Friday, January 31, 2014

Sean Kilpatrick Scores 23 of Game-High 28 in Second Half, As Bearcats Top Louisville, 69-66

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Cincinnati Bearcats won their 13th straight game and lead the American conference with a perfect, 9-0, mark after going on the road to top #12 Louisville, 69-66, Thursday night.

Cincinnati, ranked #13 in the latest poll, should move up with the win, sparked by aggressive defense and a second half surge by fifth-year senior, Sean Kilpatrick, who was just 2-for-9 in the first half, but scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half to carry the Bearcats to victory.

Kilpatrick was deadly down the stretch, scoring 12 of the final 14 points for Cincinnati, including straight straight free throws, as the the Bearcats held off a determined Louisville squad.

Leading by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Bearcats turned the ball over on four straight possessions early in the second half, allowing Louisville to cut into the lead. The Cardinals actually took the lead at 64-61 on a Russ Smith three with 5:03 remaining to play, but Cincinnati stepped up the defense again, outscoring Louisville, 8-2, down the stretch.

Kilpatrick finished 7-for-18 with three three-pointers and was 11-for-11 from the foul line, adding five rebounds and two assists to his 37 minute effort. The Bearcats were 17-for-18 from the stripe and out-rebounded Louisville, 36-25.

The Bearcats have a 2 1/2 game edge in the conference. Both Louisville and Memphis are 6-2, tied for second place. 20-2 Cincinnati hasn't lost since a 64-47 setback to Xavier on December 14. They host South Florida on Sunday and UConn this coming Thursday.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Andrew Wiggins Scores 29 as Kansas Leads Big 12, Drops Iowa State, 92-81

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Whenever the Big 12 is mentioned, the first word is usually Kansas, because the Jayhawks have dominated the conference for such a long time.

This season is no different, as the sixth-ranked Jayhawks are 7-0 in conference play after riding Andrew Wiggins' career-high 29 points to a 92-81 spanking of #16 Iowa State.

Wiggins, the sensational freshman who may also be mentioned in discussions concerning player of the year, hit 10 of 16 shots, including four of six from beyond the three-point line. He also canned five of six free throws and snatched seven rebounds. Wiggins leads Kansas in scoring, at 16.5 points per game.

Kansas led the entire game, starting with a Wiggins' three-pointer 38 seconds into the contest. The Jayhawks built a lead that grew as large as 16 points in the first half, though the Cyclones fought back to within a point before exiting the first half down 46-43.

All five Kansas starters were in double figures. Junior point guard, Naadir Tharpe, and freshman center, Joel Embiid, each registered double-doubles. Tharpe scored 12 points while dishing 12 assists; Embiid had 14 points and 11 boards.

The streaking Jayhawks haven't lost since opening 2014 with a 61-57 loss to San Diego State, their final non-conference game, on January 5th. Kansas next plays at #25 Texas on Saturday, February 1.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Doug McDermott's Season-High 39 Points Carries Creighton Past St. John's, 63-60

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When one talks about Creighton basketball, one name always comes up: Doug McDermott.

The four-year senior star has led the Bluejays to an 8-1 record and first place in their first year as a member of the Big East, following McDermott's leadership for three years in the Missouri Valley conference.

Getting to that 8-1 mark (18-3 overall) did not take the usual route in Creighton's 63-60 win over St. John's, Tuesday night.

First, it was the lowest score in any of Creighton's wins this season. The Bluejays scored 53 points in a loss to George Washington in December and average 81.3 points per game, 22nd nationally. The Bluejays also turned the ball over 17 times and had only 13 assists (they average 18.1, tops nationally).

Besides shooting under their average (49.3%) and having just one player in double figures, Creighton was able to emerge victorious due to McDermott's season-high 39 points, on 15-for-26 shooting, including five of nine from beyond the arc, with four of five free throws and six rebounds.

McDermott took more than half of Creighton's 47 shots and accounted for roughly 2/3rds of their 23 field goals. Creighton led, 29-25, at the break. McDermott scored 20 of those first half points. Creighton led nearly the entire game and was up by as many as 18 midway through the second half, but, St. John's tied the score at 60-all on a pair of free throws by Rysheed Jordan with 11 seconds left.

After a St. John's time out, the Bluejays got the ball to McDermott, who launched a game-winning three-pointer with just two seconds left on the clock, providing the winning margin.

It was the seventh time this season McDermott has scored 30 or more points. He's been in double figures in all but one of Creghton's games.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ryan Spangler Boosts Oklahoma over Oklahoma State in 'Bedlam' Rivalry

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 27, 2014

Tenacious defense, a patient offense and the interior domination of Ryan Spangler helped the #23 Oklahoma Sooners overwhelm the #8 Oklahoma State Cowboys in the twice-annual renewal of their "bedlam" series, 88-76.

Spangler, the sophomore transfer from Gonzaga, scored 15 points and hauled down 17 rebounds, as the Sooners took over second place in the Big 12, improving to 6-2 in the conference, behind 6-0 Kansas.

Oklahoma held the Cowboys to just 40% shooting, clamping down especially hard on leading scorers Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, holding the duo to 13-for-35 overall and just 3-for-16 from three-point range. If not for Phil Forte III coming off the Cowboy bench to score 20 points - going 6-for-6 on threes - the score would have been even more lopsided.

