Phew. Has your head stopped spinning?
Wednesday had a March feel to it with a barrage of exciting finishes. Here’s what happened, from Indiana State’s upset to Long Beach State’s return to the win column:
Indiana State finally finishes an upset
Bigger schools don't wanna visit a team like Indiana State, because bigger schools can lose. From giddy Terre Haute: https://t.co/gZqB7iGoah— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) December 8, 2016
And was this a big one. After letting games slip away against Iowa State and Stanford, the Sycamores took down No. 16 Butler in Terre Haute. Brenton Scott was brilliant as usual (25 points, 9 rebounds) but the upshot going forward is Matt Van Scyoc. He broke out of a lull with 23 points (including 6-9 3FG), and gives the Sycamore offense another dimension. Should they beat Valpo on Dec. 17 their at-large hopes may have life.
Davidson doesn’t give up in Chapel Hill
Down 16 in the second half with that Carolina Blue under your feet is intimidating. That’s where Davidson found itself, but the Wildcats kept fighting. They held UNC without a field goal for the last five plus minutes of the game, and crawled within one possession with two minutes left. They would ultimately fall but the effort was notable. Jack Gibbs was predictably great (30 points, 9-20 FG) and freshman Jon Axel Gudmundsson was impressive (10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists).
UAB burns SFA’s streak
Stephen F. Austin’s 31-game home winning streak is over, courtesy of UAB. The Ty Charles-less Lumberjacks have not played well this year, and running into a talented Blazers team finally did them in in Nagodoches. It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the streak. For UAB, William Lee was at his #Blockingham best with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks. Can the Blazers turn a corner against Memphis and Texas over the next two weeks?
VCU takes it on the chin
It’s no big deal for a mid-major to drop games to power fives, right? For VCU that’s wrong, very wrong. The Rams started slow at home against rebuilding Georgia Tech, and while the second half went better, they fell to Tadric Jackson and the Yellow Jackets in overtime. This VCU team is not deep enough yet to weather off-nights from JeQuan Lewis. The senior point guard has been superb this year, but struggled in a loss to Illinois, and turned it over too much against GT.
“I had seven turnovers, which is unacceptable,” Lewis said. “At the point guard position, I’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I forced it a lot tonight in some places. That’s on me. But we’re going to move forward.”
Lopes certainly are rising
Whatever your feelings on for-profit Grand Canyon, you can’t deny they’re is something worth following in Phoenix. Fresh off Rick Pitino’s glowing comments about the GCU crowd, the Lopes downed San Diego State for the second straight year, this time in front of a raucous home atmosphere. Freshman Oscar Frayer had a career night scoring (19 points) and hit pivotal shots late. For SDSU, the MWC is on severe one-bid watch at this point.
More notable action
- Valpo lost to Kentucky at Rupp Arena by double digits, no big story there. But Alec Peters came off the court with an apparent injury in the second half. No worries, says Matt Lottich. “"It'd take a crow bar to keep him off the court,” he told reporters after the game. The senior finished with 23 points and eight rebounds.
- Elijah Brown dropped in a last second shot as New Mexico beat UTEP at the Pit. Brown scored 25 points as the Lobos won without Tim Williams, who missed the game due to a concussion.
- George Mason, which looked dreadful early in the year, has now won six straight after a 19-point win at Penn State. Senior guard Marquise Moore had 25 points and 13 rebounds.
- Loyola Chicago ran its record to 8-2 by beating reeling Wright State. Porter Moser was relieved his team didn’t fall victim to a letdown game. “This was one of the biggest wins we could have as a program. I had a lot of people say that this could be a letdown game, but I never brought that up to our guys because good teams don’t have letdown games. We didn’t play our best, but our guys played hard and I’m really pleased getting a win following that result against San Diego State on Saturday.”
- Harvard beat BC on the road. Color us shocked.
- Long Beach State broke an understandable nine-game losing streak with a home win against Pepperdine. This was the 49ers first Div. I win of the season.