News, notes and highlights from the 2011-12 regular season
• Floating Jumpers -- College basketball took to the sea, with No. 1-ranked North Carolina and Michigan State playing the first game ever on an aircraft carrier -- the storied USS Carl Vinson off Coronado, California. Led by 17 points from Harrison Barnes and 12 points and nine blocks from John Henson, the Tar Heels won, 67-55, but no outcome could have surpassed the spectacle of playing a game above water, under a blue sky and in front of the nation’s first fan, President Obama, and wife Michelle.
A look at an unusual venue Instant Classic Fitting Celebration 1on1: Tom Izzo
• Victory No. 600 -- Only 14 coaches reached their 600th victory sooner than Louisville’s Rick Pitino. And that includes former Cardinals coach Denny Crum, the Hall of Famer who needed one more game to reach the milestone. The 59-year-old Pitino, whose 600th victory came in an 83-48 rout of UT-Martin, is the only coach to take three programs (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville) to the Final Four.
• All-Time Wins Leader -- Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski moved to No. 1 on college basketball’s all-time wins list with his mentor and former leader Bob Knight among a sellout crowd at New York City’s storied Madison Square Garden. With the 74-69 victory against Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic, Krzyzewski racked up his 903rd win in a 37-year career that began by coaching Army to a 56-29 win against Lehigh on Nov. 28, 1975.
• Volunteer Effort -- Tennessee junior Jeronne Maymon had never scored more than 14 points or grabbed more than 12 rebounds, so his 32-point, 20-rebound effort in a 99-97 double-overtime loss to Memphis in the Maui Invitational was unexpected. It also put him in such company as Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, Kansas State’s Michael Beasley and Texas’ Kevin Durant in recent seasons to accomplish the feat. He also became the first Vol to post a 30-20 game since Steve Hamer in the 1996 SEC tournament.
• Season’s First Big Upset -- UNLV pulled off the nation’s first big upset and big victory under first-year coach Dave Rice, knocking off top-ranked North Carolina 90-80 in the title game of the Las Vegas Invitational. Rice, a member of the Runnin’ Rebels’ Final Four teams of 1990 and ’91, got a career-high 28 points from Chace Stanback as UNLV pulled off the first November upset of a No. 1-ranked team since 2006, when Kansas beat defending national champion Florida.
• Dick Vitale Court -- College basketball’s most voluble, visible and passionate ambassador was honored when Detroit dedicated the new Dick Vitale Court before a game against St. John’s (New York) at Calihan Hall. The Titans wore throwback jerseys and a number of former players attended the game to honor Vitale, who was 78-30 from 1973-77 at the school before going on to broadcasting fame at ESPN. The Titans treated the raucous crowd of 5,377 to a 69-63 win.
• Harvard Cracks Top 25 -- The nation’s oldest institution of higher learning cracked the AP’s Top 25 poll for the first time, at No. 25. Harvard achieved the lofty recognition with an 8-0 record after beating a ranked Florida State squad to win the “Battle 4 Atlantis” tournament in the Bahamas. The Crimson was the first Ivy League school to be ranked since Princeton was a top-10 team late in the 1997-98 season.
• 700 Victories -- Coastal Carolina defeated The Citadel 80-58, giving Cliff Ellis the 700th victory of his college coaching career -- including 78 wins at the NAIA level at Cumberland (Tenn.). The 622 wins as an NCAA coach ranked eighth among active coaches. Ellis also has had stops at South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn before arriving at Coastal Carolina in 2007. Ellis passed Norm Sloan for 34th on the all-time list.
• Win No. 500 -- With Saint Louis’ 72-62 victory against Illinois-Springfield, Rick Majerus claimed his 500th career win in 709 games. Majerus, 63, reached the 500-win mark faster than Adolph Rupp, John Wooden, Phog Allen, Dean Smith, Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski. The number would have been even greater if not for some health concerns and a couple of stints away from a career that included stops at Marquette, Ball State and Utah.
• 700 Victories, Part II -- Bob Huggins became just one of four active Division I coaches with 700 career victories -- and just 20 in history -- when West Virginia defeated Missouri State 70-68 in overtime. The son of a legendary Ohio high school coach accumulated his wins during a 30-year career that took him to Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State and the past five seasons with his alma mater, West Virginia.
