid-court, but when Dave Stockton lobbed a pass in the direction of Olynyk, the seven-footer was heading in another direction and the ball came right to the waiting Jones, who peeled downcourt and hit the running jumper in the lane, the ball leaving his hand just before time expired.

It was Butler's 13th straight win, making them 16-2 on the season. Gonzaga dropped to 17-2, and should not be penalized to severely by poll voters on Monday, when new rankings are released.

Jones finished with a team-high 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting, with five rebounds and four assists. Elias Harris and Sam Dower each had 20 points to lead Gonzaga.

Elsewhere, #6 Syracuse outlasted top-ranked Louisville, 70-68; #10 Florida hamered #17 Missouri, 83-52; #21 Oregon won at #24 UCLA, 76-67; and, #18 Michigan State prevailed over the visiting, 11th-ranked, Ohio State Buckeyes, 59-56.

In a key Missouri Valley Conference game, unranked Wichita State upended #12 Creighton, 67-64.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Vermont Leads American East after Solid Effort by Juniors Candon Rusin and Clancy Rugg

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 18, 2013

After making the NCAA tournament last season and winning their play-in game over Lamar, 71-59, only to lose to North Carolina in the next round, 77-58, Vermont's returning players want to repeat the experience by capturing the American East conference.

With their victory over Stony Brook, handing the Seawolves their first conference loss, the Catamounts seem to be well on their way towards reaching that goal.

Winning at home, 81-73, Vermont takes a 1/2 game lead over Stony Brook and Albany with a 5-1 record, their only conference loss coming at Boston U., January 8. Since then the Catamounts have reeled off three consecutive victories.

Junior guard, Candon Rusin, poured in a career-high 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting, including a 4-for-9 mark from beyond the arc. He was the game's high scorer.

6'8" forward, Clancy Rugg, also a Junior, set career marks in scoring and rebounding, tying his top points effort with 19 points, along with 15 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Rugg, who appears to be rounding into midseason form, played 33 minutes and had his most productive outing of the season. The only other time he's been on the floor more than 30 minutes was a week ago, when he scored 19 with 9 boards in Vermont's 68-53 win over Maryland-Baltimore County.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Darius Theus, Treveon Graham, Juvonte Reddic Lead VCU to 10th Straight Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 17, 2013

Don't look now, but after a 3-3 start to their season, the VCU Rams have reeled off 12 straight wins including their 92-86 win in OT against the visiting St. Joseph's Hawks.

Point guard Darius Theus was distributing the ball to teammates, with 10 assists, and when he wasn't passing off, he scored 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting.

Sophomore Treveon Graham led all scorers with 25 points, hitting 10 of 17 shots, including four of seven from 3-point range. He also chipped in with seven boards, three off the offensive glass.

The most dominant player on the court was Juvonte Reddic. The 6'9" junior forward scored 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting, and ripped down 17 rebounds, a career high.

The Rams are undefeated in Atlantic 10 play, but they have plenty of company. Xavier, Butler and Charlotte are each tied for the lead with VCU, at 3-0. Look for the A-10 to send three, if not four, teams to the NCAA tournament in March. VCU almost certainly will be one of them.

NOTABLE: #5 Michigan may have missed their opportunity to be ranked number one when they lost at Ohio State, 56-53, on Sunday, but they were having no part of losing a second consecutive game, despite being on the road again, at #8 Minnesota. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points to lead the Wolverines to the 83-75 win. Michigan broke the game open early in the second half and led by as many as 19 points.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Marshawn Powell Pumps in 28 as Razorbacks Prevail in 2OT

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It took two overtimes, but Marshawn Powell and the Arkansas Razorbacks managed to finally put away the Auburn Tigers, 88-80.

Powell, a 6'7" forward, scored 22 of his game high 28 points in the second half and extra periods for the Razorbacks' second straight win and a 2-1 record in the SEC, putting them right in the midst of a nine-team scramble for the conference lead.

Going 11-for-20 with a pair of three-pointers, Powell also grabbed 11 boards for his second double-double of the season, adding three steals, two assists and a blocked shot.

3-0 Mississippi currently leads the conference standings, followed by Florida and Texas A&M at 2-0. There are six teams with 2-1 records, including Missouri and Kentucky.

Arkansas plays at Mississippi this Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Indiana, Notre Dame Lose, But Creighton Prevails on Doug McDermott's 31-Point Effort

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Three Top 25 teams hit the hardwoods on Tuesday, but only one came away a winner.

#2 Indiana, despite a 20-point, 10-rebound effort by Cody Zeller, found no home court advantage in a 64-59 loss to Wisconsin, the Badgers' 11th straight victory over the Hoosiers.

