College basketball scores: Kentucky and Stony Brook win the weekend
The two biggest wins of the weekend in college basketball came from the unanimous No. 1 team in the country, and the Stony Brook Seawolves.
TOP 25 RECAP
No. 1 Kentucky 58, No. 4 Louisville 50
No. 6 Wisconsin 68, Buffalo 56
No. 8 Gonzaga 87, BYU 80
Stony Brook 62, No. 13 Washington 57
No. 15 Maryland 72, Oakland 56
No. 17 St. John’s 82, Tulane 57
No. 20 North Carolina 89, UAB 58
No. 21 Ohio State 100, Wright State 55
No. 23 Northern Iowa 74, South Dakota State 63
No. 24 Colorado State 58, New Mexico State 57 (OT)
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 1 Kentucky 58, No. 4 Louisville 50
It’s rare to see a high-profile game play out in a manner similar to the one that a majority of experts forecasted, but that’s exactly what happened in Louisville on Saturday.
The top two defensive teams in college basketball flexed their muscles on that end of the floor, the Cardinals hung with their arch-rivals for most of the game, but ultimately Kentucky’s superior talent allowed it to make the plays it needed to in order to remain unbeaten.
The most interesting aspect of the game, to me at least, wasn’t the low-scoring or the fact that Louisville finished with just one assist, it was the continuing star push of UK freshman point guard Tyler Ulis. Put simply, Ulis looked like the best player on the court Saturday. He was the player John Calipari turned to in crunch time, and the guy who responded by hitting three huge jumpers at a time when no one else seemed able to get an open look to fall.
With 7:24 left in the game, Ulis made arguably the most important shot in the game, a 3-pointer which crushed Louisville’s momentum and put the Cats ahead by 8. Everyone on the Kentucky bench rose in unison to applaud the huge hit. Everyone except starting point guard Andrew Harrison. A few moments later, Harrison was berated by Calipari for not staying in the team huddle.
Get used to it, Wildcats. When you’re hunting perfection, these are the types of things everyone is going to focus on.
UPSET OF THE WEEKEND: Stony Brook 62, No. 13 Washington 57
Crazy things tend to happen (and fly under-the-radar) during college basketball’s holiday week, and none was crazier than Washington squandering a late lead and tasting defeat for the first time at the hands of … Stony Brook. The small team from the America East traveled 3,000 miles to play the game, and flew home with a win they believe ranks at the top of the program’s resume.
“This is our biggest win in program history,” said star Jameel Warney, who hit the shoot that put the Seawolves ahead for good. “It give us more confidence as the season go on.”
Stony Brook held Washington scoreless for the final 3:41 of the game, and ended things on a 17-2 run. It was just the Seawolves’ second win over a power conference team, joining a 2006 victory over Penn State.
Washington had been just one win away from getting off to the best start in their 13 years under head coach Lorenzo Romar. The loss also kept the Huskies, who begin conference play on Friday against California, from completing a perfect non-conference season.
“Mentally, we just weren’t there,” Romar said. “And with so much at stake, you wonder why not. Obviously, me as the head coach, should have had our guys better prepared to go out and finish this up, but I didn’t do a good enough job, obviously.”
THREE GREAT WINS
Georgetown 91, Indiana 87 (OT)
Lost in the hubbub created by Louisville-Kentucky was the superbness of the game that preceded it on ESPN2.
Both Georgetown and Indiana were looking for one more solid non-conference win to add to their resume before the start of the new year, and the Hoyas were the team that secured it thanks to Josh Smith’s inside dominance and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s late-game heroics.
Indiana led by double-digits at one point, but the lead never felt greater than a possession or two when watching how easily Georgetown was getting what it wanted on the offensive end. For all the talent the Hoosiers have, they don’t have much of a shot of making the NCAA Tournament if they don’t commit more of themselves to defense during the Big 10 portion of the season than they have for the past seven weeks. That shouldn’t be too difficult considering IU hasn’t appeared to commit any part of itself to keeping its opponents from scoring so far.
