Here's everything you need to know from college basketball's Wednesday …
Game of the Night: UNLV gets road win it desperately needed at New Mexico.
UNLV was at one point up 28-12. New Mexico was at home, so as you'd expect, the Lobos rallied back. It was a tight game throughout the second half. Aside from the nine timeouts called down the stretch, it was a good watch. I swear.
Ultimately Cullen Neal's 3-pointer with .8 remaining fell short and with that, Dave Rice's team is now 11-6 thanks to this 76-73 win at the Pit.
"We stressed intensity," Bryce Dejean-Jones said on CBS Sports Network afterward when asked the biggest reason for the team's ability to hold on in such a hostile environment.
The Runnin' Rebels now have San Diego State this weekend. Losing is probably to be expected, but honestly, with the way UNLV's been under Rice, a win wouldn't knock me off my seat. This program teases you with its ceiling and often fails to touch it. Then goes out and gets good road wins.
As for 12-4 New Mexico, the team is simply not near the best in the Mountain West and is probably striding to a double-digit seed in the NCAA tournament this year. Solid group, but it has very noticeable flaws on defense and isn't close to the team it was last year without the ball.
What else we'll be talking about in the morning: UMass is having a charmed season.
It was the first time a ranked team ever visited George Mason. I know, that's really surprising and makes me wonder which teams have never hosted a ranked team before. Gotta probably be at least 100 still, I'd imagine.
Anyway, George Mason had a five-point lead with 45 seconds to go. The team had three turnovers on three possessions in the final 20 seconds. UMass did a lot of what you see below, including A10 Player of the Year favorite Chaz Williams (game-high 26 points, eight assists, five steals), coming up huge. George Mason fans have seen this team give away a lot of games over the past two seasons.
Here's how it ended.
Pretty nutty, yes? The Minutemen are now 15-1 and 3-0 in the league. Edgar Padilla, where are you right now.
That's a good win: Xavier steamrolls back to kick Georgetown in the teeth.
The Musketeers came back from a 17-point deficit, outscored G'town 44-14 down the stretch and in fact scored the final 16 points of the game. An 80-67 final. It was looking somewhat dire amid the comeback when X's best, Semaj Christon, picked up his fourth foul with 8:57 to go. He had 18 points and Xavier trailed 61-56 at the time.
But the Musketeers chipped and chawed away, and it was Myles Davis who hit a 3 to put X up on top 70-67. Dee Davis had 17 and 7 for Chris Mack's team, which is now 14-4 and 4-1 in the Big East.
Have to note that Georgetown was down two starters and Nate Lubick was wearing a mask on this face due to recent injury. Still, this is the tweet of the night.
Georgetown's problems: Double-digit leads and double-digit seeds.— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) January 16, 2014
But that's a bad loss: 12th-ranked Baylor falls by 10 to Texas Tech.
This one will cost the Bears at least a seed line, even if it came on the road. Tubby Smith gets the first big win of his Red Raiders career. The Bears were 4-20 from deep, allowed 57 percent shooting by Texas Tech and Isaiah Austin went 0-of-6 from the field with just two rebounds. Yiiiiikes.
Texas Tech was physical, fast, led 21 at the half and led by Jaye Crockett's 19 points. All starters for Tech had 10 points or more. The team's fans, fascinated by this "basketball" that was happening now that football season is over, opted to head to the court once the game ended and when they got there, stood, cheered, and smiled.
Is Notre Dame done?
The Irish dropped a 74-66 decision at Maryland, meaning Mike Brey's team has lost three straight after beating Duke. And Duke isn't even looking like a top-20 team at the moment; some would argue even worse. So what are the 10-7 Irish to do? They're indicative of a weak ACC.
Maryland's finding a swing thanks to the return of point guard Seth Allen, who quite clearly is starting to show that his absence in some ways led to the team's skittish start. The Terps are 11-7 but feeling better about their chances going forward than ND.
Players with impact
1. Your leading scorer from Wednesday night is Robert Giasgow, who had 36 in VMI's 101-88 win at Radford.
2. With 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Marcus Smart helped OSU trounce TCU 82-50. Next up is the biggie: at Kansas on Saturday.
3. Trevor Releford scored 28 points and only missed three shots in helping Alabama win 80-61 win over Mississippi State.
Numbers to figure
100: Career wins for Derek Kellogg after that UMass escape job.