• Record Breakers -- Record-setting performances were established by players from both sides of UAB’s 56-49 victory against George Washington. UAB’s Cameron Moore grabbed a school-record 24 rebounds -- matching George Washington’s rebounds as a team -- while scoring a game-high 19 points. For the Colonials, Lasan Kromah set a school record with nine steals. Each total established a season high among all NCAA student-athletes.
• 30-20 Man -- Thomas Robinson became Kansas’ first 30-20 man since Wayne Hightower accomplished that feat nearly 50 years ago. Robinson scored 30 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in an 84-58 victory against North Dakota State, becoming the fifth Big 12 Conference player to accomplish the feat and the first since Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin had 40 points and 23 rebounds in a game in 2009.
• Beating No. 1 and No. 2 -- For the first time in its storied history, Indiana claimed victories in the same season against the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams. The Hoosiers beat No. 2 Ohio State 74-70 just three weeks after Christian Watford’s buzzer-beater knocked off No. 1-ranked Kentucky 73-72 and sent students racing onto the Assembly Hall floor. Indiana is among just three teams in history to beat No. 1 and No. 2 in the same month.
• 30-15 Freshman Club -- North Texas’ Tony Mitchell became the fourth freshman in five seasons to produce at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game, with 34 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Mean Green to a 78-73 win against South Alabama. Mitchell would repeat the feat 16 days later with 30 points and 17 rebounds against Denver. The other freshmen with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game: Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Fordham’s Chris Gaston and Kansas State’s Michael Beasley.
• Big Numbers in Big South -- Liberty’s Jesse Sanders set the Big South Conference career assists record with a 10-assist game in a 98-75 loss to UNC Asheville, giving him 613 with two months left in his senior season. Radford’s Amir Johnson set the mark of 604 from 2006-10. Sanders averaged more than 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists for much of the season, which no other NCAA student-athlete had done in 15 seasons.
• 2,000-Point Barrier -- IUPUI’s Alex Young began the season with more career points than any other Division I player and was the first to crack the 2,000-point barrier, with a 10-point effort in a 72-64 loss to Southern Utah. He became the third player in school history and the 11th in Summit League annals to reach the milestone. Along the way, Young scored a career-high 43 points in a Dec. 10 game against Western Kentucky.
• Triple-Digit Margin -- This was no typo: Western Carolina 141, Toccoa Falls 39. The 102-point victory came against a school from the National Christian College Athletic Association with no players taller than 6-foot-5. It was one of just four victories of 100 points or more ever by a Division I school, including two before 1920. Nine Catamounts players scored in double figures, and none played more than 20 minutes.
• An Irish Tradition -- A No. 1-ranked Syracuse team was coming to South Bend, Indiana, so the odds were historically in Notre Dame’s favor. The Fighting Irish beat a top-ranked team for the seventh time in 10 tries at Purcell Pavilion, toppling the Orange 67-58 and reviving a tradition that had been dormant since the Irish beat North Carolina in 1987. It was Notre Dame’s eighth win overall against a No. 1 team, tying for the fourth-most all-time.
• Raining 3-Pointers -- A Cal Poly team best known for its defense now shares a place in the NCAA record books for its 3-point prowess. The Mustangs made their first 11 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc in a 100-54 victory against Cal State Northridge, tying a record set by both Niagara and Eastern Kentucky, one week apart in 1987. The Mustangs finished 15-for-21 from 3-point range, which set a school record for 3-point accuracy (71.4 percent).
• Patriot Leader -- With an 82-76 victory against Colgate, Lafayette’s Fran O’Hanlon became the winningest coach in Patriot League history. O’Hanlon’s 234 victories passed the record set by former Bucknell coach Pat Flannery from 1994-2008. O’Hanlon also holds Patriot League records for overall (484) and league (213) games coached, and his total of 107 Patriot League wins were second only to Flannery.
• Long Streak Snapped -- Towson happily ended its NCAA-record losing streak at 41 with a 66-61 victory against UNC-Wilmington. The losing streak, which began on Dec. 29, 2010, set the NCAA record with the Tigers’ 35th consecutive loss and continued as they got off to an 0-22 start to this season. Towson coach Pat Skerry inherited only one returning player and the promise of a new arena and better days ahead.
