Team basketball is a sight to behold, but when an individual player is in a zone, sometimes the best strategy is simply to get the heck out of his way and let him dominate.
Across the country, we see these kind of epic performances on a nightly basis. It’s part of what makes college basketball so great — talented student-athletes showing off their spectacular abilities in front of millions.
Each week at NCAA.com, we’ll select a college basketball All-Week team. Comprised of five positions, the squad is selected based on games and performances from the week prior. Let’s get to this week's edition.
G: QJ Peterson | VMIIt’s been a trying season for VMI (6-17), but senior guard QJ Peterson is making the most of his final season.
Peterson went off for 37 points against The Citadel on Saturday afternoon, including 24 in the second half. His 9-of-11 shooting in that second frame turned a one-point halftime advantage into a 101-78 victory.
Peterson added five 3-pointers, four rebounds and three steals to his ledger, while only committing one turnover to turn in his second-best game of the season — he dropped 40 points in an upset over Chattanooga on Jan. 25.
Saturday’s performance capped an impressive week for Peterson, who also scored 18 points and came away with seven rebounds in a Thursday loss to Mercer. The ball-handler now leads the SoCon in points per game (20.7) and is sixth in rebounding (6.6).
G: Josh Jackson | Kansas
Frank Mason III has been the Jayhawks’ most consistent option, but the emergence of freshman star Josh Jackson may be the key to Kansas’ postseason aspirations.
The 6-foot-8 guard finished with a career-high 31 points and 11 rebounds Saturday afternoon to help the Jayhawks narrowly escape an upset bid from Texas Tech in an 80-79 showdown in Lubbock.
Another monster performance from Josh Jackson!— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) February 11, 2017
Do you think he is worthy of the @Wendys #WoodenAward? Vote here: https://t.co/Gt8soNp3Jq pic.twitter.com/fZ5sFmJzrL
Jackson played all 40 minutes for the first time in his college career and had the final five points for Kansas, including the game-winning free throw with three seconds left. Jackson finished 12-of-15 shooting and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. With the game tied at 79-79, he split a pair at the line to give Kansas the lasting lead.
That came after another efficient outing on Monday against in-state rival Kansas State. With the Wildcats hungry for a third top-10 victory of the season, the Jayhawks held on for a 74-71 victory behind 18 points from Jackson.
Jackson picked up his eighth double-double of the season and his fourth in five contests Saturday.
G: Luke Kennard | Duke
In the span of a week, Duke has earned back some of the national championship talk that was present at the beginning of the season before injury troubles and disappointing setbacks took place. A rivalry win over North Carolina will have that effect.
It was a balanced effort in the Blue Devils’ 86-78 primetime victory over the Tar Heels Thursday, with the big three of Kennard, Grayson Allen and Jayson Tatum combining for 64 points.Kennard finished with 20 points — second on the team behind Allen’s 25 — and had two of Duke’s 13 3-pointers on an excellent shooting night for the Blue Devils.
It was a bit more of a struggle against Clemson on Saturday for Duke, which needed Kennard to step up big time with others struggling around him.
Kennard added 25 points on 7-of-16 shooting (4-of-8 on threes) to hold off a second-half flurry from the Tigers. Two of his seven free throws on the day came with 44 seconds left to give Duke a four-point advantage and some extra cushion for the final stretch.
F: Bonzie Colson | Notre Dame
Notre Dame desperately needed a spark this week following a four-game losing streak, and boy did Bonzie Colson provide one.
Colson broke his season-high in points in back-to-back wins against Wake Forest and No. 14 Florida State to move the Irish back into the logjam of the ACC race.The forward dropped 27 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in an 88-81 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday to stop the bleeding after a four-game stretch that included three ranked opponents.
Then on Saturday, Colson led the charge against the Seminoles with his third straight double-double in an 84-72 win. Colson finished with a career-high 33 points, along with 13 rebounds and a perfect 8-of-8 mark from the free-throw line.
While the Fighting Irish maintained control throughout the game, Colson’s 3-pointer to put Notre Dame up by a game-high 20 points with 4:41 left in regulation was the final dagger.
G/F: Sindarius Thornwell | South Carolina
South Carolina may have lost in quadruple overtime against Alabama to begin the week on Tuesday, but Thornwell was the story of the day with a career-high 44 points in 56 minutes on the court.
Thornwell crashed the glass all night with 21 rebounds (10 offensive) — the most by a Gamecock in 24 years — and was 25-of-33 from the free throw line — the most makes at the charity stripe in SEC history.
Welcome to the 40-20 club, @Sin_City_803. pic.twitter.com/Qo7ESfLYXr— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 8, 2017
In the end, Thornwell’s efforts fell short as the Tide came away with the 90-86 win, but Tuesday’s loss just marked the beginning of a standout week for the forward.
Thornwell led the No. 19 Gamecocks to a bounce-back victory at Mississippi State on Saturday night with 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. The win moved South Carolina back into a three-way tie for first place in the conference alongside Florida and Kentucky.