Game of the night: Memphis Tigers roar back at home against Gonzaga in entertaining ranked affair.
"I was too jacked up," Joe Jackson said on TV afterward of his team's 60-54 win over Gonzaga.
It was Jackson's 22nd birthday. He did this on a 7-footer, which essentially rallied the game for Memphis.
The Tigers trailed 41-32 at the time and went on to outscore the Zags 29-13 in the 60-54 win. Fearless, and probably the most memorable play of Jackson's career. They love this guy in that city, even for all the times he's made mistakes.
Gonzaga's troubles may be on the surface of the resume, but it's clear that team is by far the class of the WCC once again. If it wins most of its games there and reaches the WCC championship game, a bid is more than likely coming. Still, this would've been a huge win for Mark Few's team. Instead, Memphis ups its stock and gets some non-con beef to boast about.
(GIF via DieHard Sport.)
Biggest outcome of the night: SMU makes no doubt about its legitmacy with a smacking of Cincinnati.
The Mustangs remained undefeated at home this season and won over a team ranked in the top 10 for the first time since 1987 with a 76-55 win over No. 7 Cincinnati. The fans fled to the floor after the victory. In getting the dub, SMU ended Cincinnati's 15-game winning streak.
Nick Russell led all Mustangs scorers with 15 points. The team was 22-of-25 from the foul line. For the Bearcats, only Sean Kilpatrick (22) and Justin Jackson (10) scored in double digits. Jackson's final two points came on an uncontested breakaway dunk just before time expired at the end of the game.
At 19-5 and with wins over UConn and Memphis, it's hard to argue against SMU as a sure-fire NCAA tournament team at this point. The Ponies havent been to the Big Dance in 21 years, and this is quite the comeback under Larry Brown. Also, come Monday, expect SMU to be ranked in the polls for the first time in 29 seasons. Pretty incredible.
Lost in the Smart debacle: Oklahoma State is in big trouble after falling 65-61 at Texas Tech.
We'll know the suspension for Marcus Smart eventually, but how about the fact the Cowboys took on a major loss here. It was their fourth in a row, five in the past six games, and the only win at h ome against West Virginia -- by six. What was once thought to be a Big 12 co-favorite alongside Kansas; a Final Four hopeful with a lot of talent; a group to make Oklahoma State fans proud and eager for the first time in ages. All of that's dissolved.
Desperately needed win of the day: Xavier gets much-needed Big East win over Providence.
Both Xavier and Providence were struggling entering the weekend, with the Musketeers losing three in a row and four of six and the Friars dropping two of three. Just a couple of weeks ago, they both looked like NCAA tournament teams, but recent results put that in question. Xavier got the victory on Saturday, though, with Matt Stainbrook going for 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the 59-53 win. Semaj Christon was also a huge key (as usual) for Xavier, making plays at both ends down the stretch and limiting Providence's scorer Bryce Cotton to nine points. Christon also had 12 points and three assists.
Now comes a make-or-break stretch for Xavier, with four of the next five games on the road. Butler and Marquette are up this week. For Providence, a road trip on Monday to Georgetown suddenly becomes a key bubble battle in the Big East. The Hoyas are hot and have momentum.
Player of the Day: It's going to be hard to top Melvin Ejim's performance on Saturday afternoon.
We'll have a separate post on this, but Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim went for 48 points and 18 rebounds against TCU, shooting 20-for-24 from the field and knocking down two 3-pointers. He's the third player to hit 48 points this season, and set a Big 12 single-game record.
Here's the entire set of stats/records in the Big 12 Ejim set, via the league office:
Points scored in a game: 48
Points scored in a conference game: 48
Points scored in a half: 33 (second)
Points scored in a conference game half: 33 (second)
Field goals made: 20
Field goals made, conference game: 20
Field goals made in a half: 14 (2nd)
Field goals made in a conference half: 14 (2nd)
Combined Points + Rebounds, single game: 64
Tied the league record for consecutive field goals made in a half: 9
What else we'll be talking about in the morning: Iowa dominates Michigan for marquee victory.
Borzello wrote about this earlier, but here's a quick recap. Iowa jumped out to an early lead behind 22 first-half points and six 3-pointers from Roy Devyn Marble, and Michigan really struggled to get anything going from its big guns on the offensive end. The Hawkeyes were up 14 at the half and ended up with an 85-67 win. Nik Stauskas had just 10 points for Michigan, while Glenn Robinson III scored the first two points of the game and was scoreless the rest of the contest. Marble was huge for Iowa, as was the Hawkeyes' depth and ability to score in transition.