• Half-Century Mark -- Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy became the first Division I player of the season and the first in the Ohio Valley Conference in 20 years to score 50 points in a game, going 16-for-21 from the field in a 98-80 win against Southern Illinois Edwardsville. Murphy broke the school record of 48 points set by Ron Filipek in 1965-66 and Jimmy Hagan in 1958-59 and moved into second on the school’s career scoring list.
• 1,000 / 1,000 Club -- New Mexico State’s Wendell McKines joined the elite 1,000/1,000 club for career points and rebounds with his 12th rebound in the Aggies’ 78-57 win against CSU Bakersfield. McKines joined Sam Lacey (1967-70) as the only New Mexico State players to achieve the feat. He was only the second active NCAA student-athlete to reach the milestone, joining T.J. Robinson of Long Beach State, and just the 12th in Western Athletic Conference history.
• Double-Double Machine -- A 17-game stretch of double-doubles by O.D. Anosike of Siena finally ended when he had a nine-point game in the Saints’ 63-58 loss to Saint Peter’s. The streak was the second-longest stretch in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history and the third-longest in 15 NCAA seasons. Fellow MAAC player Darren Phillip of Fairfield had a 19-game streak in 1999-2000 and Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan went 17 in a row in 1996-97.
• Moving Up the Charts -- It took overtime, but Jim Boeheim moved past North Carolina’s Dean Smith into third place on the all-time Division I coaching list with Syracuse’s 64-61 victory against Georgetown. The win was the 880th in a career that began at Syracuse in 1976 and has included a national title in 2003 and five national coach of the year honors in 2010. Boeheim trails only Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight on the all-time wins list for Division I.
• Last Unbeaten Falls -- Murray State established an Ohio Valley Conference record with its 23-0 start (besting Western Kentucky’s 21-0 starts in both 1953-54 and 1966-67) before finally losing, 77-68, to Tennessee State. The Racers, who were picked to finish third in the OVC, enjoyed a 19-day reign as the nation’s last unbeaten team and captured the imagination of the western Kentucky community.
• 66 in a Row -- North Carolina State’s Scott Wood finally missed a free throw, ending a streak of 66 that began more than a year earlier -- in a Feb. 2, 2011, game against Virginia Tech. The stretch was the fourth-longest in Division I men’s history, behind only streaks of 68 by Steve Novak of Marquette from 2005-06, 73 by Gary Buchanan of Villanova from 2000-01 and 85 by Darnell Archey of Butler from 2000-03.
• Overtime Barrage -- A 74-74 tie at the end of regulation gave little indication of the scoring barrage that was to come. Lipscomb outscored Stetson, 25-17, during the five-minute overtime period, winning 99-91 and coming within one point of tying the Division I record for points scored in an overtime period. Vermont set the record by scoring 26 points in overtime in a Jan. 24, 1998, contest against Hartford that the Catamounts won 100-89.
• Can’t-Miss Effort -- Indiana State couldn’t miss from behind the 3-point arc in a 78-68 victory against Southern Illinois. Literally. The Sycamores made all 12 of the 3-point shots they attempted -- including six by Jordan Printy -- to set NCAA records for 3-pointers without a miss and for 3-pointers made in a row. Ohio State held the record when the Buckeyes shot 14-for-15 (93.3 percent) from beyond the 3-point line against Wisconsin on March 6, 2011.
• Records Fall -- Long Beach State’s T.J. Robinson grabbed 11 rebounds in an 89-69 win against UC Davis to become the Big West Conference’s career leader with 1,119. He passed Tony Neal of Cal State Fullerton, who set the record with 1,115 rebounds from 1981-85. On the same night, Robinson’s teammate, Casper Ware, broke the Long Beach State career assists record with 509, passing Billy Walker (1984-88).
• 2,000-Point Club -- Nick Barbour became the third player in High Point history and the seventh from the Big South Conference to score 2,000 career points, reaching the milestone by scoring 21 points in a 70-67 loss to Charleston Southern. Barbour also is High Point’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers. He left the game with 2,001 points, trailing only Eugene Littles (2,398) and Arizona Reid (2,069) on the High Point list.
