- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 hr ago
Sometimes it seems like San Diego State's win streak when ahead with five minutes to go is sheer sorcery.
How else can you explain how the Aztecs extended the streak to 161 on Saturday in a game they trailed by five with less than 20 seconds to go?
San Diego State restored hope when Winston Shepard cut the deficit to three with a driving layup and New Mexico turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound play. Then Malik Pope scored his only basket of the night and the biggest basket of his career, a deep 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left that sent the game into overtime and enabled the Aztecs to escape with a 78-71 victory.
The streak is a source of great pride for San Diego State (18-6, 11-0), but far more was at stake Saturday in a matchup between the Mountain West's top two teams.
The Aztecs all but locked up the Mountain West title, opening up a 3.5-game lead over the Lobos with only seven games left to play. They also took another step toward atoning for a poor non-league performance in which they only beat one of the four major-conference opponents on their schedule and suffered damaging losses against Grand Canyon, Arkansas Little Rock and San Diego.
- The Dagger1 hr ago
The Big Ten showdown between No. 18 Purdue and No. 4 Maryland on Saturday figured to be won by the team that could maximize its strengths. For the Boilermakers, that is interior scoring and rebounding and for the Terrapins it's guard play.
Maryland came out on top 72-61 remaining in contention for the regular season league championship not only because the backcourt of Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon played well but also because of the unexpected contribution behind the 3-point line from forward Robert Carter.
While his teammates combined to go 0-for-12 behind the arc, Carter knocked down four of the six 3-point attempts he tried and it proved to be one of two ways in which the Terrapins won the game.Carter finished the game 19 points and Sulaimon and Trimble combined to score 35. Trimble also dished seven assists.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger2 hrs ago
It has been a difficult season already at Nebraska and things took another bad turn Saturday when senior Shavon Shields, the heart and soul of coach Tim Miles' team, took a scary tumble over an opponent landing on his head and neck and had to be taken from the court on a stretcher.
The injury occured with 8 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the Cornhuskers' 87-63 victory when Shields leaped to attempt to block a shot from Rutgers' forward D.J. Foreman, who pumped faked to get Shields in the air. Shields came down on top of Foreman rolling over him and hitting the floor hard on his head, neck and shoulders.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger4 hrs ago
In 22 previous games this season, Villanova forward Darryl Reynolds had never scored more than six points.
He more than tripled his season high Saturday in the Wildcats' impressive 72-60 road victory at 11th-ranked Providence.
With Villanova's starting center Daniel Ochefu sidelined for a third straight game as a result of a concussion, Reynolds started in his place and scored 19 points on 9-for-10 shooting. Most of Reynolds' baskets came around the the rim on layups, tip-ins and deft back-to-the-basket post moves.
Nine of Reynolds' points came in the opening five minutes of the second half, enabling Villanova to extend its lead to 15 and give itself enough of a cushion to survive Providence's attempt to rally. Reynolds also had 10 rebounds and two blocks, helping the Wildcats remain alone in first place in the Big East and avenge their lone league loss of the season.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger5 hrs ago
George Washington already had some nice wins on its resume prior to Saturday, but the Colonials injected themselves into the NCAA Tournament discussion in a big way winning on the road at A-10 Conference leader VCU in a 72-69 game that came down to the final possession.
Melvin Johnson had a chance to win the game in the final seconds for VCU, but he airballed a 3-pointer. Kory Billbury grabbed the offensive rebound with two seconds remaining but missed a tying layup attempt. Joe McDonald, who had given George Washington the lead a minute earlier with a 3-pointer, hit a free throw with less than a second remaining for the final point of the game.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger1 day ago
Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes, an Ohio native, could have attended Ohio State if he wanted to. He had a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes three years ago when he ultimately decided to be a Badger.
So it's not as if Hayes approached a reporter's question Thursday night with any hard feelings after scoring 21 points to help beat the Buckeyes. But Hayes has a fun personality and great sense of humor and it served him well in offering a response when asked what the game means to him and what he thought when Wisconsin had three Ohio players on the floor at one point and OSU had none.
Nigel Hayes with the mic drop on Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/xBCY4VHv66
"Nah, I'm cool," Hayes said with a wry smile. "I mean, they got the guys they wanted. I'll take my two Final Fours and my wins and I'll carry on my merry way."
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
The most relieved man at Gill Coliseum on Thursday night had to be Oregon State's Jarmal Reid.
The ill-advised foul Reid committed in the final seconds didn't cost the Beavers a win because an opposing player subsequently made an even dumber mistake.
When Utah's Jordan Loveridge drew a foul on Reid and sank three consecutive free throws, the Utes moved in front by a single point with 2.2 seconds left. It seemed Utah was going to escape Corvallis with a victory until Utes' guard Brandon Taylor fouled Oregon State's Stephen Thompson as he went up for a half-court heave at the buzzer.
Referees reviewed the play for several minutes before ruling that Taylor's foul occurred with one tenth of a second left in the game. Thompson then calmly hit all three free throws, giving Oregon State a memorable 71-69 victory.
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger1 day ago
It has been a little more than three weeks since Wisconsin dropped three consecutive games and forward Nigel Hayes was compelled to address his teammates in the locker room asking them to take a deep look at themselves and this season. It would be over-simplifying to suggest the Badgers have since won five straight because of Hayes’ pep talk, but it can’t be ignored either. The message Hayes conveyed to his teammates Jan. 12 after a loss at Northwestern might not have resonated as well as it seems to have if he didn’t back it up with his play on the court.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger1 day ago
The SEC's biggest underachiever showed how good it can be when playing up to its potential.
Vanderbilt throttled first-place Texas A&M 77-60 on Thursday night, securing its first win over a Top 25 team in four years and sending a message that it's still capable of a late-season NCAA tournament push despite its previous struggles.
At 13-9 overall and 5-4 in the SEC, Vanderbilt is a quintessential bubble team, one whose NCAA tournament fate will be determined by how it plays the next five weeks. The Commodores have played a tough schedule but they don't have much to show for it, having only beaten Texas A&M and Florida among the nine RPI top 50 opponents they've faced.
What could help Vanderbilt is its upcoming schedule is favorable enough that the Commodores could build some February momentum. They face Ole Miss, Missouri, Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia during the next 16 days before the SEC schedule stiffens once again the final two weeks of the regular season.
Vanderbilt will win all those games if it plays at the level it did Thursday.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger2 days ago
It took one of the college basketball season's most cleverly designed plays for UC Irvine to avoid an upset on Wednesday night at Cal Poly.
With his team trailing by three and needing to traverse the length of the floor in 4.1 seconds, UC Irvine coach Russell Turner instructed guard Dominique Dunning to throw a baseball pass to 7-foot-6 center Mamadou N'Diaye standing on the left wing. It was Turner's hope that N'Diaye's height would allow him to catch a pinpoint pass cleanly and draw the attention of multiple defenders.
Two defenders rushed at N'Diaye as he caught the ball. N'Diaye threw a skip pass to a wide-open Jaron Martin spotted up on the other wing. The 38 percent 3-point shooter sank the game-tying jumper, enabling UC Irvine to force overtime and escape with a 78-72 victory.