Night Court: San Diego State, Wichita State impress
A month into the season, we can start to take stock of a few teams. And it's clear Wichita State and San Diego State are going to be good.
Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Sunday …
Only 12 days ago, Memphis went into Stillwater was throttled by Oklahoma State, 101-80. After that game, it looked like Memphis was going to be Memphis. Beating up on bad teams, losing to good ones. That was the story of Josh Pastner’s career with the Tigers: 0-13 against teams ranked in the top 25. Sunday night might have changed all that, as Memphis won the Old Spice Classic with a 73-68 win over Oklahoma State. Gary Parrish has more.
Heading into the season, no one was really sure how good San Diego State was going to be. After the Aztecs’ loss in mid-November to Arizona, it was still very unclear. Well, after winning the Wooden Legacy, it’s clear San Diego State is going to be pretty good once again. The Aztecs knocked off Marquette on Sunday, which followed a very good win over Creighton on Friday. <span data-shortcode= Thames" data-canon="Xavier Thames" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_PLAYER" id="shortcode0"> had 29 points for San Diego State, which went on a 14-4 run in the final three and a half minutes to get the 67-59 victory.
What else we’ll be talking about in the morning: North Carolina. In general.
What’s the deal with the Tar Heels? They lose at home to Belmont two weeks ago, then beat Richmond and Louisville – then go to UAB and drop one. That’s not the best way to prepare for a road trip to Michigan State on Wednesday. Colleague Matt Norlander went more in-depth on why the Tar Heels are so inconsistent, so go take a look.
The Shockers made a surprising to the Final Four last season as a No. 9 seed, but this year’s version could be a better, more talented team. They are now 8-0 this season, including wins over BYU and now at Saint Louis. The latter is extremely impressive, given how good the Billikens usually are on their homecourt. Ron Baker continued his stellar start to the season with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists, while the defense held Saint Louis to below 40 percent shooting. Back-to-back games against Tennessee and at Alabama later this month will be interesting.
Another good win: George <span data-shortcode=" data-canon="Washington Huskies" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> holds Doug McDermott to seven points and beats Creighton. Could the Colonials be a factor in the Atlantic 10? They improved to 6-1 on the season, and Isaiah Armwood’s performance on McDermott was a message to the rest of the conference. The All-American shot just 2-for-12 from the field, with Armwood doing most of the work on him. At the other end, Armwood was one of four players in double-figures, with 12 points.
But that’s a bad loss: Is Fairleigh Dickinson the king of New Jersey? Probably not, but the Knights have now beaten Rutgers and Seton Hall in consecutive games. Prior to this week, Fairleigh Dickinson hadn’t won a Division-I game since January 12 of last season. Greg Herenda has a long way to go with FDU, but the Knights are certainly on the upswing the past couple of games. With that said, it wasn’t a good loss for Rutgers and it’s definitely not one for Seton Hall.
It’s certainly not a good loss: Arizona State falls to Miami. The Sun Devils had plenty of good vibes after starting 6-0, including a win at UNLV and a victory over Marquette. But they got blitzed by Creighton on Thanksgiving, and also lost to Miami on Sunday night. Jahii Carson shot 2-for-14 from the field and finished with eight points, and Jordan Bachynski’s 20 points and 15 boards weren’t enough to pick up the slack.
Players with impact
- Sean Armand gets the attention for Iona, but Tre Bowman went to work on Sunday, finishing with 29 points.
- Lehigh’s Jesse Chuku had career highs in points and rebounds on Sunday, going for 26 and 15 against Sacred Heart.
- Stephen F. Austin held off High Point, but John <span data-shortcode=" data-canon="John Brown" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_PLAYER" id="shortcode0"> of High Point led the way with 26 points and 13 boards.
- It came in a loss, but <span data-shortcode= State" data-canon="Oregon Ducks" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0">’s Devon Collier had 32 points and nine rebounds against DePaul.
Numbers to figure:
1904-05: That’s the last time Cornell started a season 0-9. The Big Red were 0-10 to begin that season.
15: That’s the current losing streak of Cornell, which was extended in a 101-67 loss to Notre Dame on Sunday.
1: Six Big East teams played Sunday. One of them came out with a win, in DePaul.
Other outcomes of note:
- Jon Rothstein and I were both at Barclays Center for Kentucky vs. Providence, so we’ll have much more on it – but the Wildcats dominated defensively for a 79-65 win.
- VCU had its ups and downs in Puerto Rico, but the Rams got an impressive road win at Belmont – in a matchup of two of the better “non-BCS” programs in the country. Juvonte Reddic had 18 and 11.
- Harvard won the Great Alaska Shootout, handling TCU in the finals, 71-50.
- Two teams that might have opened some eyes at the Old Spice Classic were LSU and Butler – but the Tigers got the third-place nod with a 70-68 overtime win.
- Gonzaga shot 50 percent from the field and held Coppin State to just 11.1 percent from 3-point range for an 86-51 win.
- Five guys in double-figures for Oregon in its win over Cal Poly. Dominic Artis’ return is getting closer.
- Baylor needed an easy game after coming back from Maui before its plays Kentucky on Friday night – and the Bears got that, beating Hardin-Simmons by 45.
-- DePaul had just been blown out by Wichita State and Texas in the CBE Classic, but the Blue Demons got 23 points from Cleveland Melvin and beat Oregon State.
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