The Sooners took advantage of a wide disparity in fouls, making 30 of 42 free throws, while the Cowboys were just 15-for-22, but, Oklahoma State held a solid - 42-37 - edge on the boards, shot 46% from the field and were 8-for-17 from beyond the arc (47%). Spangler was 5-for-10 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the line.

Spangler's presence in the middle has caused issues for other Big 12 squads. The Sooners have recently stunned Iowa State and Baylor, and have won four straight against conference foes. Five teams from the Big 12 - Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas - are currently ranked in the Top 25.

The return date for the second part of the bedlam, series is February 15 at Oklahoma State.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nebraska's Terran Petteway Tears Up Minnesota with Career-High 35 Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 26, 2014

A few years ago, when Nebraska jumped from the Big 12 to the Big Ten, there was not a lot of thought given to how well they'd fare in basketball. After all, the Cornhuskers are more of a football school and never were very competitive in hoops, even in the Big 12.

Signs that things have begun to change on the court in Nebraska have been evident over the past few weeks. Back on January 9th, the Cornhuskers took the Measure of Michigan, losing, 71-70, to the team that now holds first place in the conference after whipping Michigan State on Saturday.

Last week, Nebraska stunned Ohio State, 68-62, and followed that up - after a 58-54 loss at Penn State - with a win Sunday over Minnesota, as redshirt freshman, Terran Petteway, scored a career-high 35 points in the 82-78 victory.

Petteway, who has been in double figures in all but one game this season, went 10-for-15 from the field, nailing four of six three-pointers and making 11 of 14 from the free throw line. He also collected six rebounds, with three assists, a blocked shot and a steal.

The final score was much closer than most of the game, which Nebraska led by as many as 13 points. Petteway scored the last seven points for the 'Huskers, making all but one of his free throws in the final 1:30.

The victory was just the second of the season in conference play for Nebraska, against five losses, but the recent wins and close calls point up the fact that a trip to Lincoln, where the Cornhuskers are 10-3, is no longer a walk-over.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Treveon Graham Powers VCU to Double OT Win over La Salle

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 25, 2014

Loaded with quality teams, the Atlantic-10 conference may not be getting its fair share of respect from the poll voters. Only the Massachusetts Minutemen (16-2, 3-1) and the St. Louis Bilikens (18-2, 5-0) are currently represented, at #13, and #19, respectively.

Missing is VCU (16-4, 4-1), but the Rams made their case Saturday on the road, with a double overtime win at La Salle, as Treveon Graham scored a career-high 34 points in the 97-89 victory.

Graham not only performed at a high level, but without his effort, the Rams would likely not be tied for second place in the conference, along with Richmond and George Washington. Graham scored nine of the last ten points for the Rams in regulation, including the final six, to tie the contest at 73-all, and threw down six of VCU's seven points in the first overtime, again scoring the final six, though he missed a free throw that would have given the Rams the win with six seconds left in the first extra session.

Though Graham did not score in the second overtime, he did have an assist and a rebound, as his teammates finished off the Explorers. Rob Brandenburg buried a pair of three pointers, Juvante Reddick had a pair of buckets and and Briante Weber sealed the win, nailing seven of eight free throws in the final 1:19.

Graham, who played 44 minutes, was 11-for-23 from the field with two three-pointers and was 10-for-16 from the foul line with 12 rebounds and a pair of assists. Reddic complemented with 27 points and 15 boards, his sixth double-double of the season.

A prolific scorer, Graham has tallied in double figures in all but one game this season and leads the Rams at 16.1 points per game.

VCU has won eight of their last nine and three in a row. They next host Fordham, this Wednesday night, January 29.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Juwan Howard Jr. Leads Detroit over Milwaukee in Horizon League Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 24, 2014

With just six games played in Division-1 Friday, the small sample - all from minor conferences, like the MAAC, Horizon and American East - yielded only a couple of notable performances, though one Juwan Howard Jr., son of Juwan Howard of the original Michigan Fab Five, deserves notice.

Howard, a 6'6" junior, scored 24 points with eight rebounds to lead the Detroit Titans to a 73-54 win at Milwaukee, though the victory was just the second in Horizon League play for the Titans (9-12, 2-4).

Howard was 11-for-23 from the field, with a pair of three pointers.

Pretty much alone in terms of talent on the court for Detroit, Howard is leading the team in scoring at 18.0 points per game. The next-high-scorer for the Titans averages just 11.9 ppg.

NOTABLE: Huge game at 7:00 pm Saturday night when #21 Michigan visits #3 Michigan State, for top honors in the Big Ten. Winners of eight straight, the Wolverines have been on a roll, defeating two ranked teams - Wisconsin and Iowa - in the past week. Michigan is 6-0 in conference play, while the Spartans have run up a 7-0 mark in the Big Ten and have won 11 straight since North Carolina handed them their only loss of the season, on December 4.

The game will be broadcast live nationally on ESPN.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Portland Downs BYU in 3OT on Thomas van der Mars 27 Points, 18 Boards

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 23, 2014

Despite 48 points from BYU's Tyler Haws, Thomas van der Mars scored 27 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and led the Portland Pilots to a triple overtime, 114-110, win over the Cougars, Thursday night.

