College basketball: Virginia's win over Duke, Freeman's hot hand vs. UNC, and more lead weekly awards
It's Monday, so time for 10 weekly honors:
Team of the week: Virginia
Saturday’s win at Duke provided the answer to anyone questioning whether or not the Cavaliers can get to the Final Four and win the national title. If you’re still wondering, then you’re simply not watching. Virginia held Clemson to 36 points earlier in the week. And then held Duke to 63 in the two-point win. The defense was stifling. But just as critical was Cavaliers hitting timely shots, getting the needed boards and making big shots in the final few minutes.
The ACC goes through Charlottesville, nowhere else for the rest of this season. Oh, and we can stop thinking that everything is about Duke-UNC in the ACC. Enough. Virginia is as much an elite ACC team now as Duke and Carolina. The Cavaliers have been for a few years. Get used to it.
Player of the week: NC State senior Allerik Freeman
The 6-3 senior scored 29 points and made all seven 3-point attempts in a 95-91 overtime victory at North Carolina. The Wolfpack have the NCAA resume with a neutral win over Arizona and home wins over Duke and Clemson. But this was something to behold. Freeman was simply on fire. Oh, and early in the week, He scored 13 in a road win at Pitt. So, even though Pitt is the worst team in the ACC, the Wolfpack won two on the road. Road wins simply matter more!
The backup five
Tony Carr, 6-5, So., Penn State: Carr hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to topple Ohio State. He scored 28 in that game and made 4 of 5 3s. He followed the road win at Columbus with 16 in the home win over Rutgers.
Kevin Knox, 6-9, Fr., Kentucky: Knox busted out for 34 points in a critical road win at West Virginia in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. He made 11 of 17 shots and buried five 3s. Earlier, he scored 19 in a home win over Mississippi State. Knox can be the star this Kentucky team needs for the stretch run.
Keenan Evans, 6-3, Sr., Texas Tech: Evans continues to make a push for first-team all-Big 12 (is there even a question now?) with 31 points in a win over South Carolina in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Evans scored 26 in an earlier win over Oklahoma State. He made seven field goals in each of those two games.
Dusan Ristic, 7-0, Sr., Arizona: Ristic has become as reliable a scoring presence as any other member of the squad. He had another solid week for the Wildcats, scoring 23 and grabbing seven boards in a win over Utah, 15 and 8 in a win over Colorado.
Kyle Allman, 6-3, Jr., Cal State-Fullerton: Allman scored 40 points in a road win at Hawaii Saturday night. He made 16 of 19 shots, 5 of 6 on 3s. The Titans needed every one of those 40 in a three-point road win in the toughest stop in the Big West. The win by Fullerton bunched up the chase for the top spot in the league four teams owning two losses, and two with three losses (Fullerton and Irvine).
Penn State 82, Ohio State 79: Carr drills a game-winning, on-the-run deep, banked 3-pointer, moments after Keita Bates-Diop buried a 3-pointer to tie the game after the Buckeyes had been down by 13 with eight minutes left.
INSANE FINISH IN COLUMBUS!— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 26, 2018
Tony Carr and Keita Bates-Diop were unstoppable down the stretch, and Carr had the final answer for @PennStateMBB at the buzzer to seal the upset over No. 13 Ohio State: pic.twitter.com/aoDBprnPRG
Most needed win
Arizona State 80, Colorado 66: The Sun Devils split a weekend series for the fourth-straight weekend. That can’t continue if the Sun Devils are ever going to get back to the way they played. Still, this was a must win for ASU.
Best performance by a player of the year candidate
Jalen Brunson’s 31 against Marquette Sunday. Brunson is making a strong case to be the national player of the year. He got to the line to make 10 of 11 free throws and scored his 31 points in 34 minutes in the No. 1 ranked Wildcats’ 85-82 road win.
Most timely shot by a role player: Rhode Island’s Stanford Robinson
The one-time Indiana guard drilled the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in the corner to knock off Duquesne 61-58. He only scored seven points and that was his only 3-pointer of the game.
Welcome to the national scene… Seth Towns
The 6-7 Harvard sophomore scored 30 in a win over Brown. He’s averaging 14.7 points a game and could turn out to be a difference maker down the stretch. The Crimson were a trendy pick to get back to the NCAAs and then went 6-10 to start the season. But the Crimson are now 4-0 in the Ivy and a half-game ahead of Penn for the top spot in the conference.
Winner of the best individual matchup was… Collin Sexton
The Alabama freshman guard scored 18 while Oklahoma’s Trae Young scored 17. But the most important stat was the final score. Alabama won 80-73.
The most impressive line outside of Freeman may have been… Texas’ Mo Bamba
He scored 25 points, blocked four shots, grabbed 15 boards, made 12 of 13 free-throws, one 3-pointer and 6 of 8 shots overall. Oh, and he committed just one foul and didn’t turn the ball over in the Longhorns’ 85-72 win over Ole Miss.