#20 Notre Dame struggled on the road against St. John's, as the Red Storm treated the Madison Square Garden fans to a 67-63 victory.

Doug McDermott proved too much for Northern Iowa, scoring a game high 31 points, as Creighton prevailed at home, 79-68, winning their 10th straight and boosting their overall record to 17-1.

McDermott, one of the nation's top scorers, was 12-for-22 from the field with just one three-pointer and 6-for-7 from the foul line. The 6'8" native of Ames, Iowa grabbed four boards and dished three assists.

Creighton leads the Missouri Valley Conference with a 6-0 record.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Russ Smith, Chane Behanan Power #1 Louisville Past UConn

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 14, 2013

With Duke and Michigan each suffering losses over the weekend, Louisville was raised to the #1 position in the latest Top 25 Poll (AP), and, right away they were offered the opportunity to defend their position as the top team in the land.

Traveling to Connecticut to take on the Huskies, who had just toppled Notre Dame, 65-58, on Saturday, the Cardinals entered enemy territory with expectations as lofty as their ranking.

The Huskies took it to the Cardinals in the first half, shooting 50% from the field to take a 34-28 edge into the break, but the Cardinals came out breathing fire in the second half, quickly erased the lead and went on to dominate with 45 points in the half, cruising late to the 75-58 victory.

Led by a game high 23 points from Russ Smith (10-for-20, 2-for-6 on threes) and 16 points, nine boards and five assists by Chane Behanan, the Cardinals rolled to their 16th win against just one loss (76-71, to Duke), a 4-0 record in the Big East, tying them with #6 Syracuse for the conference lead.

The Cardinals will be put to the test again on Saturday, January 19, when they host the Orange in a 4:00 pm ET showdown, but for now, the #1 ranking rests peacefully in Kentucky, the ancestral home of hoops.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Buckeyes Hand Wolverines First Loss; Iona's Sean Armand Powers Gaels

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 13, 2013

The theme of the weekend was completed in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, where the Ohio State Buckeyes downed previously-undefeated Michigan, 53-56, holding the Wolverines to just 38% shooting.

That score followed NC State's Saturday win over Duke, leaving the nation with no unbeaten teams and a big question mark over who's really #1. On Monday, new polls will be out and we'll have an answer, at least temporarily.

Far from the top of the heap in the rankings, Iona College improved to 11-6 overall and into a tie with Niagara, at 5-1, for the lead in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), with a 97-87 win over Conesius.

Junior swingman, Sean Armand, tied his career high with 32 points to lead the Gaels to their fifth straight victory.

Armand, who has scored in double figures in 16 of Iona's 17 games, lit it up from downtown, making nine of 15 three-pointers on 11-for-18 shooting overall. He rounded out his his game with five rebounds, three assists, a pair of blocked shots and a steal.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Richard Howell Leads #20 NC State over #1 Duke, 84-76

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 12, 2013

And Then there was one.

With Duke's loss to North Carolina State on Saturday, there remains only one team in the country without a loss, the 2nd-ranked Michigan Wolverines, but they must survive a trip to Columbus Ohio on Sunday, where they will play the #15 Ohio State Buckeyes - in order to last through the weekend and into Monday's poll as the presumptive #1 team in the country. Tip time for the Buckeyes and Wolverines is 1:30 pm ET.

Duke's demise came a short bus ride from their home court, at PNC Arena, home to the #20 Wolfpack, sure to rise in the rankings after their 84-76 victory over the previously-unbeaten Blue Devils.

Richard Howell, one of the nation's most accurate shooters, striking the iron at 62.3%, was a beast in the paint, scoring 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting, in addition to hauling down a game high 18 rebounds, six of them on the offensive end.

Besides denying the Blue Devils second opportunities with his board work, Howell also kept Wolfpack possessions alive by battling Mason Plumlee and other Duke rebounders.

Howell, who averages a double-double (12.4 points, 10.6 rebounds), turned in his ninth such performance of the season, helping NC State improve to 14-2, but, more importantly, push the Wolfpack to the top of the ACC standings, at 3-1.

Howell had plenty of help in upending Duke. The team's leading scorer, CJ Leslie, pumped in a game-high 25 points, and NC State's assist leader, Lorenzo Brown, dished 13 times and scored 12 points.

