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Monday Morning Water Cooler: TJ Haws stunned Houston to highlight a weekend of buzzer-beaters

The mid-majors got after it this weekend. Here are the highlights you need to know.


Happy Monday morning and welcome the Water Cooler.

The college basketball season is off and running as we settle down from the excitement from opening week and brace ourselves for the grind of winter. In most places, the weather is getting cold outside but folks, the action on the court is heating up!

Get comfortable with your morning cold brew (cold brew and iced coffee are year-round drinks, this is canon) and catch up on the weekend’s action to start the week off on the right foot.

TJ Haws ripped out some hearts in Houston

It may have been a bit under the radar, but BYU picked up a massive win against Houston on Friday night thanks to the heroics of senior guard TJ Haws. Trailing by one in the final seconds, BYU got it to Haws and let him go to work. Here’s what ensued:

That my friends is what we in the industry like to call the member’s bounce. Here’s an alternate angle from behind the BYU bench:

The buzzer-beater wound up as the No. 2 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Friday night. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t show you the scene in the locker room:

The marquee non-conference win has been something that has eluded BYU in recent years. However, the Cougars will have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks to build on Friday night’s Quadrant I win.

Monmouth’s George Papas had some fun

Kansas beat Monmouth 112-57 on Friday. There aren’t any details from that game of significance except for this moment from Monmouth’s George Papas:

Ignore the smarmy, Big J Journo commentary and appreciate the lunacy of the moment. The audacity to do this down 55 (FIFTY FIVE) points in Phog Allen and then proceeding to get T’d up takes some real cajones. But it rules!

Monmouth head coach King Rice wasn’t a fan of the antics, but that’s likely because his team had just gotten doubled up by one of the best teams in the country.

Bill Self didn’t have a problem with it though!

College basketball is supposed to be fun. Stupid moments like these are fun. Thinking otherwise makes you a nerd. Don’t be a nerd.

A-10 BACK?????

Last week in this same column, I wrote that the A-10’s opening week was underwhelming due to the lack of quality wins. I may have spoken too soon!

Rhode Island highlighted the weekend as the Rams took down Alabama and Nate Oats in Kingston rather convincingly. Rhody held a 50-33 lead at the half before cruising to a 93-79 victory. The backcourt duo of Fatts Russell and Jeff Dowtin led the charge with 22 and 21 points, respectively, and the Rams were able to hold Alabama under 1.00 points per possession — thanks largely in part to a 5-22 performance from behind the arc.

Richmond also picked up a W against an SEC foe on Friday, although the Spiders needed OT for the second straight game before ultimately holding off Vanderbilt. The Commodores aren’t exactly what some people would call “good,” but there’s no reason to scoff at a win over an SEC team.

Vandy @ Richmond

If you’re looking for a darkhorse in the A-10, Richmond might not be a bad choice. The Spiders are experienced and were one of the better offensive teams in the conference last year.

The pair of wins capped off what should be considered a great week for the A-10. VCU’s win over LSU was clearly huge and will be a great resume builder come March, and Saint Joseph’s win against UConn is another feather in the cap for the league as a whole. The Bonnies even beat Rutger! All in all, not a bad week.

The weekend in #Brutality

We had a busy weekend for in Brutality, adding four instances to the leaderboard.

We generally don’t condone mid-major on mid-major violence, but rules are rules. Morgan State picked up a win over Jamion Christian and George Washington, who find themselves on the Brutality Leaderboard for the second time this year. The Colonials lost to American earlier in the week. Oof.

In the northeast, Belmont bombarded Boston College from behind the arc to the tune of 100 points. The Bruins hit an absurd 15-26 from deep and were led by Adam Kunkel’s 35 points. After failing to crack double figures last year, Kunkel has now scored 28 and 35 points in his last two games. Pretty good! It looks like the Bruins’ offense is waking up after a slow start in the season opener loss to Illinois State.

The most exciting finish came at the hands of Anthony Lamb and Vermont. The Catamounts picked up their first win over a Big East school in almost a century thanks to some late game heroics from the star forward as Vermont toppled St. John’s in Queens:

Liberty throttled East Carolina, 77-57. The Flames were given a 68% chance of winning according to KenPom and are very clearly a better team. It still counts as brutality though!

Here’s where we’re at with brutality so far:

Brutality Leaderboard 11/18

Buzzer beaters galore

If you want more late game heroics, Rice capped off a 22-point comeback against UC Santa Barbara with this game-winner from Payton Moore.

Here’s Merrimack pulling out a win that doesn’t involve stuffing Chris Collins in a garbage can!

Canisius handed Bucknell its second loss of the season thanks to some late-game heroics from Jacco Fritz:

The best game-winner of the day, however, might end up being the best game-winner we’ll have all season. Here’s Montana State’s Harald Frey hitting from 60 feet out to stun UNC Greensboro at the horn:

Is this March????

Other news, notes, tidbits

  • Here’s some fun with small sample sizes: South Dakota is the only team in the country hitting more than 50% from three-point range. The Coyotes are a smoldering 42-75 (56%) through four games. That feels sustainable! Unsurprisingly, they’re 4-0.
  • It’s still early, but offensive production is down across college basketball. Per Kenpom, efficiency is below 100 (1.00 points per possession) for the first time since 2003. The national scoring average of 70.3 points per game is the lowest mark since the implementation of the 30-second shot clock in 2015. Perhaps the most striking decline has been in three-point shooting, which could possibly be attributed to the three-point line being moved back to the international line of 22 feet and 1.75 inches. Nationally, teams are hitting at just a 32.5% clip, which would be the lowest since the inception of the three-point line in 1986-87. Again, it’s early. There’s no reason to overreact to this small of a sample size, but it’s worth noting and keeping an eye on as the season progresses.
  • Delaware and DePaul are both tied for most wins in the nation with five each. Feel free to use that information however you’d like.

On tap this week


SMU at Evansville, ESPN+
UC Irvine at Colorado, Pac-12 Network
Wofford at Missouri, SEC Network+
Colgate at Auburn, SEC Network
Southern Utah at UCLA, Pac-12 Network
UTSA at Utah State, Stadium


Furman at Alabama, SEC Network+
New Mexico at UTEP, CUSAtv
ETSU at Kansas, ESPN+
Nevada at Davidson, ESPN+
Pepperdine at USC, Pac-12 Network
Vermont at Virginia, ACC Regional Networks


BYU at Boise State, CBS Sports Network
Saint Mary’s at Fresno State, ESPNU
San Diego State at San Diego, WCC Network
Belmont at Lipscomb, ESPN+


New Mexico at New Mexico State, Aggie Vision (???)
Toledo at Notre Dame, ACC Network
UC Irvine at TCU, Fox Southwest