College basketball roundup: Tipoff tourneys and high-profile matchups
Just over a week in to the 2016-17 college basketball season and there has been plenty for college basketball faithful to digest — be it big time performances, late-game heroics or a little from Columns A and B.
Fans are beginning to learn a bit more about their teams with each performance on the hardwood, but there will be plenty more to dissect in the coming days and weeks.
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And events like the Champions Classic did not disappoint as No. 7 Kansas downed No. 1 Duke on a late jumper from Frank Mason III, while No. 2 Kentucky took it to the chest of the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans.
But before college basketball faithful set their sights on upcoming action, which includes the Battle 4 Atlantis and Direct TV Wooden Legacy tournaments — NCAA.com takes a look back what you might have missed.
Top 25 teams in action:
- No. 25: California bested in-state rival UC Irvine, 75-65 (OT)
- No. 24: Cincinnati overwhelmed Albany, 74-51; fell to No. 21 Rhode Island, 76-71 ; ran away from Penn State, 71-50
- No. 23: Texas blasted past Louisiana Monroe, 80-59; dismantled Eastern Washington, 85-52
- No. 22: Creighton took out No. 9 Wisconsin, 79-67 ; upended Washington State, 103-77; outscored NC State, 112-94
- No. 21: Rhode Island beat Marist, 107-65; stopped Brown, 79-72; took down No. 24 Cincinnati, 76-71; lost to No. 1 Duke, 75-65
- No. 20: Iowa State ran past Mount St. Mary's, 73-55; destroyed The Citadel, 130-63
- No. 19: West Virginia bounced Mississippi Valley State, 107-66; knocked off New Hampshire, 100-41
- No. 18: Syracuse trounced Holy Cross, 90-46; bested Monmouth, 71-50
- No. 17: Saint Mary's bested Prarie View A&M, 110-72; held off Dayton, 61-57
- No. 16: UCLA upended San Diego, 88-68; breezed past Long Beach State, 114-77
- No. 15: Purdue lost to No. 3 Villanova, 79-76 ; tipped Georgia State, 64-56
- No. 14: Gonzaga bested San Diego State, 69-48; blew by Bryant, 109-70
- No. 13: Michigan State lost to No. 2 Kentucky, 69-48; crushed Mississippi Valley State, 100-53; escaped Florida Gulf Coast, 78-77
- No. 12: Louisville bludgeoned William & Mary, 91-58; blew past Long Beach State, 88-56
- No. 11: Xavier overtook Buffalo, 86-53; survived Missouri, 83-82 (OT) ; outlasted Clemson 83-77; defeated Northern Iowa, 67-59
- No. 10: Arizona beat CSU Bakersfield, 78-66; crushed Sacred Heart 95-65
- No. 9: Wisconsin struggled against No. 22 Creighton, 79-67; roughed up Chicago State, 69-51
- No. 8: Virginia demoralized St. Francis, 72-32; demolished Yale, 62-38
- No. 7: Kansas bested Duke, 77-75 ; beat up Siena, 86-65
- No. 6: Indiana outpaced UMass Lowell, 100-78; outran Liberty, 87-48
- No. 5: UNC dismantled Long Beach State, 93-67; took out Hawai'i, 83-68
- No. 4: Oregon lost to unranked Baylor, 66-49; knocked off Valparaiso, 76-54
- No. 3: Defending champs Villanova survived No. 15 Purdue, 79-76; tipped Western Michigan, 76-65; bounced Wake Forest, 96-77; defeated UCF, 67-57
- No. 2: Kentucky blew by No. 13 Michigan State, 69-48 ; blew out Duquesne, 93-59
- No. 1: Duke lost to No. 7 Kansas, 77-75; upended Penn State, 78-68; downed No. 21 Rhode Island, 75-65
Need to know:
Purdue took the defending national champions down to the wire on Monday in one the season's best bouts so far. The hometown crowd at Mackey Arena added a little verve to this one as head coach Jay Wright steered his Wildcats to victory behind 24 points from Josh Hart. 'Cats take it 79-76.
Buzzer-beaters abound, especially if you were watching Maryland against Georgetown or Monmouth and South Carolina on Tuesday. A last-second shot by Georgetown freshman Jagan Mosely was turned back by Terrapins freshman Kevin Huerter in Maryland's chaotic 76-75 win. Kids, they grow up so fast.
DENIED! Kevin Huerter's game-ending block capped an incredible comeback to give Maryland a 76-75 win over Georgetown https://t.co/NxjKkkk77h— March Madness 2017 (@Madness2017) November 16, 2016
After Monmouth's senior guard Je'lon Hornbeak converted a 3-point play in overtime against South Carolina to give his team a 69-68 lead with just over a minute to play, things didn't look too good for South Carolina head coach Frank Martin and company. Nonetheless, the Gamecocks managed a circus-style shot to cap off a hectic final minute of play when Sindarius Thornwell found his teammate PJ Dozier for a baseline jumper just before time expired. Gamecocks win 70-69 in the extra period.
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) sophomore forward Dikembe Dixon did a little bit of everything on Wednesday to help the UIC Flames beat back the Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio. Dixon's line of 31 points, nine rebounds and five steals helped the hometown team keep an upstart Conference USA squad at bay.
