Thursday was full of action as teams wrapped up their non-conference schedules prior to the holiday weekend. Here is a look at what you might have missed:
Santa Clara upsets Valparaiso
Valparaiso had supposedly completed the most difficult non-con games. The Crusaders were expected to skate through their final two games as warm-ups for conference play. Santa Clara had other ideas, defeating Valpo in double overtime 87-80.
The Broncos did what no one else had to this point: win a game at Valpo. In fact, the Crusaders hadn’t lost at home since Feb. 13. Jared Brownridge had a great game, dueling with Alec Peters for much of the night to lead the Broncos. Brownridge finished with 30 points, including 6-of-11 from three. He was also on the floor for 49 of the game’s 50 total minutes. While fatigue began to take a visible toll on the Crusaders, Brownridge never seemed to fade.
Peters had an outstanding game in a losing effort, but that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. He finished with a game high 35 points and also grabbed 13 rebounds. The Crusaders trailed for much of the game until Peters pulled them back into the thick of things with a barrage of second half threes.
Ultimately, Santa Clara wore down Valpo in the overtime periods. The Crusaders defense had to work hard fighting through screens to keep up with Brownridge, and it took its toll on the offensive end. It remains to be seen what this game will mean for both teams as the year wears on, but now it appears to be a bad loss for Valpo and a major victory for Herb Sendek and Santa Clara.
Wichita State gets back on track
The Shockers were eager to get back on the court after a disappointing outing against Oklahoma State last Saturday. It showed in a dominant, 89-67 win over South Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits had been surging since a slow start. They’d won six of their last seven to pull themselves up to .500. As our Chris Schutte profiled this week, forward Mike Daum has been sensational for the Jackrabbits, and it was finally starting to translate into wins. He led SDSU in scoring on Thursday as well, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting. But it wasn’t enough to beat the Shockers.
Wichita State played like it had something to prove. The Shockers offense shot 54 percent from the field, including 44 percent from three. Landry Shamet was the star for Wichita State, scoring 21 points, most of which came on six three’s.
The win pushes the Shockers to 10-3 entering MVC play, where they remain conference favorites.
The Dons down Utah
Lost amid the WCC’s banner year has been a great start from San Francisco. But maybe there’s good reason for that. The Dons had run out to an 8-2 start against a weak schedule, and before last night the best win they could claim was against Troy (KenPom #218).
That’s not longer the case. San Francisco hit a Diamond Head Classic record 16 three’s en route to an 89-86 win over Utah. A Don’s offense which has been good all year poured in points against a Pac-12 opponent, albeit one in the Utes that also lacks a quality win.
Still, this is a positive step forward for San Francisco, which plays an intriguing game against Illinois State today.
If you thought the two overtimes Valpo and Santa Clara were exhausting, how about a three overtime contest between La Salle and Mercer?
Mercer needed baskets in the final seconds of both regulation and the second overtime to stay alive. Jordan Strawberry led the Bears in scoring with 31 points, and Rian Holland wasn’t far behind, finishing with 27 points and logging 52 minutes.
But, the Explorers ultimately came out on top in the third overtime, winning 98-96. Jordan Price led La Salle in scoring with 26 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double. Teammate B.J. Johnson was able to complete a double-double of his own with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
For the Explorers, this marathon follows a solid victory against FGCU. La Salle will ride this momentum into a matchup in Dayton on Dec. 30.
Close calls in Ohio
Two mid-majors nearly pulled upsets against power conference foes in the Buckeye State.
Marshall traveled to Cincinnati to take on the No. 24 Bearcats. The Thundering Herd charged out to a 12-point halftime lead on the strength of 14 threes. They would only add three more to that total in the second half though, as Cincinnati closed the gap and sent the game into overtime.
The Thundering Herd were able to tie the game with under a minute to play in the overtime period. But, they surrendered a basket to Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain with under a second to play and fell by a final of 93-91. The star of the night for Marshall was Stevie Browning, who finished with 28 points and shot 6-of-8 from three.
Here is a look at how the final seconds went down in Marshall’s near upset:
A couple of hours away in Columbus, UNC Asheville pushed Ohio State to the limit. The Bulldogs trailed for much of the game, but were able to tie things up on a Kevin Vannatta three with 4:50 to play:
Moments later, following a technical foul on the Buckeyes, UNC Asheville took a brief lead. The game remained tied until 2:00 mark when Ohio State’s JaQuan Lyle scored what would ultimately be the winning basket. The Bulldogs kept it close, but lost by a score of 79-77.
The loss takes the Bulldogs to 8-5 and is their second in a row after a loss to UNC Greensboro on Monday. They will look to rebound as the begin Big South play with Radford next week.
Other finals of note:
- Akron 76 - Maryland-Eastern Shore 60
- Saint Mary’s 74 - South Carolina State 47
- UT Arlington 80 - Loyola Marymount 77
- Long Beach State 56 - Colorado State 55
- Cal State Fullerton 77 - Portland 72
- BYU 81 - Cal State Bakersfield 71
- George Mason 75 - Prairie View A&M 59
- Towson 76 - Iona 69
- Nevada 67 - UC Santa Barbara 66
- VCU 78 - Louisiana Monroe 65
- Charleston 77 - Western Carolina 59
- Massachusetts 78 - Rider 67
- Canisius 106 - St. Bonaventure 101 (OT)
- Fort Wayne 93 - Detroit 86
- Rhode Island 73 - William & Mary 62
- Princeton 72 - Bucknell 70
- Old Dominion 65 - Howard 46
- Winthrop 66 - Saint Louis 55
- Wright State 77 - Murray State 62
- Wyoming 72 - DePaul 58