• Double Threatt -- Jay Threatt collected his second career record at Delaware State when he had seven assists in a 73-63 overtime win against Norfolk State to pass Darrin Shine (2004-07) as the Hornets’ all-time leader. “Individual records are nice,” Threatt said, “but the win is what’s really important.” Threatt, who led the nation with 2.83 steals per game in 2010-11, also holds Delaware State’s career steals record.
• MAAC Assists King -- Ronald Moore’s reign as the all-time assists leader for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference didn’t last long. Iona’s Scott Machado broke the record set in 2011 by the former Siena star with Machado’s third assist of a 90-84 victory against Nevada. Machado, who had 836 assists in 127 career games. also broke his own single-season MAAC record with 283 assists. Machado raised his nation-leading average to 10.1 assists per game.
• Career Leader -- John Shurna broke the Northwestern career scoring record with a 3-pointer that led the Wildcats to a 64-53 win against Minnesota. The basket gave Shurna 1,902 career points and broke the record set 35 years ago by Billy McKinney. The public-address announcer recognized the feat during the next timeout, as the Wildcat mascot held a giant cutout of Shurna’s face and students chanted “John-ny Shur-na!”
• 2,000-Point Club, Part II -- On a day when his own bobblehead doll was given away to 2,500 fans and his mother celebrated her birthday, Dominique Morrison became the seventh player in Oral Roberts history to join the 2,000-point club. Morrison, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, scored 16 points in a 67-61 victory against Akron to raise his career scoring total to 2,010. Morrison also had 12 rebounds, extending his streak of double-doubles to 22.
• Long Ranger -- North Florida’s Parker Smith made up in a big way for making just 1 of 11 shots from beyond the 3-point line in his previous game, going 11-for-17 from the same distance in a record-setting performance against Mercer. His 3-pointers were the most by a Division I player this season. Smith’s 46 points tied an Atlantic Sun Conference record and were the second-most among Division I players for the 2011-12 regular season.
• 1,800 / 900 Man -- Antwan Carter became Longwood’s all-time leading scorer in a 66-52 loss to Norfolk State, scoring 19 points to give him 1,808 for his career. Carter passed second-place Kevin Jefferson and a more familiar name in third-place, Jerome Kersey. Carter, a 6-foot-6 senior center, became the only player in the 36-year history of the program with at least 1,800 career points and 900 career rebounds. Kersey had 1,756 points and 1,162 rebounds.
• Blackbirds’ Dominance -- LIU Brooklyn, led by Julian Boyd’s 21 points and 20 rebounds, clinched the Northeast Conference’s regular-season title with a 91-80 victory against Fairleigh Dickinson, setting a league record in the process. The Blackbirds raised their NEC record during the past two seasons to 32-3, a 91.4 percent rate of success. Marist, which went 28-4 from 1986-88, had held the record for 24 years.
• New WCC Champ -- For the first time in 12 seasons, someone other than Gonzaga won the West Coast Conference’s regular-season title. St. Mary’s (Calif.), led by 14 points and 14 rebounds from Rob Jones and 16 points from Clint Steindl, clinched the title with a 67-60 victory against San Francisco. Gonzaga’s streak of 11 consecutive conference titles was second in NCAA history only to UCLA’s 13 titles from 1967-79.
• Big Sky Leader -- For the first time in Big Sky Conference history, two teams with just a single loss in league play played for a winner-takes-all regular-season title in their final game of the regular season. Will Cherry scored a game-high 23 points as Montana knocked off Weber State 66-51 for the Grizzlies’ first title since 2000. The win avenged Montana’s only Big Sky loss of the season -- to Weber State 80-64 in Ogden, Utah.
• Amazing Turnaround -- Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s 78-67 victory denied Mississippi Valley’s bid to become the first team since 1979 to finish the Southwestern Athletic Conference season unbeaten -- but did not spoil the Delta Devils’ amazing turnaround. Mississippi Valley got off to a 1-11 start -- playing against the likes of North Carolina, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Iowa, without a home game before Jan. 3 -- and then reeled off 17 wins in a row before the loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Story appears in the official 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four program, which can be ordered at IMG Products.