NOTABLE: 19 of the nation's top 25 teams were in action on Saturday, with all of them winning except for the Blue Devils, #8 Minnesota (dumped at #5 Indiana, 88-81), #17 Notre Dame, a 65-58 loser at home to unranked UConn, and 10th-ranked Missouri, finding early trouble in the SEC, falling at Mississippi, 64-49.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

#13 Creighton Goes to 16-1 Behind Doug McDermott's 39 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 11, 2013

Hitting 15 of 19 shots from the field, Doug McDermott had his way against Missouri State as the Creighton Bluejays improved to 16-1 and 5-0 in the MVC with a 72-54 romp at Missouri State.

McDermott's season-high tally was the second-most he's ever scored in a college game. Last season, he lit up Bradley for 44 points in a 92-83 Creighton victory.

Nearly flawless in his execution, McDermott hit three of four from three-point range and six of seven from the foul line, also collecting 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

Averaging 23.6 points per game, McDermott is third in scoring nationally, close behind Virginia Tech's Erick Green (24.6) and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh (23.9).

Vreighton's only loss came in an 83-70 setback by Boise State on November 28. Since then, they've won 10 straight and have a pair of important games upcoming: Tuesday, January 15, against Northern Iowa and Saturday, January 19, at 15-1 Wichita State, currently 4-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kelly Olynyk Leads Gonzaga over St. Mary's; Arizona Tastes First Defeat in 70-66 Loss at Oregon

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 10, 2013

The biggest upset of the night came late into it, as the Oregon Ducks won their 17th straight home game, downing the Arizona Wildcats, 70-66, with balanced scoring, quality distribution and a nagging defense.

The 13-2 Ducks had 10 steals and six blocked shots against the previously unbeaten Wildcats (14-1), forcing 14 turnovers. As a team, Oregon dished 17 assists. The result left just two undefeated teams within the college ranks: #1 Duke and #2 Michigan.

Even later into the night, the #9 Gonzaga Bulldogs continued an impressive run with their seventh straight win, this time holding home court against their cheif rival in the WCC, the St. Mary's Gaels, 83-78.

Seven-footer, Kelly Olynyk, was unstoppable in the post, hitting 11 of 19 shots for a game-high 31 points, fresh on the heels of a 33-point outburst at Santa Clara this past Saturday.

Olynyk was 8-for-11 from the foul line and snatched eight rebounds, three on the offensive end.

The 16-1 Bulldogs now share the West Coast Conference lead at 3-0 with BYU. San Diego is a half game back at 2-0

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cleanthony Early Lights Up Salukis with 39 Points in Wichita State Victory

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A bundle of good teams are playing in the Missouri Valley Conference, a general hotbed of college hoops that is often overlooked, but the pollsters have already determined that two of them - Creighton and Wichita State - are worthy of Top 25 designations, while Evansville and Indiana State are providing depth for the league.

In Wednesday's 81-76 victory at Southern Illinois, the 15-1 Shockers of Wichita State applied a stamp to their #23 ranking, rallying from a 43-34 half time deficit for the win.

After the slow start, the Shockers lit it up in the second half, especially junior forward, Cleanthony Early, who set a career high mark with 39 points on 13-for-19 shooting, making five of eight from three point range and eight of 10 from the foul line.

Scoring the first 10 points of the of the second period, the Shockers quickly erased their host's lead, and battled the rest of the way against the determined Salukis.

Early, who leads the Shockers in scoring at 15.4 points per game, easily outdid his previous high mark of 25, made in a 75-63 win over Iowa earlier in the season. Red-shirted his first two years at Wichita State, Early has arrived in time to give the Shockers a versatile scoring threat.

Wichita State is tied with Creighton at 4-0, atop the MVC standings. The top two teams meet on Saturday, January 19 at Wichita State.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Brandon Young Scores Career High 35 as DePaul Falls to UConn

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Connecticut Huskies blew away DePaul in the first half, outscoring them, 54-34, en route to an easy, 99-78, victory, the Huskies' 11th against three losses, evening their Big East record at 1-1, after losing to Marquette on New Years' Day, 82-76.

While UConn was victorious, they couldn't stop the Blue Demons' junior guard, Brandon Young, who set a career-high mark with 35 points on 13-for-22 shooting, including three of four from beyond the arc, in addition to making all six of his foul shots.

Young is a big time scorer, averaging 17.3 points per game, but he also contributes elsewhere, with 4.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. Against the Huskies, he outdid his averages, snatching four board and dishing five assists, though his efforts fell short as only he and Cleveland Melvin (18 points) scored in double figures.

The Huskies were paced by 26 from DeAndre Daniels and 22 from Ryan Boatwright.

NOTABLE: #1 Duke keeps rolling along, winning their 15th straight without a loss, pounding Clemson, 68-40, for their second ACC win. The Blue Devils did it with defense, holding the Tigers to just 28% shooting for the game and 10 first half points.