For Georgetown, this was their third win in six games against top 100 teams. All six of those games came down to the final minute, a fact which should provide some meaningful experience for a group that figures to find itself in that position at least a few more times now that Big East play is here.
No. 8 Gonzaga 87, BYU 80
I have a problem with the WCC.
For the past few seasons, the league has scheduled one of its biggest conference games (and there aren’t that many to pick from) during winter break. This move has ensured that a solid chunk of the home team’s students would not be able to attend the game, thus diminishing the environment for what should be a spotlight game for the league. It’s happened in each of the past two seasons with one of the Gonzaga/Saint Mary’s tilts, and that should never be the case.
Anyway, Gonzaga went to BYU on Saturday to face likely the toughest test it’ll get in conference play … on Dec. 27. Again, I’m not happy about this.
The Bulldogs hit six of their final 10 3-point attempts and got 24 points from Kyle Wiltjer and 21 from Kevin Pangos to rally from a late deficit and pull of the win. The play of the Gonzaga duo overshadowed the brilliance of BYU point guard Kyle Collinsworth, who finished witha triple-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Green Bay 78, Georgia State 61
The two mid-major powers met for the second time this season, and the result was basically the complete opposite of Georgia State’s 72-48 romp on Dec. 4.
While playing twice seemed like a cool idea heading into the season, I’m not sure it didn’t do more harm than good for both teams. The Phoenix and Panthers both entered the year with dreams potentially earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in case something unforeseen happened in their league tourney, and I’m not sure blowing out and getting blown out by the other did anything to help that cause.
We already knew both of these teams were good, I’m not sure we needed them to prove it by pounding on one another before the turn of the calendar.
THREE BAD LOSSES
No. 24 Colorado State 58, New Mexico State 57 (OT)
There weren’t many atrocious losses over the weekend, so Colorado State gets a nod here for a game it won. We’ll justify it by classifying this as a loss in national perception
There were plenty of folks who believed that Larry Eustachy’s team, despite being undefeated, didn’t deserve its national ranking last week. Those folks are likely chirping even louder after the Rams were pushed to the brink by 5-9 New Mexico State.
J.J. Avila’s lay-up with 31 seconds left moved Colorado State to 13-0, the best start in program history. They’ll face an even stiffer test on Wednesday night when they open Mountain West play at home against Boise State.
Texas Southern 58, Kansas State 56
Eight days after stunning No. 25 Michigan State, Texas Southern did it again by scoring four points in less than a second (yes, a second) to stun Kansas State on its home floor. Chris Thomas put back a missed shot to tie the game at 56 with 0.9 seconds to play, and then Jason Carter stole an errant inbounds pass and buried a jumper as time expired.
Bring on the Cats, your thoughts?
Arizona State 56, Harvard 46
Harvard has been a bit of a disappointment thus far, which makes it hard to view this as a “bad” loss, but it’s still likely a loss that dealt a death blow to the Crimson’s already extremely bleak at-large bid hopes. The Crimson will need to dominate the Ivy League’s 14-game tournament for a third straight year to have a hope at winning yet another game in the big dance.
DUNK OF THE WEEKEND
Let’s go Indiana’s Troy Williams because of degree of difficulty.
PLAYER OF THE WEEKEND: Christian Wood, UNLV
After a sparkling performance in the team’s upset of Arizona earlier in the week, Wood scored 22 points and snagged 14 rebounds to help the Rebs avoid a letdown performance against Southern Utah.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown - Dropped 29 points, the majority of which came after the break, to lead the Hoyas past Indiana in overtime.
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU - Produced a triple-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in the Cougars’ home loss to Gonzaga …. which should have been played later in the season.
Martez Harrison, UMKC - Scored 34 in the Kangaroos’ 73-70 double overtime win over Indiana State.
Jameel Warney, Stony Brook - The Seawolves star didn’t have his best shooting performance of the season, but he did hit the biggest shot of the game and registered 15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks to spearhead the biggest win in program history.
Michael Qualls, Arkansas – Scored 28 points and snagged 7 rebounds in a Razorback win over Northwestern State where defense was optional.