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College basketball live blog: Marquee conference matchups to start January

The first Saturday in January is loaded

NCAA Basketball: Hofstra at Villanova Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: 10:53 p.m.

A marquee Ohio Valley matchup did not disappoint.

Eastern Kentucky’s visit to Murray State featured the league’s top two scorers in Nick Mayo and Ja Morant. And did they live up to the billing, giving the world a thrilling back-and-forth bucket-getting display.

Mayo scored 36 points (11-18 FG, 3-8 FG, 11-13 FT), helping propel the Colonels to a surprising seven-point half time lead on the road. Morant countered with 34 points (12-24 FG, 2-6 3FG, 8-12 FT), 16 of which came as a part of the Racers’ 56-point second half effort that grabbed them a 97-85 win.

The second half barrage helped Murray State avoid a home loss it surely would’ve lamented — especially with Belmont dropping a home game itself earlier this week. It also yet again showed the Racers are certifiably fun as hell.

We know about Morant. Oh, do we ever know about him. He did the whole “dunking into oblivion” thing down the stretch, but so did Shaq Buchanan and Darnell Cowart as Murray State pushed the final margin out during the final few minutes. The thrill-o-meter is high with the Racers, should they run across your selection of games at any point this season.

- Greg Mitchell

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.

The last winless team in college basketball is no more! After going 0-15 in non-conference play, Coppin State opened up MEAC play with a win over Savannah State. It’s the second consecutive year in which the Eagles didn’t win a game until conference play, but a win is a win.

In the Ivy League, Penn and Princeton decided to get weird before Princeton ultimately pulled it out in OT. A basketball game started and an EKG broke out instead:

The end of overtime was apparently under the influence of something as well:

These two teams are currently on different trajectories. Princeton has now won three straight, including its upset of Arizona State over the holiday break. Penn has now lost three straight and doesn’t look nearly as good as it did in December when it beat Miami and Villanova.

- Chris Schutte

UPDATE: 6:01 p.m.


Hofstra trailed by nine late in this one but held Northeastern without a field goal in the final 5:11, closing on a 14-2 run. Northeastern still had a chance to win it in the final seconds, but Vasa Pusica missed a long three that gave Justin Wright-Foreman just enough time to barrel into the front court and knock down a buzzer-beater. That shot gave him 42 points and gave Hofstra a 75-72 win in a game between two of the best teams in the CAA.

- Russell Steinberg

UPDATE: 5:37 p.m.

A tail of the Loyola narrative, as brought to you by us:

Preseason: Loyola is going to be really good again, top 2-3 team in the Valley.
November: They stink. Overrated. Sad!!!
December: ???? forgotten about

That’s right, the Ramblers are 2-0 in the MVC with a win over newly ranked (in The Other Top 25) Drake on Saturday. How’d they do it?

By shooting the damn lights out.

Marques Townes had 28 points on 11-17 shooting. Clayton Custer had 26 on 9-12 shooting and was 6-8 from three.

Team stats: 63.3% from the field, 50% from three (12-24), 76% from two-point range, 1.31 points per possession.

It all added up to an 85-74 win on the road.

- Russell Steinberg

UPDATE: 4:03 p.m.

We mentioned Northern Kentucky’s bounce back win at Detroit below, a game in which Titans guard Antoine Davis continued the blistering start to his career. The freshman lit it up again, scoring 33 points on 13-24 shooting — doing most his damage within the three-point arc.

This notable since in the game Davis set the program’s all-time record for three-pointers made a by a freshman. As a reminder, it is only early January.

Buoyed by a 48-point midweek outing against Wright State, Davis is averaging well over 30 points per game during Horizon League play. The coach’s son is starting to generate some draft buzz, and seems worth the price of you, the college basketball fan’s, attention on a nightly basis.

- Greg Mitchell

UPDATE: 3:07 p.m.

It’s been a moderately quiet day so far with some of the bigger games tipping off later in the day, but the biggest thing come form the early slate comes out of the Atlantic 10. La Salle - who was just 2-10 on the year heading into today - comes out of Amherst with a 69-60 win over UMass. The up and down year for the Minutemen continues as they drop to 7-7 on the year.

Other notes and scores from the first slot of games:

  • Detroit’s hot start in Horizon League play came to an end against Northern Kentucky as the Norse cruised to a 95-73 win. Road teams as a whole have been a force early on in the Horizon League.
  • Stony Brook won its America East opener against UMass Lowell. It looks like it’ll be a battle between the Seahawks and Vermont for the league title.
  • UNC Greensboro held off VMI with a 71-68 win. The Spartans are off to a 3-0 start in the SoCon with a matchup with Wofford coming next week.

- Chris Schutte

You might not know this, but the new year doesn’t start on Jan. 1. It starts on the first college basketball Saturday in January.

Happy New Year!

The college basketball gods have given us a gift to start 2019 in the form of a loaded conference slate, featuring matchups between conference favorites and at-large contenders headed out on the road.

The Conference USA schedule started with a bang earlier in the week with Marshall winning at the buzzer against Old Dominion. Today, the Monarchs host a Western Kentucky team that’s already beaten Wisconsin.

This evening, Liberty, which has already made noise in the non-conference, heads to Florida Gulf Coast for its first matchup with Dunk City.

And that’s just a setup for what should be a wild night out west. Nevada puts its unbeaten record on the line at The Pit (that’s what we’re still calling it), Seattle plays at Grand Canyon, and BYU faces Saint Mary’s in a crucial resume game for both sides.

Here’s how to watch all those games and more:

Bucknell at Boston U., 1 p.m. Stadium
Northern Kentucky at Detroit, 1 p.m., ESPN+
The Citadel at Furman, 4 p.m., ESPN3
Northeastern at Hofstra, 4 p.m.,
Penn at Princeton, 5 p.m., ESPN+
Duquesne at Davidson, 6 p.m., NBC Sports
Western Kentucky at Old Dominion, 7 p.m., Facebook
Vermont at Albany, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Liberty at Florida Gulf Coast, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Nevada at New Mexico, 8 p.m., ESPNU
Seattle at Grand Canyon, 8 p.m. ESPN3
San Diego State at Boise State, 10 p.m., CBS Sports
BYU at Saint Mary’s, 11 p.m., ESPN2