Night Court: Upset of UNLV shows Oregon will be a factor in Pac-12

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
The addition of Arsalan Kazemi was one of the reasons Oregon beat UNLV in Las Vegas on Friday night. (US Presswire)

Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Friday night …

Game of the Night: Oregon pulls off upset of UNLV in Vegas.

When Arsalan Kazemi became eligible for Oregon, many started pointing to the Ducks as a team that could potentially make some noise in the Pac-12. Well, the noise is already starting. The Ducks went into Las Vegas and pulled off an 83-79 win over UNLV. Freshman Damyean Dotson went for 19 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 19 seconds left remaining. He also knocked down the two game-clinching free throws. The second half alone had 16 lead changes and five ties – but Oregon made plays down the stretch. It looks like the Ducks are going to be a threat in conference play.

What else we'll be talking about in the morning: Louisville shows why it's one of the elite.

Louisville's poor offensive performance on Thursday raised some questions about its national title potential, but the Cardinals answered questions on Friday. They forced 23 turnovers and dominated No. 13 Missouri, 84-61. It wasn't a blowout the entire game, as Missouri cut the lead to four in the second half – before an 11-0 run put the game out of reach. Missouri's Phil Pressey coughed it up eight times against Louisville's pressure, leading to several of the Cardinals' 31 points off turnovers. Luke Hancock was one of five players in double figures for Louisville, going for 19 points off the bench.

On Saturday, the Cardinals will get another chance to prove its stature when they face Duke in the championship game. The Blue Devils turned the ball over just eight times against VCU's pressure on Friday, and also held the Rams to 33 percent shooting from the field. Mason Plumlee once again led the way in the paint, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

That's a good win: Creighton lights up the scoreboard in double-digit win over Wisconsin.

Wisconsin never gave up more than 72 points in a single game last season, allowing more than 60 points on just 12 occasions. No. 14 Creighton wasn't having any of that low-scoring action, though. The Bluejays dominated the second half, pulling away for an 84-74 victory. Doug McDermott led the way with 30 points and eight rebounds, while Ethan Wragge went for 17 points in just 19 minutes. There were questions about whether Creighton's high-powered offense would be enough to beat teams come March – so far, it's working just fine.

But that's a bad loss: Bucknell and Saint Mary's both suffer surprising first defeats.

Penn State was expected to finish bear the bottom of the Big Ten this season, and the Nittany Lions took a major when all-around stud Tim Frazier tore his ACL. However, undefeated Bucknell came into town – and Penn State promptly held star Mike Muscala to just two field goals in a 60-57 win. Bucknell had already defeated Purdue and George Mason, and Penn State could have been another notch on the belt.

Meanwhile, Saint Mary's lost to Pacific by 10. The Tigers opened the second half with a 26-10 run, pushing the lead as high as 19. Saint Mary's couldn't stop Pacific inside the arc, and also sent the Tigers to the free throw line 19 times. Lorenzo McCloud led the way with 18 points for Pacific.

Players with impact

  1. Memphis native Andre Hollins dropped 41 points on his hometown team, as Minnesota beat Memphis in the Bahamas.
  2. Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin has taken on more of a point guard role than expected, and he went for 22 points, nine boards and nine assists.
  3. Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick went 16-for-16 from the free-throw line, finishing with 32 points, to lead the Bearcats past Iowa State, 78-70.
  4. Arguably the best individual numbers came from Adrien Coleman of Bethune-Cookman, who went for 31 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in a win.

Numbers to figure:

1992: The last time Rick Pitino and Mike Krzyzewski coached against one another. Yes, that was the Christian Laettner buzzer-beater game. They will face off on Saturday in the Bahamas.

5-0: Gonzaga's record in the Old Spice Classic. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma by 25 on Friday, and will have a chance to repeat their 2008 title by beating Davidson.

22: With its win over VCU, Duke has now won 22 straight regular-season tournament games. Will Louisville end that streak?

Other outcomes of note:

  • Pittsburgh came up short against Michigan on Wednesday, but the Panthers jumped out to an early lead against Delaware and didn't look back. Freshman Steven Adams looked impressive on the inside, going for 13 points.
  • Not surprisingly, Ohio State had its game against UMKC wrapped up early. Deshaun Thomas went for 21 points and eight boards in the 91-45 win.
  • LIU Brooklyn could still win its third straight Northeast title, but the Blackbirds are now 0-4 after losing by 29 to No. 8 Kentucky. The Wildcats were blistering on the offensive end.
  • NC State was close to suffering a massive upset at the hands of UNC-Asheville, but Richard Howell made several big plays down the stretch to pull out an 82-80 win.
  • West Virginia's half-court pressure gave Davidson problems late in the game, but Juwan Staten's missed 3-pointer at the buzzer helped the Wildcats get a win.
  • Michigan State used a late 12-0 run to beat Oakland, 70-52. The Spartans were without Gary Harris and Travis Trice.

Notebook:

-- Michigan scored nearly 37 percent of its points last season off of 3-point field goals – but the Wolverines are showing they can win games without knocking down shots from behind the arc. Only 12 of its 71 points against Kansas State on Friday came off 3-pointers, while they shot just 3-for-17 on Wednesday against Pittsburgh. Throw in another great rebounding effort, and Michigan might be more dangerous than originally thought.

-- Another year, another disappointing start for Memphis. The Tigers lost their second game in a row on Friday, allowing Memphis native Andre Hollins to score 41 points in leading Minnesota to an 84-75 victory. Memphis has a ton of talent, but the Tigers don't seem to be on the same page. Moreover, Joe Jackson needs to figure things out. He played just seven minutes on Friday.

-- Does Florida have a potential playing time issue with Scottie Wilbekin and Mike Rosario? The Gators rolled past UCF, 79-66, on Friday, but Rosario played just four minutes in the second half while Wilbekin had 17 points, five boards and eight assists. “I'm at a point with him where I just can't deal with the turnovers,” coach Billy Donovan said about Rosario.

-- Creighton made it clear that it's the best team in the Missouri Valley, but Illinois State is going to chase. The Redbirds aren't just a one-man team, either, as Bryant Allen went for 30 in Illinois State's win over UAB. Northern Iowa, meanwhile, continues to struggle offensively, scoring just 20 points in the second half against Stanford.

-- Damion Lee returned for Drexel, but it didn't matter. The Dragons dropped to 1-4 with a 69-65 loss to Xavier. Freshman Semaj Christon scored 23 points for the Musketeers. The CAA is looking like a one-bid league already.

-- The Pac-12 had a great night, going 5-0 -- with the most surprising win perhaps coming from Arizona State, which went into Las Vegas and took care of business against Arkansas. The Sun Devils are now 4-0.

-- What's with all the cramps lately? Archie Goodwin, Adriean Payne, the Delaware guys. Eat bananas, fellas.

-- Man, Vanderbilt is going to be bad this season. The Commodores scored 33 points in a blowout loss to Marist.

 
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