Night Court: Pac-12 play takes center stage
The Pac-12 highlighted Thursday's schedule, with Oregon winning on a buzzer-beater, Arizona State suffering a bad loss, and Cal looking good.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Thursday …
Thursday looked like it might be the end of the road for Oregon’s undefeated season, but the Ducks found a way to go into Utah and come out with a two-point victory to move to 13-0. After missing at the buzzer of regulation, Utah had another chance to win in overtime – but Dotson deflected a pass with fewer than six seconds left, sprinted past everyone in transition and dunked it with under one second left for a 70-68 win. Utah’s Jordan Loveridge missed an open 3 at the buzzer.
Oregon has had some close calls over the past month, but they still find ways to win. The Ducks have one of the deepest and most talented perimeter groups in the country, but the frontcourt stepped up on Thursday. Elgin Cook and Richard Amardi combined for 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Mike Moser also grabbed 11 boards despite struggling from the field. Utah had a gaudy 11-1 non-conference record, but Thursday’s loss doesn’t mean the Utes are suddenly overrated. They are going to be very difficult to beat, especially at home. Loveridge and Delon Wright are two of the best players in the league.
The battle for fifth place in the Big Ten is going to be intense (assuming <span data-shortcode= State" data-canon="Ohio Bobcats" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0">, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa finish in the top four) – and Michigan picked up a nice early scalp with a 63-60 road victory at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers couldn’t get stops down the stretch, and they only shot 5-for-19 from 3-point range. The Andre Hollins-Austin Hollins combined to shoot 4-for-19 from the field, with Austin finishing with two points. Nik Stauskas was excellent late in the game for Michigan, and Jon Horford stepped up in place of Mitch McGary with 14 points and nine boards. Zak Irvin also hit five 3-pointers for the Wolverines.
However, Glenn Robinson III injured his ankle in the second half and didn’t return. After the game, head coach John Beilein said Robinson was questionable for Sunday’s game against Northwestern.
California has been bitten by the injury bug multiple times this season, and the Golden Bears were without Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow for Thursday’s matchup at Stanford. That didn’t matter in the 69-62 win. Tyrone Wallace had 20 points, while Justin Cobbs was terrific down the stretch, finishing with 18 points and five assists. Richard Solomon also had 14 points and 13 boards. This could end up being a huge win come Selection Sunday. If Cal can get healthy in February, it will be a formidable opponent. As for Stanford, this is the sort of game it needed to win. The Cardinal could have trouble guarding the quicker, more perimeter-oriented groups in the league.
The 76-65 final wasn’t indicative of how much of a blowout the game really was. Washington was up 17 at halftime, and the lead extended to as many as 23 points in the second half. Arizona State was 2-for-14 from the 3-point line, and Jermaine Marshall was just 2-for-11 from the field, finishing with four points. Jahii Carson had 15 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough. The Sun Devils have the talent to make the NCAA tournament, but losses like this make you wonder.
Players with impact
- Eastern <span data-shortcode=" data-canon="Kentucky Wildcats" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0">’s Glenn Cosey hit 10 3-pointers and finished with 34 points and six rebounds against Eastern Illinois.
- Another 10 3-pointers came from East Carolina’s Akeem Richmond, who finished with 37 points.
- It was against a non-D1 team, but IUPUI’s Donovan Gibbs still had 32 points and 11 boards.
- Two big performances in losses: Campbell’s Reco McCarter, who had 29 points and five assists, and Youngstown State’s Kendrick Perry, who went for 31 points and four dimes.
Numbers to figure
8: Arizona State has now lost eight games in a row to Washington.
31: Montana saw its 31-game home conference winning streak snapped by Northern Arizona.
Other outcomes of note:
- The best rivalry in the WCC wasn’t much of anything. Saint Mary’s made one 3-pointer, had two assists, and ended up with a 73-51 loss to Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have a bigger edge on the league than initially thought.
- No. 1 Arizona had no issues with Washington State. Literally, none at all. The Cougars had seven points in the first half. The final was 60-25 Arizona. A football score of sorts.
- Wisconsin was another unbeaten that cruised to a win, as freshman Nigel Hayes went for 19 points and six boards off the bench in a 76-49 win over Northwestern.
- And Wichita State rounds out the four unbeatens that remained that way on Thursday, going to <span data-shortcode= Illinois" data-canon="Southern Jaguars" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> for an 82-67 win. Cleanthony Early had 23 points.
- Oregon State showed signs on Thursday of being more competitive in the Pac-12 than expected, but the Beavers fell short at No. 20 Colorado, 64-58. The Buffaloes get unbeaten Oregon this weekend.
-- Sam Dower returned for Gonzaga on Thursday, playing seven minutes. Gary Bell Jr. is still out.
-- Kennesaw State head coach Lewis Preston is taking a “temporary leave of absence due to medical and personal reasons.”
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