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.

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.