After battling back from an eight-point deficit in the second OT, van der Mars sparked a 7-0 run with a tip-in and two free throws as the Pilots hung on for the win, snapping the BYU's (13-8, 5-3) five-game winning streak.

Haws scored the most of any player in a single game this season, going 17-for-34, with four three pointers and 10 of 13 free throws. Van der Mars was better, however, going 9-for-14 both from the field and the free throw line for a personal single-game career scoring mark. His 18 rebounds matched his total from a 92-76 win over Portland state earlier in the season, also a career-high. Ten of van der Mars' rebounds came off the offensive glass.

A 6'11" junior from the Netherlands, van der Mars recorded his fifth double-double of the season, adding two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 47 minutes of court time.

The Pilots improved to 12-8 overall and 4-4 in the West Coast Conference.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nik Stauskas Leads Michigan Past #10 Iowa, 75-67

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Even though the Iowa Hawkeyes were ranked #10 when they entered #21 Michigan's Crisler Center on Wednesday night, they had to be aware that the Wolverines had won seven in a row and were yet to be beaten (5-0) in Big Ten play.

After Nik Stauskas dropped 26 points on them en route to a 75-67 Michigan victory, the Hawkeyes understood why the Big Ten is no place for second-best and winning on the road is a tough task.

Stauskas, the 6'6" sophomore who was part of Michigan's Final Four squad last season, matched a career-high in scoring, hitting eight of 14 shots, including four of nine from three-point range, while adding five rebounds, five assists, a steal and a blocked shot.

The Wolverine starters each played a minimum of 32 minutes in the win, with Stauskas leading the pack with 37 minutes of floor time.

Iowa led early, but traded leads with Michigan, until the Wolverines took control with less than four minutes left in the first half. After taking a 38-34 edge into the break, Iowa trailed the rest of the way, coming to within two points on a couple of occasions early in the second half. Michigan eventually edged away by as many as 11 points, but the Hawkeyes cut it to three with 2:34 remaining. Michigan was unfazed, hitting all six of their free throws in the waning minutes for their eighth straight win and a perfect, 6-0, mark in the conference.

Michigan defeated then-#3 Wisconsin on the 18th, 77-70, and will be tested again when they travel to Michigan State to play the 18-1 Spartans this Saturday. Michigan State leads the Big Ten with a 7-0 mark.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DeAndre Daniels, Shabazz Napier Toast Owls as Connecticut Wins, 90-66

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A swarming, crushing defense and big games from Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels produced a huge, 90-66, win for Connecticut, sending the overmatched Temple Owls to their sixth straight AAC defeat.

The Huskies held Temple to 38% shooting (23-60) while the Huskies put balls through hoops at a 53% clip. Particularly hot was the Daniels-Napier duo, combining for 58 points, nearly two-thirds of the Husky total.

Napier scored 27 points, going 9-for-14 overall, including five of eight from three-point range while canning all four of his free throw attempts. The senior guard dealt six assists and grabbed seven boards.

Daniels, the 6'9" junior forward from Los Angeles, led all scorers with a career-high 31 points on 11-for-189 shooting. He was 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, hit five of six free throws and snatched 12 rebounds for his second double-double in his last three games.

Connecticut evened their conference record at 3-3 in the newly-formed American Athletic, an outgrowth of the mass defections from the Big East.

The Huskies close out their January schedule with a game at Rutgers on the 25th and a home meeting with Houston on the 30th.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ethan Wragge Ties Record for Three-Pointers as Creighton Wallops #4 Villanova

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

Ethan Wragge let it fly from beyond the arc, hitting his first seven three-point attempts and was 9-for-14 on the night, tying a team record and helping Creighton set a Big East mark with 21 three-pointers in their enormous, 96-68, upset victory at Villanova.

Various records were set or tied by the Bluejays. Wragge tied the school record, set when Kyle Korver hit nine threes against Evansville on Jan. 15, 2003. The 21 threes set a new mark for Creighton, topping the 20 made three-pointers in a 2005 game against Chattanooga.

In their first season as a member of the widely-disassembled Big East, Creighton has made their mark, setting a new record for made threes while disposing of - supposedly - one of the best teams in the country, leading the Wildcats by as many as 40 points during the second half.

Wragge, a 6'7" senior, set a personal scoring mark, adding three assists and three rebounds. He did not take a shot that wasn't from beyond the arc.

The unranked Bluejays improved to 16-3 and are 6-1 in the Big East. Obviously, the poll voters who kept them out of this week's top 25 have some re-thinking to do about Creighton.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tre Bowman, Isaiah Williams Lead Iona Past Siena, 88-74

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 19, 2014

With the national focus on the NFL Championship games, college basketball fielded a limited number of games (14), but that didn't stop Isaiah Williams and Tre Bowman from making the MAAC conference race more interesting.

With their 88-74 win over Siena, the Gaels moved into a four-way tie for first place in the conference, along with Canisius, Quinnipiac and Manhattan, all at 6-2.

Williams was sharp from the field, hitting eight of 10 shots including a 4-for-5 effort from beyond the arc. He also collected six boards, along with three assists and a pair of steals.

