Night Court: Aaric Murray scores 48, most in college hoops this season
The well-traveled Texas Southern forward played in his hometown of Philadelphia on Wednesday and helped his team to a nice win. That, and other action here in Night Court.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Wednesday, and we have no answers for Bob Knight's wardrobe …
Game of the Night: Texas is outperforming expectations.
North Carolina was the first ranked opponent of the season for Texas, a young team that's rebuilding and playing better than most outside of Austin gave it credit for. The Longhorns leave Chapel Hill as a 10-1 team after an 86-83 win. We could make this about UNC, but I've got a good feeling the Heels will be up and down all year, the type of team that won't put together a five-game winning streak. They'll probably be a 5 seed come March and a fun, impossible-to-predict club. But we've written plenty on UNC on this site, and will again later in the week.
For Texas, what a win. Rick Barnes has to be breathing beautiful air tonight, getting a win like that on the road with a team that probably still needs help tying its shoes. Fortunately the Horns have some interior presence, and that's making a lot of the difference this year. UT snagged 67.4 percent of UNC's misses and snatched 43 percent of its own, far outpacing UNC on both ends.
In 37 minutes Isaiah Taylor had a team-high 16 points, but three other Longhorns scored between 12-15. The foul situation was rough. Fifty-five in all. Next up is a home game against Michigan State. If UT manages to win that one? Oh, boy.
Winning shot of the night: LIU-Brooklyn beat Lamar 82-79 thanks to a winning shot from Gerrell Martin, his second straight game with the big bucket to give his team the W. The Blackbirds won with just eight scholarship players dressed.
That’s a good win: Don't look now, but N.C. State is 8-2.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack have won six in a row and have to be quite proud after going to Knoxville and knocking off Tennessee 65-58. Beginning to believe I was wrong about the Volunteers, a group I thought could be along the lines of a 5 or 6 seed this year. The Vols are now 6-4.
The Wolfpack earned their first road victory of the year by forcing some really bad shots for Tennessee. It also helped that Thompson-Boling was something of a quiet cocktail party. A lot of students checked out for winter break, and State took advantage.
The Huskies played in Hartford Wednesday night and weren't ready. Unbeaten until tonight, UConn allowed the Cardinal to keep the game low-scoring and didn't look at all like the team that outlasted Florida at home less than two weeks ago. What's even more surprising, Shabazz Napier passed up a potential winning shot by opting to give the ball to Omar Calhoun, who's 3-point attempt as time expired was way off the mark.
52-51, Stanford. Weird. Chasson Randle, a guy I lobbied to be on our top-100 players list in the preseason, went for a game-high 22 in addition to five rebounds. The Cardinal D forced UConn into an abysmal 19-for-60 performance. (Stanford wasn't much better, going 21-60.) Huskies fans are hoping the team can shake this one off and attribute it to pre-Christmas distractions.
The Cardinal is now 8-2 and has a somewhat decent shot at getting to nine wins before flying back West; a game against Michigan at Barclays Center this weekend looms. The Wolverines are in need of a strong performance, and certainly are struggling right now.
Players with impact
- Aaric Murray was always viewed as a talent, but also a headache. He gave Texas Southern quite a performance on Wednesday, scoring 48 -- the highest in college hoops so far this year -- and also scoring the most on Temple in Owls history. The game ended 90-89, meaning the 4-7 Tigers needed every one of Murray's points.
- We mentioned T.J. Warren above. And we're mentioning him again here. He hasn't scored less than 20 in a game since Nov. 20 -- which is the last time the Wolfpack lost.
- Tree Treadwell had 22 and 13 for Akron in the Zips' 79-60 win over Detroit. Akron's played just seven games so far.
- Halil Kanacevic had 27 points and 14 rebounds for Saint Joseph's in the team's 75-55 win over Drexel.
- Marshall Henderson had 26 points to lead Ole Miss to a 75-62 win over Louisiana-Monroe.
Numbers to figure
100: San Diego State has won 100 games in a row when leading with less than five minutes to go. Via.
51.1: North Carolina foul shooting percentage Wednesday night, the single biggest factor for its loss.
13: How many years it's been since N.C. State won a game on the road against a traditional "Big Six" conference team by more than seven ponts. Via.
12: The number of teams remaining without a loss. Keep up to date with all of them here.
11: The number of games Ohio State has won by double digits. Happened again on Wednesday, a 76-64 win over Delaware. OSU still unbeaten.
Other outcomes of note:
- Almost had to give a big write-up on Baylor losing a home game to a 4-5 team, but overtime allowed the Bears to beat Northwestern State 91-84 and improve to 9-1. Kenny Chery had 20 points and 10 assists, 12 of those points coming in the free session. I really love watching that guy play. Baylor got itself into trouble by playing weak on the interior -- despite NWSU's relative lack of size.
- A good mid-major matchup from Wednesday: Saint Louis vs. Indiana State. ISU is probably No. 2 in the Valley behind Wichita State. But SLU smashed the Sycs, winning 83-66. Billikens are now a 10-win team.
- UMass is now a 10-0 team after slapping around Ohio on the road and winning 83-71. Chaz Williams had 11 points and 11 assists. Good balance over from UMass on Wednesday night, and that's a good sign.
- UAB is now a 9-2 team after winning 67-52 over Chattanooga. If the Blazers beat LSU on Saturday, UNC's loss to Texas will sting a little less -- because UAB will grow to a "good loss" in the short-term.
- SMU is also 9-2 (beat Texas-Pan American 82-56), but the non-con SOS hovers near the 300 range, so we won't know what to make of Larry Brown's team until it gets to conference play in the AAC.
- LSU had a tricky one to play, going into Texas Tech which, remember, is now coached by Tubby Smith. It was Tech for a lot of the game, but the Tigers left with a 71-69 win after a 3-point attempt as time expired failed to fall for the Red Raiders.
-- Saint Louis hoops did this in its spare time. I'm all for college hoops teams making Vines out of team trick shots, but we can do much better!
-- After the UNC game a school spokesman told the media the program hopes to know what P.J. Hairston's future at the school will be by the end of the week.
-- Joel James hurt his right knee for UNC Wednesday night. More information due tomorrow.
-- Last night it was Incarnate Word for Open Bible College. Tonight? Abilene Christian! (ACU won 87-43.)
-- This is cool: It was announced earlier on Wednesday that Rick Pitino will coach against his son, Richard, in next year's Armed Forces Classic, which will be played in Puerto Rico.
-- Rhode Island players are campaigning to their fellow students to show up at home games over the winter break.
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