Freshman Charlie Moore set a single-game scoring record for a freshman at Cal in Wednesday's overtime win (75-65) against UC Irvine. He shot 10-for-20 on the evening, including 15 free throws to pad his stats. The freshmen for Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin led the way last year, and this year's crop seems to already be flexing its muscles.
Some hot shooting from Arkansas State helped the Red Wolves knock off Georgetown 78-72 on the road, while the UConn Huskies — after falling from the Top 25 rankings — managed to stave off an 0-3 start with a 65-62 win over Loyola Marymount.
One of the more intriguing matchups on Friday came in a contest between St. John's and Minnesota where two freshmen led their teams in a back-and-forth battle. Amir Coffey and Marcus LoVett, of the Gophers and Red Storm, respectively, were right in the middle of a second half scoring outburst. Both teams scored 50+ points after the break as Minnesota was able to keep St. John's from completing the comeback.
|Amir Coffey||30 points||4 rebounds; 2 steals||9-14 FG; 1-4 3-point; 11-12 FT|
|Marcus LoVett||31 points||5 assists; 2 rebounds||11-27 FG; 3-5 3-point; 6-8 FT|
Ole Miss fans have gotten used to guards that can fill it up (Stefan Moody and Marshall Henderson come to mind in recent memory), and Deandre Burnett is starting to cultivate a bit of a repuation for himself in Oxford, Miss. Burnett sat out last season after transferring from Miami (Fla.), but seems to have taken quite nicely to head coach Andy Kennedy's system. The Florida-bred guard has been in double figures in all four ballgames this year, including a 41-point outburts in an overtime affair with Oral Roberts (95-88 win in OT).
Two guards posted big double-doubles to lead their respective teams on Saturday: DeWayne Russell of the Grand Canyon Antelopes and Mo Evans of the Fort Wayne Mastodons. Russell tallied 30 points and 10 assists in a tight 82-77 win over the Albany Great Danes. Evans had a career night against UMass Lowell, going for 33 points and 13 dimes in a 94-81 victory. A point guard that can call their own number while still facilitating the offense is music to any coach's ears.
Triple-doubles are all the rage in basketball right now, and why not? Players who stuff the statsheet are a pleasure to watch for coaches and fans alike. Iowa State's Monte Morris' triple-double on Sunday (17 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists; the fifth in school history) helped pace the Cyclones to a single-game school record for points in a 130-63 win against The Citadel. North Dakota's Drick Bernstine also had a triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in just 25 minutes during UND's 101-63 win over Presentation College.
Honorable mention: A near upset for Dunk City, AKA Florida Gulf Coast, at Michigan State fell short on Sunday, 79-78. The Spartans are now 60-0 under head coach Tom Izzo in November home games.
In other action:
After a season-ending elbow injury sidelined Oklahoma State's Phil Forte III for all but three games last year, the fifth-year senior is back in the mix on offense for head coach Brad Underwood. The Flower Mound, Texas native tallied 31 points in 35 minutes on Monday in a 102-90 win over Central Arkansas, with an 11-for-11 performance at the charity stripe. Welcome back Phil.
The rise of Tacko Fall (pun intended) has been fun to watch if you are a fan of the Knights of Central Florida. Fall has had a double-double in three of four contests, but more importantly the team is off to a 3-1 start. He even turned in a 20 point, 13 rebound effort against the defending national champions on Sunday. This type of production from the 7'6" center from Senegal is sure to get him his due attention, especially given the jump in his stats (2015-16: 7.4 pts, 5.9 reb, 2.3 blk; 2016-17: 17.0 pts, 12.3 reb, 3.7 blk)
Tacko Fall was named to the Charleston Classic All-Tournament team. He scored 20 pts. on 10-of-10 shooting vs. Villanova with 13 rebounds. pic.twitter.com/tNBagJKSCJ— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) November 21, 2016
When it comes to scoring the rock, the guy to ask right now is Wright State's lead guard Mark Alstork. Through three games the junior 6'5" swingman is averaging 32.7 points per game to lead the nation. Washington's Markelle Fultz is right on his tail, but there will be plenty of time to discuss Fultz later on this season. For now, the Horizon League standout — who scored a career-high 39 points in an 82-78 loss to Toledo on Saturday — is doing just fine holding the nation's attention.
A busy week for the University of Missouri - Kansas City Kangaroos (UMKC) was capped with the team's third win, an 85-74 win over the Racers of Murray State. Things are looking up for senior guard Martez Harrison and his bunch, especially after his game-winning runner on the road against Bowling Green on Saturday.
UMKC's victory vs. Murray State is over a program that has 29 straight winning seasons & has 15 NCAA Tournament appearances! #TeamKC— UMKC Basketball (@UMKCmbb) November 20, 2016
Whether it's the 2K Classic, Maui on the Mainland or the Tire Pros Invitational (to name a few), college basketball tipoff tournaments have dominated the opening weeks and yielded some interesting cross-conference matchups in the process. The fun doesn't stop here with plenty more action set to tipoff this week. RELATED: Five upcoming tournaments to watch