Backcourt mate Bowman led all scorers with 26 points, going 9-for-15, hitting five of nine threes, with six rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Sporting a four guard offense, the Gaels sizzled from the floor, hitting at a 54% mark. Despite being badly out-rebounded - 46-27 - by the Saints, Iona took an eight-point lead into the break and held a slim lead over Siena until the midway point of the second half, when an 11-2 run opened the lead to 13 points with seven minutes left to play. A three-pointer by Williams at 2:41 put Iona ahead by 17, their largest advantage of the game, and they coasted the rest of the way for the victory.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kyle Anderson Comes Up Big, But UCLA Comes Up Short at Utah, 73-69

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kyle Anderson had another in a string of impressive games this season, but, despite his efforts, UCLA could not overcome a disparity at the free throw line, falling in Salt Lake City to the Utah Utes, 73-69.

Anderson led all scorers with 28 points, wile gobbling up seven rebounds and distributing seven assists. The sophomore All-American candidate was spectacular, hitting all five of his three-point attempts on 10-for-16 shooting, plus going 3-for-3 at the foul line in 36 minutes of action.

That was not enough for the Bruins to survive on the road, however, as the Bruins piled up fouls. While UCLA went to the line just eight times for the entire game and made six of their freebies, the Utes were sent to the stripe 17 times, where they scored 15 points.

Otherwise, the game was quite even, perhaps with a slight statistical slant toward UCLA. The Bruins hit 27 field goals, compared to 25 for the Utes, both teams hit nine threes, but the Bruins held the edge on the boards, 35-31, and both teams committed 17 turnovers.

The loss drops the #25 Bruins to 14-4 overall, with a 3-2 mark in the PAC-12. Utah is also 14-4, holding a 3-3 mark in conference play.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

North Florida's Travis Wallace Scores 27, with 19 Rebounds, in Win over Jacksonville

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 17, 2014

The Atlantic Sun conference doesn't get much coverage, except on Friday's when there are only a few games nationwide, but they have some players, as was proven last season when Florida Gulf Coast became the 7th 15 seed to defeat a #2 seed, when they beat Georgetown in the NCAA tourney.

A few such players are Jacksonville's Jarvis Haywood and North Florida's Travis Wallace, the two of them meeting up in the Ospreys' (North Florida) 86-82 home win on Friday.

While Haywood was the game's high-scorer, pumping in 29 points, 6'6" senior Wallace was the workhorse for the Ospreys, scoring a season-high 27 while wiping the glass for a career-high 19 rebounds.

Wallace, who averages 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds, was 11-for-22 from the floor and 5-for-8 from the charity stripe.

The Ospreys improved to 11-9 overall and 5-2 in conference, trailing 5-1 Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast by 1/2 game.

Friday, January 17, 2014

DeAndre Daniels Carries Connecticut to 83-73 Win over #17 Memphis

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 16, 2014

Since their third loss of the season - a 74-65 loss at SMU, January 4 - and an 0-2 start in conference play, the Connecticut Huskies had fallen off the radar and out of the Top 25, but they made their presence known Thursday night with an 83-73 win at #17 Memphis.

While Shabazz Napier leads the team in just about every offensive category and put up a double-double, scoring 17 and dishing 10 assists, DeAndre Daniels was lead dog for the Huskies in their second straight American conference win.

Daniels, a 6'9" junior from Los Angeles, dropped in 23 points and hustled 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

A consistent performer (13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Daniels hit nine of 15 shots, including a 4-for-5 mark from beyond the arc. His 11 boards included four on the offensive end, helping the Huskies to extra opportunities as they shot 57% and out-rebounded Memphis, 34-27.

Daniels also had a couple of steals and blocked four shots. The Huskies were deadly down the stretch, hitting their final seven shots and going six-for-six from the foul line, turing a close game, that had multiple ties and lead changes, into a late runaway as Connecticut finished with its largest lead of the contest.

The Huskies will have another chance to gain recognition while making up ground in their conference when they host #18 Louisville on Saturday. A win over the Cardinals would almost certainly result in re-insertion of the Huskies into the top 25 rankings. After the Memphis win, they are 14-3, overall.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chaz Williams Saves 15-1 Minutemen in 88-87 Win at George Mason

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Massachusetts improved to 15-1 Wednesday, squeezing out a win at George Mason University, 88-87, thanks to some late-game heroics from Chaz Williams and game-high 26 points by their 5'9" senior star.

Down five points with 41 seconds left to play, Williams scored five quick points for the Minutemen while the Patriots could only muster one, but UMass still found themselves down by a point with time running out. A steal by Williams with 11 seconds left provided a breakaway chance, but Williams missed a contested layup, which was rebounded and put back by teammate Derrick Gordon for the one-point advantage.

The Patriots still had eight seconds with which to work, but could not get off a shot as time expired, sending the Patriots to their third straight Atlantic-10 loss without a win.

On the other hand, the Minutemen went to 3-0 with their first road win in conference play after topping St. Jpseph's and St. Bonaventure at home last week.

Tied for game-high scoring honors by Sherrod Wright of George Mason, Williams did much more than simply put the ball through the rim. He was 11-for-17 overall and 2-for-4 from three point range, adding a pair of free throws to his scoring total. In addition, he collected two rebounds, distributed eight assists and made five steals. It was the 14th time in 16 games that he's scored in double figures this season.