It was a much-needed profile-boosting win for Fran McCaffery's crew, who had suffered several close losses to tough competition this season. On the other side, teams are starting to key defensively on Stauskas -- he had just six points in last weekend's loss to Indiana. How will the Wolverines adjust going forward?
That's a good win: Kansas State blows out Texas behind 34 points from Marcus Foster.
The Wildcats needed a win on Saturday, as they came into the weekend losing three of their previous four games. And Foster made sure Kansas State came out with a victory, hitting 13-for-16 from the field en route to 34 points. He knocked down five 3-pointers in the 74-57 win. Texas struggled from the outset, snapping a seven-game winning streak. Kansas State now has two big games coming up next week -- home against Kansas on Monday and a road game at Baylor next weekend. The Wildcats could really use a marquee victory, and they also have struggled away from home this season.
And that's a bad loss: Florida State falls at Maryland.
Florida State has been a difficult team to figure out this season, beating VCU and Massachusetts in the non-conference but struggling throughout ACC play. And now the Seminoles have lost five of their last seven after falling to Maryland on Saturday. Seth Allen was huge for the Terrapins, especially in the first half, when Maryland got out to a 46-29 lead. Allen finished with 32 points. Maryland shot nearly 52 percent from the field -- and now the Terps have won three of their last four games.
Baylor toast? Another poor showing for Scott Drew's crew.
How far can a win over Colorado, a win over Kentucky and a win over Oklahoma State take Baylor? Because the team is 14-9 now and holds a 2-8 Big 12 mark. I wouldn't put them in the tournament right now, unless that tournament was the NIT. Baylor fell 88-72 at Oklahoma Saturday and jacked up too many 3s (23) in the process. The Sooners, by the way, are now 18-6 and could be settling into that No. 5 seed range.
Oregon done? The Ducks can't win at Arizona State.
Once upon a time, Oregon was 13-0 and consider Final Four-quality. But the Ducks have lost eight of their last 10, including Saturday's 74-72 decision at Arizona State. The Sun Devils in fact blew a 21-point lead, but a big-time block from big man Jordan Bachynski on a layup attempt by Joseph Young gave ASU the win. Young finished with 29 and Bachynski had 26, a career-best.
The Sun Devils, who were only 3 for 15 from deep but committed just 16 fouls, have won five of six. Here's a nice photo of the swat.
Players with impact
- VMI has had a slew of players in this category this season, and D.J. Covington joins the club with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.
- Marshall Henderson is enjoying his green light. He took 15 3s, made eight of them, and scored 29 points in Ole Miss' 91-88 win over Missouri. The Tigers had a 3 go begging at the buzzer. This came after a big-time comeback. Mizzou (4-6) is in much worse shape than the Rebels (7-3) in the SEC, which most wouldn't have gussed a month ago.
- Thirty-three points on 15 shots for Morehead State's Angelo Warner. Efficient.
- Fairleigh Dickinson's Sidney Sanders went for 30 points, six assists, five steals and four rebounds in a losing effort.
- Jabari Parker put up a career-best 29 points in Duke's 89-68 road win at Boston College.
- Justin Sears had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Yale. That was huge. You'll read why below.
Numbers to figure
18: Iowa hadn't defeated an AP top-10 team by at least 18 points since Dec. 15, 2001, when the Hawkeyes defeated Missouri by 18.
16.0: Virginia's 10 ACC wins have come by an average of 16 points per game.
1: That's the number of combined field goals in the two overtimes of Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.
12: Total number of points Oregon's lost by in its previous five games. Via.
Other outcomes of note:
- The Ivy is officially interesting. Yale won 74-67 at Harvard, meaning both teams are 5-1 in the league. Ivy only sends its regular-season champ to the NCAA tourney, as its the only league without a postseason tournament.
- Jordair Jett had 19 second-half points and hit a winning layup for Saint Louis to push the Bills past the Explorers. Jim Crews' team is now 22-2 and has won 16 in a row.
- Saint Louis is setting itself up to coast to an A-10 regular-season title, now that VCU has two losses. The Rams fell 69-62 at Saint Joe's. The Hawks hit eight of their final nine from the foul line to keep Shaka Smart's team at bay. Big win for SJU. VCU still just a shade away from being complete.
- Alabama hung tough for a while, but a second-half Florida run pushed the No. 3-ranked Gators to a 78-69 win. Casey Prather had 15 points for Florida, while Trevor Releford had 25 in a losing effort.
- The Kansas freshmen were key in the Jayhawks' 83-69 win over West Virginia. Andrew Wiggins had 19 points, while Wayne Selden went for 17 points. Joel Embiid finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Juwan Staten continued his all-conference quest for West Virginia, getting 22 points.
