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Mike Lopresti | | November 12, 2018

The 21 wackiest numbers from a wild first week of college basketball

Andy Katz's player of the year pick will surprise you

The season has hardly started and all this has happened already? Yep. Consider some of the titillating numbers that came out of one week of college basketball. The first week. 

After two wins, Duke was giving up an average of 78 points a game. Its freshman terror trio of RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish were averaging 79. They outscored Army by themselves, and were only one point behind the entire Kentucky team. 

Kentucky had taken the worst loss in John Calipari’s tenure, and had to rally to beat Southern Illinois at home. The Wildcats led only 17 minutes and 48 seconds in two games. 

Stony Brook missed its first 18 shots against George Washington, fell behind 22-0, and still won 77-74 in overtime. Three days later, the Seawolves beat South Carolina 83-81 for their first win ever over an SEC opponent. Nobody had a better first week than Stony Brook. Well, except maybe Duke. 

Texas Southern came from 17 points down to shock Baylor, who had been 56-0 against teams from the SWAC. Graduate transfer Jalyn Patterson’s 23 points helped make a 72-69 winner of new coach Johnny Jones. Patterson played at LSU. Know who his coach was? Johnny Jones. 

RELATED: Duke is No. 1, Kentucky falls in Andy Katz's Power 36 | New AP Top 25

Chris Clemons is the nation’s top returning scorer, and quickly showed why. He put up 44 points to push Campbell past UNC Wilmington 97-93 in the opener, and that included all 15 Camel points in overtime. 

North Carolina packed its bags for a little history. The Tar Heels hadn’t opened with two road games in 32 years, but went on a regional tour to Wofford and Elon. Kenny Williams, the third leading returning Carolina scorer, didn’t enjoy the travel much. He went 0-for-10 and scored one point. 

The most cheered play in Texas’ 71-59 win over Eastern Illinois was a free throw in the second half. The Longhorn who made it, Andrew Jones, is on the road back from leukemia.

National player of the year contender Carsen Edwards of Purdue looked the part by hitting seven 3-pointers and scoring 30 points against Fairfield — the most for a Boilermaker in a season opener in 23 years. 

Ohio State won at Cincinnati 64-56, in a match of two teams who met for the national championship in 1961 and ’62. They might be barely 100 miles apart and in the same state, but the Buckeyes hadn’t visited the Bearcats since Woodrow Wilson was president, in 1920.
Chris Mack’s first game as Louisville coach was not exactly stress-free. The Cardinals needed a 42-12 advantage at the free throw line to get by Nicholls State 85-72. Five players fouled out for Nicholls State, and the Colonels still trailed by only two points with 3:40 left.

Tennessee’s reigning SEC player of the year Grant Williams scored 31 points against Louisiana, including three 3-pointers. He had three 3-pointers all last season.
After two games, Caleb Martin was leading Nevada with a 21.5 points average, but had yet to score a point in the first half. In both games, he was scoreless at halftime, then ignited for 21 and 22 points in the second half.

MORE: 6 things we learned from the opening week of college basketball
Buffalo rallied from 13 points down in the second half to upset West Virginia 99-94 in overtime. It was hard to decide the most impressive stat for the Bulls — CJ Massinburg’s 43 points, the fact they made only 11 turnovers against the Mountaineers’ famous pressure, or their 21 offensive rebounds — a number that left Bob Huggins seething, and reciting his coaching resume. “That’s never happened against us before,” he said. “That didn’t happen at Walsh College, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State and here.”

Virginia Tech 18-year-old freshman Isaiah Wilkins didn’t know he wasn’t being redshirted until four days before the first game. The 10th youngest player in Division I then went out and scored 21 points against Gardner-Webb.
Michigan State had 67 field goals its first two games — and 52 assists. Only three of 29 Spartan baskets in the first half this season have come without an assist.
Virginia opened with winning point totals of 73 and 76, which might not seem that high, but make the Cavaliers nearly unbeatable, given the way Tony Bennett’s teams routinely play defense. They are 109-6 in his tenure when reaching 70 points.

RELATED: Does defense win titles? Nine years of data show offense means more in March
Purdue has now beaten in-state teams from Indiana nine games in a row. The last loss was to Indiana in 2016.
Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland scored 24 points in the opening win over Winthrop, the most for a Commodore freshman in his debut in 37 years. Five days later, he added 19 more in a victory at USC.

Vandy's Nashville native, Garland, could be the next big thing

Loyola of Chicago, the national darlings in March by rolling to the Final Four with a series of late dramatic victories, lost to Furman — on a dunk with 1.6 seconds left.
Washington was drilled by Auburn 88-66, the Tigers' third largest win ever over a ranked opponent. On the way back to the airport after the game, the Huskies’ bus blew a tire and caught fire. The players had to evacuate and were stranded in the middle of the night, waiting for another bus to be called. No one was injured, but Washington’s Noah Dickerson tweeted out “When thing couldn’t have gotten any worse tonight . . . it did.”

Oklahoma State blew a 24-point lead in 12 minutes at Charlotte, and lost 66-64 when the 49ers’ Jon Davis scored five points in the last 4.2 seconds. Ahead 64-61, Oklahoma State fouled Davis with the idea of preventing a 3-point shot to tie. One problem. Officials called it a flagrant foul, so Charlotte got the free throws and the ball. Davis hit both free throws, then banked in a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left. A few hours later, Oklahoma State lost 48-47 to Oklahoma in football. Not a great Saturday for the Cowboys.

All that in six days. Should be quite a season.

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