Ranked 16th in the current poll, the Minutemen have some nice wins on their resume, including victories over Boston College, New Mexico, Miami and BYU. Their only loss was to Florida State, a 60-55 defeat on December 21.

The next two weeks will be challenging for the Minutemen, as they have four of five games on the road, including conference games at Richmond and return match-ups at St. Joseph's and St. Bonaventure.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Michael Qualls OT Dunk Lifts Razorbacks Over Kentucky

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hosting the Kentucky Wildcats is always a big deal in the SEC, but, as the Arkansas Razorbacks proved Tuesday night, beating them is an even bigger thrill.

After James Young tied the game for the Wildcats with 12 seconds left in overtime, Michael Qualls grabbed the rebound off a three-point miss by teammate Rashad Madden and stuffed it home for the game-winner with one second on the clock, giving Arkansas their first conference win and a needed boost in the SEC with an 87-85 OT victory.

Qualls, a 6'6" sophomore from Shreveport, LA, was on the court for most of the game, logging 34 minutes, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals, but no play was more important than the game-finisher, getting good position to rebound the miss and put it back for the win.

A consistent scorer, Qualls has been in double figures in 14 of 16 Razorback games. On the night he was just 5-for-14 from the field, but canned seven of 11 free throws and played a big role on defense against the taller Kentucky team, helping to force 17 turnovers.

The Razorbacks took the win after back-to-back losses to open SEC play, losing at Texas A&M, 69-53, and falling in overtime to Florida at home on Saturday, 84-82. Arkansas is 12-4 overall.

The loss was the first in the conference for Kentucky, dropping them into a third-place tie with Georgia at 2-1. Florida leads with a 3-0 mark. Texas A&M is in second place, at 2-0.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas Rips Iowa State, 77-70; Goes to 3-0 in Big 12

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 13, 2014

Of all the freshmen making impacts in the NCAA this season, perhaps none is more intriguing than Ontario, Canada native, Andrew Wiggins of the Kansas Jayhawks.

Listed as a guard, at 6'8", there's no disguising the ability on the interior, as Wiggins displayed in many games this season, but most forcibly and recently in Monday's 77-70 victory on the road over #8 Iowa State, as the frosh phenom registered his second career double-double with 17 points and an amazing 19 rebounds.

While he didn't have his best game in terms of ball-handling - six turnovers - or shooting, Wiggins wiped the glass clean for Kansas, as the Jayhawks dominated their smaller opponents on the boards, 53-36. Wiggins had five on the offensive end and three assists, and, if he hadn't been inclined to shoot from long range - where he was just 1-for-5 - his overall shooting (7-for-16) wasn't that bad, 6-for-11 inside the arc.

The Jayhawks, ranked #15 in the nation, are still considered the class of the Big 12, despite their 12-4 record, as they're all alone atop the conference, at 3-0.

The competition, however, does not rest. Kansas next hosts #9 Oklahoma State on January 18, followed by another home game against #12 Baylor on the 20th.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Washington Huskies Top #15 Colorado on Career-High 31 Points from C.J. Wilcox

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 12, 2014

There's no absence of solid, deep conferences spread across the college hoops landscape, but the PAC-12 may just prove to be the deepest and most competitive of them all.

On Sunday, top-ranked Arizona (17-0) traveled to LA and snuffed USC, 73-53; Stanford played at #17 Oregon, handing the Ducks their third straight defeat, 82-80, and #15 Colorado, after topping Oregon, 100-91, last Sunday, was completely upended in their game at Washington, getting outscored 45-25 in the second half of a 71-54 win for the unranked Huskies.

Washington's win was largely the result of a career-high effort from 6'5" senior guard, C.J. Wilcox, who hit 12 of 18 shots from the floor, including seven of 12 from beyond the arc, for a game-high 31 points. Wilcox did not go to the foul line even once, though his teammates were sharp from the stripe, knocking down 10 of 12.

After scoring 10 first half points, Wilcox went on a tear in the second twenty minutes. The Buffaloes led, 29-26 at the break, but, after a Jaren Hopkins free throw put Colorado up by four, the Huskies went on a 24-9 run in which Wilcox scored 16 points, including four three-pointers, for a 53-39 lead with 12 minutes remaining, and were never headed afterwards.

When Wilcox hit his seventh three-pointer of the game with 6:47 left, Washington's advantage swelled to 18 points, the largest of the game. Fittingly, Wilcox ended the scoring for the Huskies with a steal, dunk and the last defensive rebound in the final minute, finishing with four rebounds, two assists, a pair of steals and four blocked shots.

The Huskies improved to 11-6 on the season, and a 3-1 mark in the conference. Next up for Washington is a trip to Cal, 3-0 in conference play, on January 15.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Marcus Smart Saves Oklahoma State in 73-72 Win at West Virginia

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 11, 2014

Marcus Smart scored 22 points for Oklahoma State as the Cowboys improved to 14-2 and 2-1 in the Big 12 with a 73-72 win at West Wirginia.

While Smart was above his scoring average of 17.8 ppg, some of his best court time was on plays in which he was either doing the dirty work inside, getting six offensive and seven defensive rebounds, or his five assists, the last of which was to Market Brown, who hit a three-pointer with 14 seconds left to gain the victory for the Cowboys.

