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Monday Morning Water Cooler: Jalen Crutcher highlights a wild weekend

The weather is cold, but the basketball action is heating up.

NCAA Basketball: Dayton at Saint Louis Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday morning and welcome to the Water Cooler.

After a one-week hiatus due to technological difficulties (forgetting to write it), the Water Cooler is back. It would be rude to miss out on a second straight week, especially after a weekend like this past one that featured buzzer-beaters, fights and just about everything in between.

If you missed out on an action packed weekend — and shame on you if you did — here’s your chance to get caught up so people think that you’re Cool And Smart.

Jalen Crutcher stuns Saint Louis at the buzzer in OT

The highlight of the weekend came in one of the most exciting games of this season to date. In front of a great crowd in the Chaifetz Arena, Saint Louis was largely in control for the first 30 minutes of the game. The Billikens held an eight point lead at recess and were able to stretch that lead out to double digits in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Just inside the eight minute mark, Saint Louis led 55-42.

Then Dayton happened.

The potent Flyer offense kicked it into gear as shots started to fall, usurping the lead in the process. With under two minutes to play, Dayton actually held a five point lead, and held onto a two point lead with just a few seconds to play in regulation.

Enter Jordan Goodwin.

In overtime, the two sides exchanged the lead five times in the final minute alone, leading up to the culmination of a thrilling ride at the hands of Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher:

That’s just a cold-blooded dagger right in the heart for a Saint Louis team that was the better team for a majority of the game. But Friday night was an example of why Dayton is one of the best teams in the country: With the way that the Flyers can score, the switch can flip and their opponent can get buried by the avalanche.

The win is another boost to Dayton’s tournament resume as it improves the Flyers’ record in Quadrant I games to 3-2 on the year. As of Sunday afternoon, Bracket Matrix has Dayton on the 3-seed line.

Boise State completes a wild rally to deal Utah State another loss

If Utah State’s New Year’s resolution was to continually lose games in frustrating fashion, it’s going well so far. The Aggies have now lost four of their five games in 2020, and Saturday’s overtime loss to Boise State might be the most egregious. Here’s a the win probability graph:

KenPom.com

That’s what a win probability graph looks like when a team blows a 19-point lead in the second half. Utah State led 66-48 with just under four minutes to go. Take a minute and try to process just how poorly things have to go for a team to blow a lead like that in just four minutes of game time!

The hero of the night for Boise State was freshman guard RayJ Dennis. Dennis scored all 19 of his points, including 4-4 shooting from 3-point range, inside the final four minutes. He hit a three with four seconds left, then Justinian Jessup proceeded to steal the inbound pass and make a layup to send the game to overtime.

Boise State would go on to outscore the Aggies 13-8 in overtime, sealing the miraculous comeback. According to KenPom’s game rankings, Boise State had the second lowest win probability of any team this season at 0.2%. The lowest? Stephen F. Austin’s upset of Duke.

Each subsequent loss pushes Utah State further from the NCAA Tournament bubble, and at this juncture in the season it’s looking more and more likely that it’s win the Mountain West Tournament or bust. After starting the season in the AP Poll Top 25 and spending the first month of the season there, a disappointing and frustrating season is mounting in Logan.

The injury bug bites Gonzaga

The No. 1 team in the country cruised to a 92-69 win against a Childs-less BYU team on Saturday night. That alone is not particularly eventful or noteworthy to the overall trajectory of Gonzaga’s season. The real story is the injury bug that sank its teeth into Gonzaga.

It was announced last Thursday that freshman forward Anton Watson would miss the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery after battling issues with his shoulder throughout the season. Our friends at The Slipper Still Fits had this to say about the impact the loss would have on the Bulldogs’ rotation:

It is a big blow for the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Watson is probably the best on ball defender on Gonzaga, and his versatility at the wing/four spot allowed Gonzaga to easily slide into a smaller lineup when they wanted. Often times, when Gonzaga was applying full court pressure, Watson was the man at the front line.

During the game against BYU, a more significant piece went down with an injury. Sophomore big man Filip Petrusev went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury early in the second half.

Following the game, there was a moderate amount of optimism surrounding the injury, which is presumed to be just an ankle sprain.

A timetable for his return is yet to be set. Gonzaga won’t play again until Saturday when it hosts Pacific, but two road games against Santa Clara and San Francisco loom the following week. Mark Few has been reluctant to go deep into his bench, so every player that goes down puts further strain on the core pieces of the rotation.

Buzzer beaters galore

Jalen Crutcher wasn’t the only one that provided heroics at the horn over the weekend. Saturday alone featured three other game-winners in exciting fashion.

Isaiah White delivered a win for Utah Valley off of a sweet assist from point guard TJ Washington after breaking down the defense.

Army’s Josh Caldwell rewrote the definition of what a shooter’s bounce looks like as the Black Knights took down Loyola Maryland.

Lastly, North Texas picked up its first road win against Louisian Tech in almost 70 years thanks to this runner from Javion Hamlet.

Carnage all over for conference unbeatens

It’s still early in the conference play portion of the season, but there were a staggering amount of previously unbeaten teams that took their first loss in league play over the weekend.

Presbyterian, Akron, Charlotte, St. Bonaventure, William & Mary, North Carolina A&T, Robert Morris, Albany, and Hartford all suffered defeat to snap win streaks of varying lengths as the remaining list of unbeaten conference teams dwindles by the day.

On the flip side, here are the teams that remain winless in conference play:

Other news, notes, tidbits

  • San Diego State escaped the weekend unscathed after a win against Nevada to improve to 19-0. KenPom now gives the Aztecs a 20.9 percent of an unbeaten regular season. A home game against Wyoming and a trip to Las Vegas to play a UNLV team that’s 6-1 in the Mountain West are on the docket for this week.
  • Should the Atlantic 10 start to be concerned about the possibility of being a one-bid league this season? Right now, Bracket Matrix has Dayton as the only team in the field, with VCU being the next closest team in the First Four out. T-Rank’s TourneyCast still projects a likelihood of multiple bids, but the depth and quality of the teams at the top of the league could lead to some cannibalization within the conference. Something to keep an eye on.
BartTorvik.com
  • Take every opportunity that you can to watch Doug Gottlieb get owned online.
  • After a rocky start to the season, New Mexico State has now ripped off eight straight wins and are looking like the runaway favorite in the WAC again. The Aggies are 5-0 and are pouring in a whopping 1.17 points per possession in WAC play.
  • If it means that San Diego State will make the Final Four, then sure!
  • Zac Seljaas’s mullet sucks.
  • In its second game following C.B. McGrath’s dismissal, UNC Wilmington beat Northeastern to tally its first win against a Division I team since before Thanksgiving.
  • Fight!!!!!
  • Dear athletic departments, this is how you put butts in the seats. Santa Clara imbibed at the free throw line, going 31-38 at the stripe en route to an 84-80 win against Pacific.