#10 Missouri should love life in the SEC, shifting to the new conference after leaving the Big 12. Hosting Alabama, the Mizzou cruised to an 84-68 win, in the first SEC game this season, giving the Tigers a leg up. The anticipated showdown at #11 Florida is set for January 19.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sam Rowley's Double-Double Lifts Albany over Binghamton

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 7, 2013

Every conference gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament in March, including obscure ones like the American East, where the Albany Great Danes have a chance to get the invite, especially if they ride one of their big dogs, like sophomore forward Sam Rowley, who set career highs for points and rebounds in Albany's 71-59 win at Binghamton.

Hailing from Syndey, Australia, the 6'6" Rowley turned in his first double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, going 8-for-9 from the field and 5-for-5 from the charity stripe.

The Great Danes are off to a 13-4 start to their season and are 2-1 in conference play.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Kenny Boynton Scores Career High 28 as Gators Chomp on Bulldogs

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 6, 2013

Most of the teams across the country have begun conference play. The Ivy League and the SEC are among a few that are still working through non-conference schedules, so it was that the #13 Florida Gators trundled up to Yale and showed off their ball skills in a 79-58 trouncing of the Bulldogs.

The game was largely a mismatch, but Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton enjoyed himself, getting enough good looks to go 9-for-12 from the field, including 8-for-10 from three-point range, for a game-high, career-high, 28 points.

Playing 37 minutes, Boynton also added two assists and a pair of rebounds as the Gators improved to 10-2 in their final tune-up before heading into SEC play beginning January 9, at home against another Bulldog team, this one from Georgia.

Florida and Missouri appear the teams to beat in the conference. Missouri is currently ranked #12, with an 11-2 record.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Kelly Olynyk Has Career High 33 in Gonzaga Win at Santa Clara

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mark Few, head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs since 1999, has built the program into one of national prominence, routinely dominating the West Coast Conference. This season, he may have one of his best teams ever.

Few's record with the Zags is impressive, going 357–91 (.797) overall and an even better 162–22 (.882) in conference play. The 10th-ranked, 15-1 Bulldogs won their second straight conference game, winning at Santa Clara, 81-74, to remain tied with BYU for the early lead at 2-0 thanks to a career high, 33-point, 10-rebound effort from their outstanding junior forward, Kelly Olynyk.

Olynyk had a nearly flawless game, making 12 of 15 shots from the field, including going 1-for-1 from three-point range and canned seven of eight free throws, displaying a deft shooting touch for a big man. Olynyk, a native of Kamloop, British Columbia, stand's seven feet tall and finds few opposing players who can defend him. He's scored in double figures in all but one of Ganzaga's 16 games.

With three straight road wins under their collective belts, the Bulldogs appear ready for their next big test, a January 10 meeting with traditional conference rival, St. Mary's. It will mark Olynyk's first game as a starter against the Gaels, since he sat out last season.

NOTABLE: Life is tough in the big conferences. There were 16 Top 25 teams in action on Saturday, and five of them suffered defeats at the hands of conference foes.

In the Big East, the carnage was widespread, with #15 Georgetown falling to Marquette, 49-48, Rutgers topping #24 Pitt, 67-62, and #15 Cincinnati losing at home to St. John's, 53-52.

In the Big Ten, the #11 Fighting Illini took down #8 Ohio State, 74-55, while #25 Kansas State prevailed at home, 73-67, over #22 Oklahoma State in Big 12 action.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

O.D. Anosike Gets 19 Points, 15 Rebounds in Sienna Loss

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 4, 2013

Just 16 games dotted the college hoops landscape on Friday night, none of the games featuring any teams even close to the top rankings.

Among the contested hardcourts was in upstate New York, at Siena College, where the Saints were hosting the Iona Gaels in a MAAC game.

Siena, 0-2 in the conference going in, kept the game close, but eventually succumbed to the Gaels, 66-62, despite a monster effort from senior forward, O.D. Ansike, a one-man gang averaging a double-double (13.7 points, 12.9 rebounds).

Anosike kept Siena in the game on both ends, scoring 19 points - equalling his season high - and hauling in 15 boards.

Anosike was 8-for-11 from the field, but he didn't get much support from his teammates, who made just 16 of 47 field goals (34%).

Iona improved to 8-6 overall and are part of a six=team tie for first place in the conference with a 2-1 mark. Siena slumped to 0-3 in the MAAC and 2-12 overall.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Kyle Anderson Provides Lift as Bruins Open PAC-12 Play with a Win over Cal

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 3, 2013

Continuing their quest for respectability, the UCLA Bruins took another step forward, defeating the Cal Golden Bears, 79-65, opening their PAC-12 schedule with a solid win, their sixth in a row.

