Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Thanksgiving Thursday …
Don't be surprised if both Iowa and Xavier are in the NCAA tournament come March -- or at least on the bubble. And Thursday night's matchup could end up coming up in discussion in the selection room. Iowa was down by as many as 15 points in the second half, but the Hawkeyes came back to beat Xavier in overtime, 77-74. The Hawkeyes never actually led in regulation -- and also never trailed in the extra session. Both teams struggled from the field, but Xavier turned it over 19 times and couldn't make plays when it counted down the stretch.
The story late in the game was the absence of each team's star player. Xavier's Semaj Christon finished with 14 points, but he wasn't on the court late in the game due to a cramp. The story was the same for Iowa's Roy Devyn Marble, who scored 30 points before sitting out the final minutes with a cramp.
An 11 p.m. tip time on Thanksgiving usually means most people aren't going to be able to stay awake for it. However, with Creighton and Arizona State matching up, getting the chance to see Doug McDermott and Jahii Carson on the same court was certainly worth fighting off sleep. Except it ended up not being that at all, as Creighton cruised to an 86-60 win.
McDermott came out with aggression and energy from the opening tip, and Creighton seemed to be in control the entire game. Arizona State made a couple of runs – late in the first half and midway through the second half – but it was all Bluejays on Thursday night. McDermott finished with 27 points and six rebounds, but the story going forward could be the emergence of junior college transfer Devin Brooks. The talented guard from New York came off the bench to score 23 points; he gives Creighton a player who can get his own shot whenever he wants. On the other side, Carson seemed frustrated at times against Creighton, and was missing shots he normally makes with ease. He finished with 15 points and four assists.
Coming out of Wednesday's altercation between Tim Floyd and Andy Enfield, many people were looking forward to a possible losers' bracket game between UTEP and USC. Floyd had other plans, though. He came out of the gates using a triangle-and-two defense against Tennessee, and the Volunteers couldn't adapt quickly enough, with the Miners emerging as 78-70 winners. McKenzie Moore had 19 points for UTEP, while Jordan McRae led Tennessee with 22 points. However, the Vols only shot 34.9 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from 3-point range.
Players with impact
- Marcus Smart is just putting on a show this season. He put up 30 points on Thursday, knocking down four 3-pointers and also dishing out four assists.
- Butler had two stars. Sophomore guard Kellen Dunham dropped 32 points and hit six 3-pointers, while forward Khyle Marshall finished with 30 points and five rebounds.
- Pepperdine fell to Green Bay on Thursday, but former UCLA transfer Brendan Lane went for 26 points and 13 rebounds, while shooting 12-for-14 from the field.
Numbers to figure:
100: UCLA has scored at least 100 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1999. (via @ESPNStatsInfo)
2009: Before Thursday night, Iowa hadn't won an overtime game since March 2009 (against Penn State).
Other outcomes of note:
- Despite giving up 58 points in the second half, No. 5 Oklahoma State moved to 6-0 with a 97-87 win over Purdue. Markel Brown was outstanding as the Cowboys' second option once again, going for 25 points.
- Villanova set itself up for a potential statement win against Kansas by handling USC on Thursday. The Wildcats never trailed, and James Bell led five guys in double-figures with 17 points.
- Kansas didn't play its A game on Thursday, but the Jayhawks didn't need to, getting 17 points from Andrew Wiggins in an 87-78 win over Wake Forest. Frank Mason was a playmaker off the bench, with 13 points.
- Marquette actually looked decent offensively against Cal State Fullerton, having three players with at least 18 points – including Jamil Wilson's 24 points and nine rebounds. The final was 86-66.
- Memphis getting consistent inside play will be a huge key going forward. Against Siena, Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols combined for 29 points and 19 boards in an 87-60 win.
- UCLA is rolling offensively. The Bruins cruised past Nevada, 105-84. Zach LaVine and Jordan Adams had 21 points apiece.
- LSU continues to impress. At full strength, the Tigers could be the third-best team in the SEC. They blew out Saint Joseph's on Thursday, 82-65. Jordan Mickey had another double-double, 14 and 10.
- Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson has been stellar for Missouri this season. He went for another 21 points against Northwestern, in the Tigers' 78-67 win.
- Harvard handled Denver in the late-night game. The Crimson face another test with Alec Brown and Green Bay on Friday.
-- Something to watch on Friday?
Kansas asst told me Wiggins basically has not left his room on this trip. He's feeling very sick--and it showed today. Nova smells blood.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) November 29, 2013
-- San Diego State dominated Charleston on Thursday, and the Aztecs have the size and length up front to create issues for Doug McDermott. They struggled offensively against Arizona a couple weeks ago, though. Friday is a big chance.
-- As mentioned above, Butler had two players with at least 30 points in the Bulldogs' win over Washington State. They are now 5-0 under Brandon Miller.