Smart was on the floor for 35 minutes, hitting eight of 15 from the field including 3-for-4 on three-pointers. he made three of four free throws and kept the Cowboys in the game with his rebounding and court savvy.

The #11 Cowboys are tied with Iowa State, an 87-82 loser at Oklahoma on Sunday, at 2-1 in the conference, both chasing #18 Kansas, which hammered #25 Kansas State, 86-60, to improve to 2-0 in the Big 12 and 12-4 overall.

Elsewhere in college hoops, some of the big names barely escaped, as #5 Michigan State had to go to overtime to defeat Minnesota, 87-75, as did 17-0 Wichita State, taking down Missouri State, 72-69, in OT.

#2 Syracuse shot just 35%, but easily handled North Carolina at the Carrier Dome, winning, 57-45, but the Duke Blue Devils were stunned by Clemson, 72-59.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Billy Baron Scores Career-High 38 to Lead Canisius over Rider in 2OT

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 10, 2014

There were no Top 25 teams in action Friday night, and, only seven games played in all of division 1, but that didn't deter Billy Baron from putting on an offensive show, scoring a career-high 38 points to lead the Canisius Golden Griffins to a 91-94, double overtime win over the Rider Broncs.

The nation's sixth-leading scorer at 22.7 points per game, Baron got his team into overtime by scoring the final four points in regulation, then kept the Griffins' hopes alive with a three-point play with 12 seconds left in the first overtime, and scored 11 of Canisius' 13 points in the second overtime, including a pair of three-pointers, the last of which broke a 91-91 tie with one second left, for the win.

Baron was 11-for-19 from the field, including 4-for-10 from beyond the arc. He canned 12 of 13 free throws and had seven rebounds, helping the Golden Griffins to a share of first place in the MAAC, along with Manhattan, Iona and Quinnipiac, all at 4-1.

Rider fell a game back, at 3-2, along with Sienna. The Golden Griffins next host Monmouth on Sunday, January 12.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Freshman Jordan Mathews Scores Career-High 32 Points as Cal Dunks Ducks, 96-83

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 10, 2014

Just a few days ago, #17 Oregon was undefeated (13-0) and had a conference win already in the books, but after losing their first game of the season Sunday at Colorado, the Cal Bears came into Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon and dunked the Ducks, 96-83, as the PAC-12 begins to look like a deep and crowded conference.

All five Cal starters scored in double figures, led by freshman guard, Jordan Mathews, who pumped in an amazing 32 points. In 38 minutes of floor time, Mathews was 10-14 from the field, hitting three of four threes, and 9-for-9 from the foul line. He had five rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Mathews, who scored just two points in Cal's 69-62 win over Stanford this past Thursday, has been coming off the bench and starting occasionally in his freshman year. His previous high was 22 points in a loss to UC Santa Barbara.

Cal improved to 11-4 with the win and is 2-0 in the conference. The Bears took a 46-42 lead into half time, but fell behind, 52-49, five minutes into the second half. The game remained tight until Mathews hit a three-pointer with 4:59 left, putting the Bears up 79-74, and Cal outscored Oregon, 17-9 in the final five minutes for the win.

Cal out-shot Oregon, 53% to 41% and won the battle on the boards, 36-30. The Bears also shared the ball well, with 21 assists, 11 by point guard, Justin Cobbs.

The Golden Bears are 1/2 game behind PAC-12 co-leaders Arizona and Colorado, both 3-0, and play their third straight road game, Saturday, at Oregon State.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Kentucky Cruises By Mississippi State on James Young's 26 Points and 10 Rebounds

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kentucky is loaded with talented freshmen. Getting them to play together as a cohesive unit is the goal of coach John Calipari, whose task becomes much easier when freshman guard, James Young, steps up and scores 26 points, snatches 10 rebounds, dishes five assists and makes a couple of steals, as he did Wednesday night at Rupp Arena.

Young's efforts propelled the Wildcats to a 85-63 blowout of visiting Mississippi State in their initial SEC game of the season.

Not particularly shapr from beyond the arc, Young hit just three of 10 three-pointers, but was 5-for-8 on two-point shots and dumped in seven of nine from the foul line, matching his career high and notching his second straight double-double.

Mississippi State led at the half, 40-37, but the Wildcats went on a 17-7 out of the break to take over the game and run away for the win. The Bulldogs dropped to 10-4; Kentucky improved to 11-3 overall.

The Wildcats embark on a two game road trip next, heading to Vanderbilt on the 11th and Arkansas on the 14th. Both the Commodores and Razorbacks are 0-1 in SEC play.

Around the Top 25, #4 Wisconsin used a first half, 20-point run to bury #23 Illinois, 95-70; #6 Wichita State matched the Badgers at 16-0 with a 66-47 win over Illinois State; #11 Oklahoma State topped Texas, 87-74; and, #8 Villanova cruised past Seton Hall, 83-67, the Wildcats improving to 14-1, their only loss to Syracuse.

