Shining moments: The top memories from the 2019-20 college basketball season
Each member of our staff selected 'one shining moment' they'll remember from the season
It's time to finally, officially tie a bow on the 2019-20 season, once and for all. We've handed out the hardware and announced the player, coach, freshman and defensive player of year. We provided Simulation Sunday, and congrats to Dayton for winning the national championship there.
Without an official "March Madness provides, these are the games and achievements that will substitute in as the shining moments. For example, one amazing thing not listed below but we'll remind you of right now: Vermont's Josh Speidel . As emotionally affecting as anything the NCAA Tournament could have or would have given us." to wrap up the festivities, we did want to provide you with a look back at the season and the moment we'll remember most. In lieu of what
We asked each CBS Sports college basketball writer to select one shining moment from the 2019-20 season and from the eighth night of the season in November all the way up to to the last week of March play, here are some of indelible moments that defined an unforgettable, curtailed season.
Evansville knocks off No. 1 Kentucky at Rupp Arena
College basketball's season was off the rails by January as top-ranked team after top-ranked team took loss after loss in stunning fashion. And it all started on November 12 in Lexington, Kentucky, when Evansville did the unthinkable by marching into Rupp Arena as 25-point dogs -- where Kentucky hadn't lost a nonconference game since 2017 -- and stunning then-No. 1 Kentucky, 67-64. They held UK to 4-of-17 shooting from 3-point range while they, on the other hand, hit 9 of their 30 attempts from distance. It prompted the second turnover at the top of the AP Top 25 rankings in as many weeks.
If that wasn't stunning enough, what followed in the months thereafter certainly was as this shining moment did not lead to a happy ending for the Purple Aces. Evansville coach Walter McCarty was later suspended and subsequently , and the team, meanwhile, managed to go winless (0-18) in conference play. They became the first team in a single season in NCAA history to knock off an AP-ranked No. 1 team while losing every conference game. -- Kyle Boone
Stephen F. Austin pulls off stunner at Duke
Looking back at the schedule, all these months later, and there were at least three or four games on Nov. 26 that seemed more interesting than Stephen F. Austin at Duke. We had Michigan State, coming off of its second loss, battling Anthony Edwards and Georgia. We had Kansas, on a four-game winning streak, meeting BYU. We had undefeated Auburn vs. Richmond. We had undefeated Colorado vs. Clemson. So Stephen F. Austin at Duke, with the Blue Devils closing as 27.5-point favorites, didn't seem like a game that would matter much to anybody other than Duke and SFA fans.
But it turned into an all-timer.
The Lumberjacks came from 14 points down inside Cameron Indoor, got a stop in the final seconds of regulation, and took Duke to overtime. So wild. And things got wilder and weirder from there because both teams struggled in the extra period. It was 81-81 at the end of regulation but just 83-83 with 10 seconds remaining in OT. Naturally, Tre Jones had the ball. The sophomore point guard got to the top of the lane and tried to pass it to Matthew Hurt. But Hurt fumbled the pass, at which point SFA's Gavin Kensmil recovered the ball and tossed it ahead to Nathan Bain, who somehow had a clear path to the basket and found himself in a race against nothing but the clock. The only question was whether he'd beat it. As you surely remember, he did via a layup at the buzzer.
It was, and still is,and something that turned an otherwise forgettable Tuesday into a night sports fans will remember for decades. -- Gary Parrish
Kansas vs. Dayton duel in masterful Maui matchup
How about the fact that this game between Kansas and Dayton (which were two of the best teams in college basketball when the season ended) came on Nov. 27, the day after Stephen F. Austin went legend against Duke? That was the best 24-hour span of the season, clearly. This showdown out in Hawaii is on the short list for the best games of 2019-20.
This is the matchup that definitively announced the arrival, and verified the legitimacy, of the 2019-20 Dayton Flyers. The Maui Invitational is always reliable, and in Kansas' 90-84 OT win against UD I think we were given one of the three best finales in the 30-plus-year history of that event. Its awesomeness was evident early, and if you need proof, us college hoop hacks realized in real time how good this one was from the get-go.
It wasn't only Obi Toppin. He had 18 and was fearless, but UD's Ryan Mikesell actually finished with a team-high 19 points. Kansas' Udoka Azubuike got a game-high 29 on 12-of-15 shooting to go along with four blocks and, weirdly, only three rebounds.
The game was efficient -- 1.12 points per possession overall -- and provided us about a dozen terrific plays, none better than Toppin's staredown 3-pointer.
My tongue-in-cheek vote for Toppin as came at this moment, when he unleashed a 3-pointer from the wing and then turned around and peeked at Kansas' bench, the shot going in with his back to the hoop. The audacity!
Kansas won, and now with the season full in our rearview mirror, I'm glad we can at least say we saw two of the three or four best teams in the sport played each other on a neutral court in a tournament setting. It was a terrific game and a small offering of what we missed out on by not having a 2020 NCAA Tournament. -- Matt Norlander
Baylor finally beats Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse
On Jan. 11, Baylor was 12-1, riding an 11-game winning streak and was ranked fourth in the AP Top 25 poll, but many still did not believe in the Bears. Sure, they had wins over Arizona, Butler and Villanova, but let's see what they can do at Kansas, a place in which they had never won.
All doubt about the quality of the Baylor was put to rest as the Bears dominated the Jayhawks 67-55 for their first win in 17 tries at Allen Fieldhouse. It also tied the largest margin of defeat at home for Kansas in the Bill Self era. Jared Butler led Baylor with 22 points, while MaCio Teague added 16.
Baylor jumped to the No. 1 spot in the poll two weeks later and rode that winning streak to a school record 23-games before seeing it broken by the Jayhawks on Feb 22 in Waco, Texas. Despite a bit of a slump after that, the Bears were in position to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. -- Jerry Palm
Double buzzer-beaters rescue Duke over UNC
The 100th anniversary season of the Duke-North Carolina rivalry delivered in a timeless way when the teams met on the UNC campus on Feb. 8 while trending in opposite directions. The Tar Heels entered with losses in seven of their past nine games while Duke had won 13 of 15 since its shocking loss to Stephen F. Austin. But as has been proven often throughout the years in this series, records, betting lines and general logic can be disregarded, especially when the underdog is the home team.
The Tar Heels led by 13 late in the second half before Duke surged back in the final minutes to force overtime when Tre Jones intentionally missed a free throw, got the rebound and hit a jumper at the buzzer.
Then, Duke came back from five down in overtime to win it 98-96 when Wendell Moore Jr.with a put-back. -- David Cobb
Baldwin leads Butler over Xavier
In the last game that Butler would play for the 2019-20 season -- on March 7 -- senior Kamar Baldwin put together his masterpiece to conclude a career full of epic individual performances. Baldwin delivered so many spectacular clutch shots against the best teams and best players in the Big East throughout his career, but his final act served as one of the season's most spectacular highlights.
A hungry Xavier team on the bubble and looking to win its way into the NCAA Tournament came roaring back late in the second half to take a two point lead with 8.9 seconds left. Then Baldwin, who finished the game with a career-high 36 points, took the ball from coast-to-coast -- did not ever appear to consider a pass -- and after a couple of feet of separation were created from Bryce Nze's screen he gathered himself and let the game-winner fly, leaving no time on the clock once the shot dropped.
It's too bad we didn't get to see Baldwin in the NCAA Tournament, because few individual players in college basketball had a knack for elevating their level of play like the Butler senior. His game is seemingly built for March Madness, as he showed on multiple occasions and throughout his college career. -- Chip Patterson
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