The first on-court glimpse of Gonzaga with that big, fat No. 1 next to its name stole the show Thursday night. Will has a great recap of the Zags’ program-record 23rd-straight win here.
Here’s a rundown of the some of the more notable Thursday action back East:
CAA tightens, UNC Wilmington is not invincible
The Seahawks are no longer running away with the CAA after a 67-66 home loss to College of Charleston. The teams now sit tied atop the league at 9-2, which would’ve seemed improbable after UNCW won the first meeting between the two in Charleston on Jan. 19. The return game was played at the Cougars’ preferred, grinding pace, which forced UNCW into one of its worst offensive nights of the season (0.96 points per possession). Jarrell Brantley hit the game winner with 8.7 second left, and freshman Grant Riller led all scorers with 22 points. UNCW, which is now on a two-game losing streak, looks to regroup at home against Delaware on Saturday.
Northeastern and William & Mary continue heading in opposite directions
What happened, Huskies? After creating buzz with an eight-game winning streak and 5-0 CAA start, Northeastern has now lost five of its last six games after Thursday’s 94-69 drubbing at William & Mary. The Tribe are on the opposite trajectory. A high-flying offense has propelled them to a four-game winning streak that puts them within view of CofC and UNCW at 7-4. Daniel Dixon (28 points against the Huskies) has averaged 29.0 points over the last three games, while as a team the Tribe have averaged 1.39 points per possession.
UTEP does another favor for MTSU, extinguishes UAB
UAB has rebounded from its uneven (literally) non-con to put itself on MTSU’s heels in the CUSA race. But the Blazers, who had a chance to move within two games of the Blue Raiders, fell to suddenly-surging UTEP Thursday night. The Miners overcame a nine-point halftime deficit and have now won five of their last six games. After a brutal non-con run (2-10), they’ve defended much better recently and gotten great production from Omega Harris. The junior has scored in double figures in every CUSA game. For its part, MTSU continued its perfect start to league play by winning at UTSA, getting more great performances from Giddy Potts (22 points, 4-8 3FG) and Jacorey Williams (17 points, 11 rebounds).
- Valpo took care of business at Milwaukee behind 22 points from Alec Peters in a 71-54 win. The game (clearly) did not go to overtime, which is notable since the Panthers had played three straight games requiring an extra period (going 2-1 over that stretch).
- Green Bay won at UIC, 84-80, continuing a good stretch for the Phoenix. Linc Darner’s team had plenty of preseason buzz and largely fell flat in the non-con. They’re now 8-3 in Horizon League play, defending well and lo and behold, get a big game at home against the Crusaders this weekend.
- Mount St. Mary’s continued to run away with the NEC, improving to 10-1 after a 77-70 win over Bryant. Things were interesting a week ago with Farleigh Dickinson nipping at the Mountaineers heels. But FDU has now lost two-straight, including a disappointing home loss to Sacred Heart on Thursday night, and sit at 8-3. The two teams play in Emmitsburg on Feb. 18.