#13 San Diego State held on for a 69-66 win over Boise State, but #21 Missouri was not as fortunate, losing to Georgia, 70-64, in overtime.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

DeAndre Kane Pours in 30 as Iowa State Douses Baylor, 87-72

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Iowa State set a school record with its 14th straight win as the Cyclones whipped Baylor, 87-72, in Big 12 action Tuesday night.

Ranked #9 in the latest AP poll, Iowa State took a two-point lead (40-38) into half time, but found themselves behind by two points early in the second half, 42-40. A 12-5 run by the Cyclones, in which DeAndre Kane scored six straight points, gave Iowa State the lead for good with 15 minutes left to play, eventually leading by as many as 21 points.

Kane, a fifth-year senior transfer from Marshall, led all scorers with 30 points, adding eight rebounds, nine assists and five steals, helping the Cyclones run away from the Bears in the second half. Averaging 16.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists, Kane is one of the best all-around players in the collegiate ranks and a huge reason the Cyclones are 14-0. He has scored in double figures in 12 of 14 games and has five double-doubles. His 30 points was a season high.

The win gave home-standing Iowa State a 2-0 mark in the Big 12, while handing the 12-2 Bears a loss in their first conference game of the season.

Elsewhere in the Top 25 ranks, #2 Syracuse improved to 15-0 with a 72-52 victory at Virginia Tech, #5 Michigan State had to go to overtime at home to take down #3 Ohio State, 72-68, Rodney Hood scored 27 points to lead #16 Duke to a 79-57 win over Georgia Tech, and #25 Kansas State topped TCU, 64-47.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Z. Mason Lifts Chattanooga over Citadel with 26 Second Half Points

College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 6, 2014

Saddled with two early fouls, Z. Mason got off to a slow start, but his second half outburst carried the Mocs to an 82-78 victory at the Citadel.

Mason, Chattanooga's leading scorer and rebounder, hit just two of nine shots and ended the first half with four points, well below his 19.1 ppg average. His poor shooting and lack of scoring helped Citadel to a 42-34 lead at the break.

The second half would prove to be a different story, as Mason, a 6'6" senior forward, led the Mocs back, scoring 26 of his 30 points in the final 20 minutes, also wiping the glass with abandon for a game-high 14 boards.

After his horribly slow start, in the second half, Mason was 8-for-12 from the field with a pair of threes. He also hit eight of nine from the foul line and finished the game with two assists, two steals and three blocked shots. It was Mason's fifth straight double-double and sixth of the season.

After tying the game at 60-all midway through the half, the Mocs and the Citadel exchanged leads, with Chattanooga finally going up for good at 79-78 on a Casey Jones jumper with 50 seconds left to play. A Greg Pryor free throw and two more by Mason with time running down sealed the deal, helping the Mocs even their record at 8-8 and remain tied with Western Carolina at 2-0 in the Southern Conference.

The Mocs return home on January 9, hosting the Samford Bulldogs (6-11, 0-2).

Monday, January 06, 2014

Led by Kyle Anderson, UCLA Routs USC, 107-73

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, January 5, 2014

Opening their PAC-12 schedule at home against their cross-town rivals, USC, the UCLA Bruins sent a statement to the rest of the conference with a runaway, 107-73 home win over the Trojans.

The Bruins were led by prodigious, 6'9" sophomore, Kyle Anderson, who led the Bruins in points, assists and rebounds, registering a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. His five assists were matched by USC's Julian Jacobs.

Though he misfired on both attempts from three-point range, Anderson was 10-for-14 from the field, adding three points from the foul line. Anderson didn't start scoring until nearly five minutes into the game, but his jumper at 15:23 in the first half put the Bruins up 11-2, and they never looked back.

USC made a game of it for the first ten minutes of the first half, cutting the Bruins' lead to three points midway through, at 21-18, but UCLA went on a 18-5 run over the next five minutes, Anderson pitching in eight points. By half time, the Bruins led 56-34, and didn't let up, even though they emptied their bench in the second half, outscoring USC, 51-39, cruising to the win.

With their initial conference win tucked away, the Bruins expect a challenge when they next hold court at Pauley Pavilion, hosting top-ranked Arizona on Thursday, January 9 at 6:00 pm PT.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Notre Dame Stuns #7 Duke, 79-77, Behind 19 Points, 11 Assists from Eric Atkins

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, January 4, 2014

Duke's Rodney Hood scored a game-high 27 points and Quinn Cook added 22, but Eric Atkins led Notre Dame with 19 points and 11 assists as the Fighting Irish knocked off #7 Duke, Saturday at South Bend, Indiana.

The game was the first for Notre Dame as a member of the ACC, the conference long dominated by the Blue Devils and Tar Heels of North Carolina, and the Irish proved worthy, taking the lead at 65-64 with 5:31 left on an Atkins free throw and clinging to the slim lead down the stretch for the 79-77 victory.

The Irish led by as many as six points in the late stages of the game, but Duke continued to claw back, cutting the lead to one on several occasions, but with 1:23 left, Atkins scored on a layup to put Notre Dame ahead, 74-71, and, after a pair of Quinn Cook free throws, assisted on a jumper by Garrick Sherman, again putting the Irish up by three.

Atkins, a 6'2" senior guard from Columbia, MD, played 38 minutes for the Irish, hitting seven of 13 shots from the field and five of eight from the foul line. More important than his scoring was his deft ball-handling, as he assisted on 11 Notre Dame baskets.

