DATE: Monday, Dec. 8
A+ — Florida
Florida had been among the nation's most disappointing teams so far this season. Yale had just toppled defending national champion UConn in its last game. So clearly it was a potential upset when the Gators and Bulldogs met, right? Not so much.
Florida pounded Yale 85-47, opening up a 10-point lead after 11 minutes, a 20-point lead after 17 minutes and a 49-point lead by the six-minute mark of the second half. The only meaningful aspect of the whole game was mercurial sophomore forward Chris Walker putting together back-to-back quality games, following up a solid showing against Kansas with 13 points and 6 rebounds off the bench against the Bulldogs.
Florida needs that active, energetic version of Walker to show up more often. The Gators are still only 4-4 with games against Wake Forest, UConn and Florida State still remaining prior to the start of SEC play.
B- — SMU
With Nic Moore sidelined for most of the second half after banging knees with a defender, SMU needed other players to step up against visiting UC Santa Barbara. Thankfully for the Mustangs, wing Keith Frazier and big man Yanick Moreira came through.
Frazier and Moreira combined for 35 points as SMU edged UCSB 80-73 in overtime. The Gauchos rallied from five points down in the final 30 seconds of regulation to force the extra session, but an 8-0 Mustangs run put the game away.
The odd thing was that UCSB was able to make the game close despite getting little production out of star forward Alan Williams. He fouled out with nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks on 4 of 14 shooting, but guards Michael Bryson and Gabe Vincent picked up the slack with a combined 40 points.
F — Providence
Providence is backsliding faster than a fat kid sledding uphill. The Friars have spoiled a 6-0 start with a three-game losing streak that began with a predictable loss to Kentucky and continued with unexpected setbacks against Boston College and Brown.
Monday night's 77-67 loss to Brown was by far the most surprising outcome. The Bears (5-6) had lost to every remotely good team they had faced prior to upsetting the Friars. Their only wins had come against Saint Peter's, Prairie View A&M, Bryant and something called Johnson and Wales.
Providence got 16 points apiece from Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton, but collectively the Friars did not shoot well from the field. Five Brown players scored in double figures as the Bears led for the final 8:38 of the second half.
F — Binghamton
An already humbling start to the season for Binghamton got worse Monday night when the Bearcats sunk to a new low. They fell 63-52 to Caldwell University, a New Jersey-based Division II program with a modest 6-4 record so far this season.
What led to Monday's loss was Binghamton's inability to hit anything from the perimeter against a packed-in defense designed to take away the paint. Thirty-four of the Bearcats' 55 shots were threes and they made just 11 of them, ice-cold shooting that led to a 16-point first half and an inability to cut into a second-half deficit that mostly remained in double figures.
Expectations were low for Binghamton after a 23-loss season a year ago, but the Bearcats so far have managed to lower the bar. They're 1-9 with losses to Cornell, Army and Navy and a lone win against Division II Hartwick College.
• Alas, Incarnate Word is not going 40-0. The nation's most unlikely unbeaten team fell for the first time on Monday night, suffering an 81-65 loss at UTEP. Incarnate Word had been a deceptive 5-0 with four wins over Division II programs sandwiched around an 11-point road victory at Princeton.
• Convincing bounce-back wins for Miami and Purdue. The Hurricanes blasted Savannah State 70-39 after falling to Green Bay. The Boilermakers outclassed IPFW 63-43 after falling to North Florida.
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