- Virginia was down 44-42 with 9:45 remaining – and then the Cavaliers finished the game on a 22-1 run.
- We wrote about Pittsburgh earlier, as the Panthers were unconvincing in a double-overtime win against Virginia Tech.
- It's not as easy to make fun of North Carolina's inconsistency anymore – as the Tar Heels won their fifth in a row, this time at Notre Dame, 73-62.
- Georgetown's win over Michigan State last week might have sparked something in the Hoyas, as they have won three in a row – with Saturday's win over Butler the latest in the streak.
- Kentucky let Mississippi State hang around, but the Wildcats got a 69-59 road win behind 16 points and seven rebounds from Julius Randle.
- Really weird ending in North Carolina State – Miami. Kyle Washington missed a free throw in the final seconds, which Rion Brown grabbed and launched a 70-footer. On the shot, it seemed he got fouled by Washington – but after a five-minute review, there was no call. NC State escaped, 56-55.
- LSU struggled with Auburn in the first half, but the Tigers scored 55 points in the second half en route to an 87-80 win. Johnny O'Bryant and Jordan Mickey combined for 33 points and 20 rebounds.
- In a tune-up for Tuesday's home tilt against Florida, Tennessee took down South Carolina by 19. Jordan McRae had 24 points.
- Don't bury Arkansas' season just yet. The Razorbacks got their first non-Auburn road win since Mike Anderson arrived, beating a hot Vanderbilt team by two on a Michael Qualls 3-pointer with four seconds left. Arkansas heads to Missouri next week.
Arkansas beats Vanderbilt to win an SEC road game somewhere other than Auburn for the first time since Jan. 29, 2011 ... when it beat Vandy.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) February 8, 2014
- George Washington has been hit hard by injuries lately, but that didn't matter against Fordham, having four guys in double-figures in the 93-67 win.
- Two conference leaders suffered losses on Saturday, with Green Bay falling to Milwaukee and Stony Brook getting upset at home by New Hampshire.
- American has now lost two straight games in the Patriot League, falling to Colgate. Boston University is now tied atop the standings.
- Robert Morris stayed in first-place in the NEC, beating St. Francis (NY) on the road. The Colonials are 9-1 in the league.
- UCLA now 18-5 after winning 83-73 at rebuilding USC. The Bruins will almost definitely be a part of this year's NCAA tournament under first-year coach Steve Alford.
- Ho-hum 67-49 home win for Ohio State over Purdue. Buckeyes finally back above .500 in the Big Ten.
- UNLV getting a 48-46 home win over Wyoming. Ooof.
- It wasn't the easiest win for Toledo, but the Rockets got a seven-point victory at Ball State to remain as the class of the MAC.
- Back-to-back road wins for Dayton, which has now won three in a row after dropping four straight. Saturday's victory came at Saint Bonaventure.
- Saint Mary's moved to 18-7 overall, 8-4 in the WCC, with an overtime win over Pepperdine. Stephen Holt had 29 points for the Gaels.
- FYI: Stephen F. Austin is now 22-2. Lumberjacks won 74-54 over McNeese State.
-- Hilarious. The guy in the chicken costume is Pitino's son, Ryan.
I see Rick Pitino made an appearance in the Barn. pic.twitter.com/8QVy4rU0I8— Tim Miles (@CoachMiles) February 9, 2014
-- Also hilarious.
Photobombed by...Coach Hinson lolol pic.twitter.com/r8hrM9IkDC— Bronson Verhines (@B_Verhines) February 9, 2014
-- Preseason chic team that won't make this year's NCAA tournament? Boise State. The Broncos lost 76-70 at Utah State Saturday, falling to 15-9 and 5-6 in the MWC.
-- Frank Mason just breaking ankles at full speed.
Frank Mason. https://t.co/3drZTZbJqi— Chris Marshall (@marshallartist) February 8, 2014
-- Morehead State stayed within a game of Belmont, getting a key Ohio Valley win at Eastern Kentucky.
-- Drexel was hit by the injury bug again on Friday night, as the Dragons announced big man Kazembe Abif would miss the rest of the season with a hand injury.
-- Dick Vitale really wants Indiana and Kentucky to begin playing each other again.
-- Arkansas is retiring the No. 42 jersey in honor of former President Bill Clinton.
-- Could the NBA increase the age limit to 20?
-- John Calipari quotes are always fun.
Calipari just tossed out this nugget about playing hyped freshmen: "Their whole life they've been told they poop ice cream."— David Brandt (@davidbrandtAP) February 8, 2014
Jeff Borzello and Matt Norlander contributed to this post.