Normally, it's Duke which shares the ball better, but Atkins helped Notre Dame lead the Blue Devils in assists, 18-8. The Irish defense was also central to the win, blocking six Duke shots and out-rebounding the visitors, 39-30. Notre Dame also out-shot Duke, 53-41%.

Duke fell to 11-3 while Notre Dame improved to 10-4. The Irish continue ACC play with a visit from NC State on Tuesday, January 7.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Mount St. Mary's Rips Norfolk State Behind 31 Points from Julian Norfleet

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 3, 2014

Julian Norfleet scored a career-high 31 points to lead Mount St. Mary's to a 104-84 victory at Norfolk State.

The win was just the fourth of the season for the Mountaineers, against nine losses and their first road win in nine tries.

Just over four minutes into the game, Norfleet made the first of his four three-pointers to break an 11-all tie. The Mountaineers led the rest of the game, opening a 59-37 bulge by half time. Norfleet accounted for 15 points in the first half and knocked down another 16 in the second half as the Mountaineers cruised.

Norfleet, a 6'2" senior, was 11-for-13, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. He knocked down five of eight free throws and also had the presence to dish out 10 assists, snag three rebounds and make four steals.

Mount St. Mary's non-conference record of 4-9 may be misleading for the team from the Northeast Conference (NEC) which went 11-7 in the NEC last season and lost a chance to go to the NCAA tournament when they dropped the conference tourney final to LIU-Brooklyn, 91-70.

With the bulk of their games the season on the road, the Mountaineers played a heady schedule with losses at some tough venues, including West Virginia, BYU, Villanova, Michigan State, Penn State and Texas Tech. The team looks forward to starting conference play, which begins with their next game, at Farleigh Dickenson, January 9.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Pepperdine Makes Waves in WCC with Forward Brendan Lane

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Waves of Pepperdine University will attempt to make a splash in the West Coast Conference this season, already tied for first place with Gonzaga at 3-0 after ripping Santa Clara Thursday night, 70-61.

With their fourth win a in row, the Waves improved to 10-5 on the season, thanks in large part to the addition of senior Brendan Lane, a graduate transfer who spent three years at UCLA, missing all of last season, uniting with Pepperdine as a starting forward.

Lane has been a force inside and filled up the stat sheets against Santa Clara, leading the charge by tying his career high with 26 points and adding 17 rebounds, also a personal, single game best. Lane was 10-for-15 from the floor and hit six of eight free throws. He also had two assists, four blocked shots and a steal.

Pepperdine led 38-33 at the half and were up by as many as nine points, but led 60-59 with four minutes left in the game. The Waves finished on a 10-2 run to close out the Broncos, who are 8-8 overall and 1-2 in the WCC.

Looking ahead, the Waves host Gonzaga - currently ranked #24 - on January 16 and play at the Bulldogs on February 13.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Willis Hall Goes for 26 Points and 21 Rebounds as Charlotte Downs Davidson

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Willis Hall played all 40 minutes, and made every one of them worthwhile, as he and his fellow Charleston Cougars visited Davidson and handed the Wildcats a 76-64 defeat.

Hall, who has shown a propensity to dominate in the paint, had an absolutely monster game, scoring 26 points and wiping the boards for 21 rebounds, both career highs for the 6'6" senior from Charlotte, NC. It was his fourth double-double of the season.

4-10 Davidson, suffering from a lack of beef inside, had no method to counter or slow down Hall, who was 10-for-14 from the field and 5-for-8 at the foul line. 15 of his 18 rebounds were on the offensive end, providing putback and additional opportunities for his teammates.

The Cougars were hot from the field, hitting 61% of their shots while holding Davidson shooters to just 39%. Charleston also out-rebounded the Wildcats, 39-27, thanks largely to the relentless activity on the boards by Hall.

Winners of three of their last four, Charleston evened their record at 7-7. They face Howard University at home on January 4th, prior to the start of conference play in the Colonial Athletic against James Madison, January 7.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Ohio State Improves to 14-0 Behind LaQuinton Ross' 25 Points and 12 Rebounds

College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ohio State ended 2013 with a perfect 14-0 record and started their Big Ten campaign with a 78-69 win over Purdue Tuesday afternoon.

With time winding down on the year, the Buckeyes traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana to quiet the 13,000+ partisan crowd, dropping the Boilermakers to 10-4 on the season.

Junior forward LaQuinton Ross had his best game of the season, scoring 25 points to go with 12 rebounds, his third straight double-double and fourth of the year. Ross set a career-high in scoring, hitting eight of 17 from the field and nine of 11 from the charity stripe. Five of his 12 rebounds were of the offensive variety, though despite his work on the boards, the Buckeyes were badly out-rebounded by Purdue, 46-37. Center A.J. Hammonds accounted for 16 of Purdue's rebounds, to go with his 18 points, which paced the Boilermakers.

The Buckeyes are ranked #3 in the latest AP poll, behind Arizona and Syracuse. The win was just their second on the road this season. On November 16, Ohio State trampled Marquette, 52-35.

Ohio State hosts Nebraska on January 4th. On the 7th, they travel to play at #5 Michigan State.