Night Court: Another terrific night of November basketball
UConn-Indiana was the highlight of Friday, but there were several other fantastic games. November basketball; it's a thing.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Friday …
Matt Norlander was on-site at Madison Square Garden, so we won't get too in-depth into this one -- but it was too good not to include in here, too. And Shabazz Napier was too good not to be the lead story from the game. The Connecticut guard had 27 points, including several big plays late in the game, to lead the Huskies to a 59-58 win over Indiana in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic. His bucket with 1:34 left to give Connecticut the lead ended up being the game-winning points, as the teams traded multiple turnovers before Noah Vonleh's buzzer shot came too late for Indiana.
If nothing else, November proved that Napier belongs in the conversation for best guard in the country. He can carry the Connecticut offense at times -- even with such talents as Ryan Boatright, Omar Calhoun and DeAndre Daniels surrounding him. On the other side, Indiana is coming together sooner than expected, and the Hoosiers are going to be a tough out come conference play. Yogi Ferrell has developed into one of the better point guards around.
Florida State was ready to become the team of November, after obliterating VCU on Thursday and then seemingly cruising by Michigan on Friday. The Seminoles were leading the No. 14 Wolverines by 10 at halftime, and the lead grew to as big as 16 in the second half. However, behind Nik Stauskas’ 26 points, Michigan roared back to knock off Florida State in overtime, 82-80. Stauskas scored the final four points of regulation, and then put in seven more in overtime.
The game-changer was the decision by Michigan head coach John Beilein to go to a 1-3-1 zone defense. Florida State was no longer getting easy shots and the Seminoles made mistakes when it counted late in the game. With that said, Florida State is certainly better than expected. Okaro White had 18 points and 12 boards, while Ian Miller went for 19 points.
That’s a good win: UMass might have the most complete resume in the country after beating New Mexico.
Massachusetts continues to impress with every game – and the Minutemen could now be considered a serious threat to win the Atlantic 10. On Friday, UMass went on a 14-0 run in the second to knock off No. 19 New Mexico, 81-65. Cady Lalanne had another nice game inside, going for 16 points and 14 rebounds, and the Minutemen were able to overcome 32 points from New Mexico’s Alex Kirk.
After beating the Lobos, it’s certainly not a stretch to say Massachusetts has the best collection of wins in the country. They have defeated New Mexico, LSU, Nebraska and Boston College – not to mention a 5-1 Youngstown State group. That’s a heck of an at-large resume before the end of November.
Heading into the game, Seton Hall falling to Oklahoma wouldn’t have been considered a bad loss. The Sooners are a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 that will likely end up somewhere near the bubble come March, while the Pirates are just fighting to finish out of the Big East’s cellar. Given the way the game ended up going, though, it was a brutal 86-85 loss. A 22-8 run early in the second half gave Seton Hall an 11-point lead, although the two teams went back and forth for most of the final 10 minutes. With 50 seconds left, though, Seton Hall had a seven-point edge – but it quickly fell apart.
Isaiah Cousins hit a jumper, then Cameron Clark made a layup after Sterling Gibbs made a free throw for Seton Hall. Clark stole the ensuing inbounds pass and finished a layup, and Jordan Woodard picked up another steal and made one free throw to cut the lead to one. After a couple of offensive rebounds, Buddy Hield hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to give Oklahoma a one-point lead, and Brian Oliver’s potential game-winning shot didn’t fall for Seton Hall.
Players with impact
- Shabazz Napier. Goes without saying. But we'll say it anyway.
- Give it up for Trey Sumler of Western Carolina. He had 35 points and 10 assists in the team's 98-90 win against Niagara.
- Chad Posthumus was so strong for Morehead State, pulling in 18 boards, but it wasn't enough in the team's 81-70 loss at UCLA.
- If you earn eight swats or better in a game, you're getting love in Night Court. Congrats to Savannah State's Jyles Smith and St. John's Chris Obepka, both of whom sent back the soup nine times.
- Anthony Jackson (Stony Brook) and Jeremy Ingram (North Carolina Central) each put up a Friday-best 36 points. The former came in a 103-99 loss, the latter in a 76-70 OT win.
Numbers to figure:
29: A career-high for Michigan State senior big man Adreian Payne. He's living up to expectations.
28: How many years it's been since Arizona State started 5-0.
6-0: UConn is the first team to reach this record in college basketball this season.
13: The number of teams who put up 88 or more on Friday. And about 10 others were a basket away from getting there.
Other outcomes of note:
- Shoutouts to the 5-0 teams as of tonight: Providence, UMass, Iowa, Illinois, Clemson, Michigan State, Arizona State ... AND INCARNATE WORD!
- Oklahoma knocked off Seton Hall in the Coaches vs. Cancer semifianls, meaining it will play ...
- ... Michigan State, which absolutely crusied past Virginia Tech 96-77, a good sign for Sparty, which looked lackluster in the past week. That game is tomorrow night.
- Providence is 5-0 because it roared back to topple Vandy. The Friars can be quite good if Kris Dunn is the do-it-all guard he's capable of becoming.
- The Kansas State-Georgetown consolation bracket game ended with Georgetown mopping K-State. A 90-63 Hoyas win, a win the Hoyas needed, and K-State could be in for a very long year.
- Marshall Henderson came off the bench and scored 15 points in 22 minutes in Ole Miss' 111-82 win over Mississippi Valley State.
- Andrew Wiggins had a team-high 16 points in Kansas' cruise-control W over Towson. 88-58 the final.
- VCU had a scare, winning over Long Beach State 73-67. If Rams had lost there, we'd have some real questions.
- Villanova dodged taking a bad loss, surviving 84-80 at home over Delaware.
-- That 5-0 Clemson mark is a good start for Brad Brownell, whose seat is considered the warmest in the ACC.
-- A few days after bemoaning the new state of officiating, Larry Eustachy's Colorado State team is only whistled for 12 fouls in its 72-65 home win over Northern Colorado.
-- Thoughts on Washington's fall to Boston College can be found here.
-- Charlotte took out Northeastern, meaning the 49ers will play against Michigan in the finals of the Puerto Rico Tipoff. Impressive job by Charlotte, a somewhat nondescript team that's made some noise here in November. Sneaky team.
-- A C-USA team that also is showing signs of promise: UAB, which should have beaten New Mexico but instead settled for knocking off Nebraska by 13 on Friday.
-- Things could be getting worse for Seton Hall.
-- There were 60 games played Friday. Saturday brings 80 total. Rest up and prep yourself. Good hoop is on the way.
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