Maybe you so unjustly had to work. Maybe you were shopping, watching unremarkable daytime college football or still in a food coma. Or maybe, most realistically, you were still picking yourself off the ground and trying to pool yourself back together after Gonzaga’s win over Duke.
In any event, here’s what you missed in the mid-major world on Black Friday.
Houston Baptist stuns Wake Forest
The Huskies had never beaten a power conference opponent in their 10 seasons as a Division I program. That changed on Friday with a 93-91 overtime win at Wake Forest, and came as their best player — Josh Ibarra — remains sidelined by injury. Ian DuBose (18 points) sent the game to overtime with a three pointer just before the regulation buzzer.
The win came after 30-point plus losses at Arizona and Wisconsin. Could it spur a resurgent season from HBU? The Southland has been anything but impressive this season, with league favorites Stephen F. Austin and Southeastern Louisiana looking underwhelming at various points. Big picture implications or not, this was a good day for the Huskies.
“It was great to see those guys enjoy and celebrate this win in the locker room,” [coach Ron] Cottrell said. “We as coaches were worried about, `are they too high?’ We were 1 for 9 to start the game, and I’m like, `We’re a little too jacked up. We’ve got to calm down a little bit.”
Kent State sinks the Commodores
In a game that may be overshadowed by Darius Garland’s injury, the Golden Flashes got out of Nashville with a two-point win over Vanderbilt. Senior Jaylin Walker had 22 points as Kent State lit up Vanderbilt’s defense better than any team this season — including USC, which the Commodores beat in Los Angeles. The “giant-” killing Golden Flashes have now beaten a power conference school in three straight years, knocking off Oregon State last season, and Texas the year before that.
The team’s radio folks savored the moment with a well-utilized SEC dig.
IT JUST MEANS MORE— Kent State Radio (@KSURadio) November 24, 2018
The Golden Flashes beat Vanderbilt 77-75 on the road in Nashville!
Listen below to the radio highlights!https://t.co/UuwLKxZHKf
A round of applause for the SWAC
All in all Friday was a very productive day within the SWAC. Martaveous McKnight scored 40 points as Arkansas Pine Bluff scraped for its first win, needing three overtimes to beat California Baptist. And after three non-conference road wins a season ago, Grambling State got its first such win this season by beating Niagara.
Let’s count some moral victories too. Prairie View A&M, which pushed a good UNC Greensboro team earlier this week, put a scare into Georgia Tech, leading the Yellow Jackets at halftime. Winless Alabama A&M also got oh so close, falling in overtime at Northwestern State behind 24 points from Jalen Reeder.
Grant Riller lights up UAB
The College of Charleston junior guard shook off back-to-back poor shooting outings by drilling the Blazers with 33 points (on 13-for-17 shooting no less). The outburst helped send the Cougars to a date with Memphis in the AdvoCare Invitational’s fifth place game, and gave them a second solid, if in name only, win on the year (the other coming against Rhode Island).
Even in consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and LSU, Charleston was able to keep both offenses in check, suggesting the Cougars may well be a thorny match up should they emerge from a difficult CAA in March.
Don’t forget about Samford in the SoCon
There’s been so much going on in the SoCon this season — mainly, Furman — that the Bulldogs quietly impressive start to the season may have gone unnoticed. That continued on Friday, as Samford picked up its second road win in the past five days by beating Fort Wayne. Junior point guard Josh Sharkey led the way with a career-high tying 25 points, leading a Bulldogs offense that has been very fun this season.
Samford shot over 50 percent from both two and three in the Fort Wayne win, and for the season rank 18th in the country in three-point percentage (42.9%) and 26th in effective field goal percentage (57.3%). That’s some good offense.
Keep an eye on Southern Utah?
UNLV gave the now 3-1 Thunderbirds their first loss of the season, but had to really earn it. Despite a massive advantage on the glass, the Rebels had to hold off a second half rally that saw SUU get the deficit to three with under 30 seconds left. It was the fourth straight win for the Rebels, which rebounded from an opening loss to Loyola Marymount with a manageable run of home games.
But it;s SUU’s 3-1 start — its best in years — that may be worth watching. The Thunderbirds have gotten road wins at San Jose State and Seattle, suggesting that they may be able to better their mid-to-low projected Big Sky placement in preseason coaches’ and media polls. SUU had not won a non-conference road game since 2015, and has a formidable (and big) frontcourt in Cameron Oluyitan, Dwayne Morgan and Andre Adams. Oluyitan (14.3 PPG) and Adams (10.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG) have made a splash in their first years in the program after transferring from Boise State and Arizona State, respectively.
No walk in the College Park for Marshall
The Thundering Herd took a 104-67 loss at Maryland on Friday, as Jon Elmore (6 points, 2-14 FG) and C.J. Burks (10 points, 3-14 FG) both had uncharacteristic games. Marshall’s pace did not bother the Terrapins, who put five players in double figures en route to a huge offensive day. Maryland shot nearly 60 percent from within the arc as, at least for one day, the Thundering Herd very much missed Ajdin Penava.
Losses to solid power conference teams will happen, but it seemed the Thundering Herd would’ve made this particular match up more compelling. Marshall gets cracks at Texas A&M and Virginia before conference play begins.