6: The scoreless number of minutes for Georgetown in the Hoyas' no-show against Xavier.
With a loss to Michigan State, Northwestern has lost 46 straight vs top-5 teams. Last win: 1/27/79 vs Magic Johnson's Michigan State team.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 16, 2014
Other outcomes of note:
- In that Northwestern loss to Michigan State, its starters combined for 25 points. But that'll happen when you only put up 40. Well, that'll happen to Northwestern. Michigan State, which won 54-40, is now 16-1, matching the team's best start in program history.
At 16-1, @MSU_Basketball has tied the best start in school history. The 2000-01 & 1930-31 teams also started 16-1.— Kevin Pauga (@KevinPauga) January 16, 2014
- Saint Louis keeping pace with UMass in the A10 by winning 66-60 at home against a game St. Bonaventure crew. I know a lot of SLU fans were upset when I picked this team to finish sixth in the league in the preseason. To that, again, I say I'm sorry -- but also -- they're only predictions.
- N.C. State's Tyler Lewis left his team's game against Wake Forest due to illness. Codi Miller-McIntyre -- a name out of a nursery rhyme -- made a runner (after a travel that wasn't called) to tie the game at 69. He hit his foul shot, giving him a team-high 20 points. Wake Forest won. The Demon Deacons are 12-5, which must absolutely infuriate the fans who don't want Jeff Bzdelik coaching this team.
- Illinois loses 66-58 to Purdue, at Illinois, and is in serious trouble. The Illini have not looked the same since they beat Missouri back in December.
- Indiana State is the likeliest team to pick off Wichita State in the Valley. The Sycamores are 14-3 and 5-0 in league play following a 70-55 win over Missouri State, which blew an 18-point home lead against WSU over the weekend.
- Cal, which is probably the most undervalued team in the naiton right now, absolutely dismantled Washington. An 82-56 final. Take notice of the Bears, set to make yet another NCAA tournament.
- Marshall Henderson returned from his staggered suspension on Wednesday night; he was forced to sit the team's first two games of SEC play. Ole Miss was tested by LSU, probably should have lost, but took the game to overtime and proceeded to outscore the Tigers 19-5 in the free session. Henderson finished with a game-high 25, including six 3-pointers. LSU is 10-5, 1-2 in the SEC and on the verge of not qualifying for bubble discussion. Ole Miss still has plenty to prove as well.
- La Salle improved to 10-6, but more importantly 3-0 in the A-10, win a 72-62 win over Rhode Island. The team has won its last 30 when leading with five minutes to play.
- For the fifth time this season, Tennessee never trailed in a game. The Vols outpaced Auburn 78-67 in front of Tennessee legend Bernard King.
- San Diego State was hassled at home by an average Fresno State team. Ultimately the one-loss Aztecs remained the way, beating the Bulldogs 68-60 to get to 15 wins.
- Sneaky team to keep an eye on? Well, I don't know. But Texas A&M is now 12-4 and 3-0 in the SEC after beating South Carolina 75-67. Aggies have a lot to prove still, but have basically gone unnoticed the entire season.
- SMU won 71-54 over South Florida and is now 12-4. Larry Brown's team, minimally, should be in the bubble discussion in a month from now.
- Toledo held on to a 67-65 win over Buffalo and is now 14-2, 2-1 in the MAC. This happened.
- Some love to Ohio, which is playing for the first time in five seasons without D.J. Cooper, the stud point guard who was so vital to the team. But the Bobcats are now 12-4 overall and 2-1 in the MAC after beating Ball State 71-51 Wednesday night.
-- Lehigh hast lost four games in a row by 10 points -- total. That's rough.
-- Very cool gigapixel look at Hilton Coliseum. Click and take a spin.
-- Navy beat Bucknell 62-61, hours after announcing its leading scorer was suspended for the rest of the season.
-- One of the stranger ways to a win a team will have this season.
Giving new meaning to feast or famine, Saint Joe's commits 22 turnovers but shoots 63% on 3s + 67% on 2s to beat Duquesne by 9 at home.— John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) January 16, 2014
-- Might be ugly, but Clemson gets it done with defense. Win the games on the road you should. The Tigers are 3-1 in the ACC following a 56-49 win at Virginia Tech.