Night Court: Jeff Withey goes for triple-double

Kansas center Jeff Withey notched the second triple-double in Jayhawks history on Monday. (US Presswire)

Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Monday night …

Game of the Night: Tennessee avoids third straight loss to Oakland.

The only game with any sort of hype on Monday night was Tennessee playing Oakland in an interesting non-conference tilt for the third season in a row. The past two seasons, Oakland has scored 89 points in each game and pulled off back-to-back upsets. The Volunteers weren’t having any of that this season, jumping out to an early lead en route to a 77-50 victory. Oakland continued its cold shooting, knocking down just 28.6 percent of its field goal attempts. Jarnell Stokes led Tennessee with 19 points.

What else we’ll be talking about in the morning: Kansas center Jeff Withey notching a triple-double -- and Kansas struggling to close out games despite beating San Jose State.

On a positive note, Jeff Withey has developed into one of the best two-way centers in college basketball. He was already a premier shot-blocker, and he might be even better defensively this season. Moreover, he’s far more efficient and advanced offensively than he was a year ago. Against San Jose State, he went for 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocked shots -- the second triple-double in Kansas history. The only other player to get a triple-double was Cole Aldrich.

On the other hand, Kansas should have steamrolled San Jose State, but the Jayhawks let a 24-point lead get down to single digits in the second half before pulling away down the stretch. Overall, I’m not too worried about Kansas – Bill Self-coached teams always defend, and the Jayhawks are still working in plenty of young players. With that said, where is the go-to-guy offensively, the player that will get the ball down the stretch and end an opponent’s run? Ben McLemore could become that player, but he’s not there yet. Elijah Johnson seems better suited as a complementary player. My guess is that Kansas figures it out soon enough.

That’s a good win: East Carolina moves to 5-0 with win at Georgia State.

Georgia State isn’t a great team, or anything resembling a CAA contender – but the Panthers are still decent at home. Moreover, East Carolina won just three away games last season. On Monday night, though, the Pirates never trailed and pulled away for a 62-53 win. Miguel Paul and Maurice Kemp have developed into a nice 1-2 punch for East Carolina, while Robert Sampson chipped with 12 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks on Monday.

But that’s a bad loss: George Washington falls at home to Mount St. Mary’s.

George Washington looked like it was building some momentum over the weekend, hammering Hofstra by 24 on Saturday. All the good vibes from that game went out the window on Monday, when Mount St. Mary’s came into Washington D.C. and knocked off the Colonials. The Mountaineers had won just 1 of their last 24 non-conference road games.

Players with impact

  1. Isaiah Canaan reached 30 points for the second game in a row, helping Murray State overcome a halftime deficit. He finished with 32 points, six rebounds and four assists. .
  2. Murray State has needed a solid inside presence to complement Canaan on the perimeter – and Ed Daniel went for 18 pints and 18 rebounds in a win over Lipscomb.
  3. Jerian Grant isn’t a pure point guard, but the Notre Dame sophomore is just fine with that – 22 points and 10 assists against Chicago State will help, too.

Numbers to figure:

1941-42: Before last season, Loyola (Md.) hadn’t started 6-1 since 1941-42. For the second year in a row, the Greyhounds are off to a hot start after their win over Towson.

0: Savannah State has not allowed a single Division-I opponent to reach 60 points this season. The Tigers reached that threshold for the first time on Monday night against Robert Morris.

1/12/12: Before Withey, the last player to reach a triple-double with blocks as a category was Kenny Gabriel, who did it for Auburn last season.

Other outcomes of note:

  • Notre Dame cruised to an easy win over Chicago State, 92-65. The Fighting Irish face Kentucky on Thursday.
  • Marquette dished out assists on 28 of its 31 field goals during its 79-46 win over UMBC. The Golden Eagles continue to fly beneath the radar.
  • Elston Turner went for 17 points to lead Texas A&M to a win over Northwestern State.
  • Another game, another nice performance from Colton Iverson. The Colorado State big man had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Rams’ win over Northern Colorado.


-- Looking ahead until Tuesday, North Carolina will have to face No. 1 Indiana without the services of guard P.J. Hairston. Hairston sprained his left knee in practice over the weekend, and did not make the trip to Bloomington with the Tar Heels. Leslie McDonald will likely get more minutes with Hairston out.

-- NC State forward Thomas De Thaey announced on Twitter that he was leaving the program and going back to Europe. De Thaey’s father has been battling cancer since April back in Belgium. The big man averaged 5.0 points and 2.0 boards in three games.

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