The Bruins were led by freshman Kyle Anderson, who, at 6'9", s listed as a guard but plays more like a forward, operating in the post and on the wings. Anderson recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 boards, adding a pair of assists, two steals and two blocked shots, and is becoming an integral part of the UCLA scheme. Anderson was 5-for-8 from the field and a perfect 8-for-9 from the foul line, where his improvement has been notable.

In his first seven games, Anderson was 13-for-26 from the stripe (50%), but, in his last seven has hit 30 of 35 freebies, an 86% rate.

Anderson was just a point off his career high, set just two games past, when he displayed his huge potential with 20 points and 17 rebounds in the Bruins' 91-78 win over Fresno State. Averaging close to a double-double, with 9.5 points and 8.7 rebounds, Anderson is one of the keys to UCLA challenging for the conference title, their main opposition being the unbeaten Arizona Wildcats (13-0), who struggled to a 92-83 overtime win against Colorado.

The 11-3 Bruins meet up with the Wildcats in three weeks, on January 24, at Arizona.

NOTABLE: #2 Michigan stormed into Northwestern to open their Big Ten schedule and ripped up the place with a 94-66 victory. Trey Burke led the way with 23 points for the 14-0 Wolverines.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

D'Angelo Harrison Scores 36 in St. John's Loss at Villanova; Boeheim Gets Win #903

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Conference play got started in a big way on Wednesday, with eight ranked teams hitting the hardwood.

#1 Duke was still in tune-up mode, playing its final non-conference game, at Davidson, and the Blue Devils came through with a 67-50 victory.

#11 Illinois suffered its second loss of the season (13-2), starting off Big Ten action with a 68-61 loss at Purdue, as the Illini shot just 38% and Purdue's Terone Johnson torched then for a game-high 25 points.

The inevitable occurred in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse, as Jim Boeheim's #7 Orange carried him to win #903, passing Bobby Knight and moving into second place all-time in wins behind Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, with a 78-53 win over Rutgers. The Orange blew open a tight game with a 21-0 run to close out the first half and never looked back.

In game of the night was in Philadelphia, where visiting St. John's batted Villanova to a 83-83 tie in regulation before submitting in the extra period, the Wildcats prevailing by a 98-86 final score.

The Red Storm's sophomore guard, D'Angelo Harrison, pumped in a career-high 36 points on 11-for-21 shooting with six three=pointers. Harrison's heroics fell short, however, as Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston threw down 32 and 26 points, respectively.

St. John's dropped to 8-5 while the Wildcats improved to a 10-4 mark.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Adonis Filer a Perfect 7-for-7 in Clemson Rout of the Citadel

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

With New Year's Day focused on college football bowl games, the schedule of hopps actions was sparse, to say the least. You know it's a slow day when Presbyterian can more than double up an opponent, as the 2-11 Blue Hose (yes, that's actually the team name) blew out the Montreat (not a typo) Cavaliers, 77-35.

The Big East got in an early conference game, with Shabazz Napier scoring 29 points in a losing overtime effort at Marquette, 82-76. Both teams are 10-3, but the Golden Eagles get a leg up on the rest of the conference.

But, the player who enjoyed playing against a loose defense the most was Clemson's Adonis Filer, who was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field in the Tigers' 92-51 romp over the Citadel.

Filer, a 6'2" freshman guard who is a regular off the bench, scored a game-high and career-high 21 points, which included four three-pointers. Ironically, the only shot he missed was a free throw, as he made three of four from the line. Filer also chipped in with a rebound, one assist and three steals.

The 8-4 Tigers open their ACC season on January 5th, hosting Florida State, then travel to play the #1 Duke Blue Devils on January 8, certainly a far cry from, say, Montreat.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Michael Carter-Williams Dominates as Syracuse Improves to 12-1

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, December 31, 2012

#7 Syracuse ended 2012 the same way they started the season, by whipping up on a lesser opponent and getting their starters and reserves valuable playing time in advance of the heady Big East season.

The 12-1 Orange raced off to an early lead, taking a 47=26 edge into the half and cruised to a 96-62 victory over Central Connecticut State, led by point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who fell just one rebound short of a triple double, with 18 points, 13 assists and nine boards.

Averaging a double-double (12.2 points, 10.2 assists), the 6'6" guard had his way with the Central Connecticut back court. It was his second game of the season that he missed a triple-double by the narrowest of margins. On November 30, at Arkansas, he scored 17 points, snagged 10 boards, but dished out just nine assists.

Syracuse opens Big East play on January 3rd at Rutgers.