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Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | December 27, 2019

These are the best bench scorers in college basketball in the 2019-20 season

Here's how the latest Power 36 compares to new AP Top 25, first NET rankings

Last week, Arizona State junior Alonzo Verge scored 43 points off the bench in the Sun Devils' 96-56 loss to Saint Mary's in Phoenix — a single-game total that more than doubled his previous season-best. In Verge's first five games this season, he scored a total of just 32 points.

While the game didn't go Arizona State's way, Verge's singular brilliance was the fifth-highest scoring outburst the sport has seen in the 2019-20 season and the most by a player who came off the bench.

It was just the sixth time a player has scored at least 40 points off the bench since the start of the 2010-11 season and the first time since VMI's QJ Peterson scored 40 against Chattanooga in January 2017.

Inspired by Verge's 18-of-29 shooting performance, we wondered: Who are the best bench scorers in college basketball?

After going through the rosters and statistics of the top 100 teams on kenpom.com — in order to look for high-producing bench players on quality teams — here's what we found:

Points per game

Here are the top 11 players, by scoring average, who haven't started a single game this season and play for one of the teams examined.

East Tennessee State's Tray Boyd III  14.3 ppg, 119.4 offensive rating

Despite coming off the bench in all 13 of East Tennessee State's games this season, Boyd is the Buccaneers' leading scorer. His 24 minutes-per-game average ranks fourth on the team so he still plays starter's minutes even though he's technically not one.

That's a common trend you'll see among these players — they play significant minutes even if they're on the bench when the ball is tipped.

Boyd has scored at least 20 points on four occasions this season, including a season-high 25 points in a road win at The Citadel. Remarkably, East Tennessee State was able to pick up a double-digit, true road win at LSU despite Boyd having an off night with just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting.

Notre Dame's Dane Goodwin — 12.0 ppg, 120.2 offensive rating

Goodwin's scoring average nearly doubled from his freshman to his sophomore season — 6.4 points per game last season to 12.0 this year. Impressively, he's playing roughly the same number of minutes per game, but he's getting more looks and making a higher percentage of them.

The sophomore's 2-point percentage has climbed from 39.7 percent to 52.8 percent and he's now shooting 42.3 percent on threes after shooting 34.3 percent last season. Goodwin has scored at least 15 points three games in a row, including a season-high 27 points against Detroit.

Texas' Andrew Jones — 11.4 ppg, 100.8 Offensive rating

Jones isn't just one of the best bench scorers in the sport but he's responsible for one of the best feel-good stories as well. He was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2018, which forced him to miss the rest of the season.

But he battled cancer and has returned to the court. That alone is impressive but to also be a productive player in his return is even more worthy of praise for Jones and his support system during his journey with the Longhorns.

St. John's' Rasheem Dunn — 11.2 ppg, 95.4 Offensive rating

Dunn, who's playing in his first season for the Red Storm after transferring from St. Francis, is third on the team in scoring behind starters LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron. He's also first on the team in assists per game (3.3).

The transfer guard plays starter's minutes at 25 minutes per game but he packs a scoring punch off the bench.

San Diego State's Matt Mitchell — 11.1 ppg, 111.2 Offensive rating

The Aztecs are one of three remaining unbeaten teams in college basketball and they can thank one of the sport's top bench scorers for being a significant reason why. In his first two seasons with San Diego State, Matt Mitchell started 65 of the 67 games he played but he has come off the bench in all 12 of the games he's played this season.

Mitchell is playing roughly five fewer minutes per game than he did as a freshman and sophomore, yet he's averaging a career-high 11.1 points per game and he's scoring efficiently, too. He's shooting 40 percent from three on roughly three attempts per game.

Duquesne's Baylee Steele — 11.0 ppg, 119.4 Offensive rating

We just mentioned the impact Mitchell has had in San Diego State's undefeated start and this is a similar story. Duquesne is no longer unbeaten but the Dukes were one of the last teams in the sport with a perfect record.

Steele, who's playing for his third school, is having the best season of his career, averaging 10.7 points per game, making him one of six players who's averaging between nine and 13 points per game. The 6-11 big man is very efficient inside, making 57 percent of his 2-point attempts.

Ohio State's D.J. Carton — 11.1 ppg, 114.8 Offensive rating

In his first season of college basketball, Carton has joined an NCAA tournament team in Columbus and helped them climb to the No. 2 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll. Despite not starting a single game this season, he's tied for second on the team with 11.1 points per game and he's second in assist rate — roughly one out of every four baskets made while Carton is on the floor is assisted by the freshman.

Saint Louis' Gibson Jimerson — 10.8 ppg, 121.0 Offensive rating

Saint Louis freshman guard Gibson Jimerson is third on the team in scoring at 10.8 points per game and he has been a lights-out 3-point shooting, making 42 percent of his threes on roughly 5.5 attempts per game.

Jimerson also takes great care of the ball for such a young player. His 13.1 percent turnover rate ranks 335th nationally.

NC State's DJ Funderburk — 10.7 ppg, 124.6 Offensive rating

NC State has five players who average double figures in scoring and only one of them has started every game this season. Funderburk is the only one who has started a single game.

After averaging 8.8 points per game as a freshman, when he started just once in 36 games, Funderburk's scoring average has climbed to 10.7 points per game as a sophomore with the biggest difference being that his 2-point percentage has climbed 10 percent to 69.1 percent.

Oregon's Will Richardson — 10.3 ppg, 127.1 Offensive rating

Richardson started 12 times as a freshman and through 12 games as a sophomore, he hasn't started once.

But that hasn't limited Richardson's production. He's averaging 10.3 points per game, including an impressive 16-of-26 mark from 3-point range (61.5%) on the season.

Providence's Nate Watson — 10.0 ppg, 101.3 Offensive rating

Watson started 20 of Providence's 34 games last season but he has moved to a role off the bench as a junior. He has averaged 10.0 points per game through nine games, which ranks third on the team, and he's among the Friars' best interior scorers with a 51.4 percent 2-point percentage.

Scoring efficiency

The 11 players above are some of the highest-scoring bench players in the country on a per-game basis but there are also a lot of key role players who may not average as many points as the 11 players listed above, but when they do touch the ball, they're among the most efficient scorers in the country.

Here are the most efficient scorers in the country who aren't regular starters, including a few familiar names who are among the national leaders in points per game and offensive rating among bench players.

MINIMUM 40% OF AVAILABLE MINUTES PLAYED, REGARDLESS OF USAGE RATE

Villanova's Cole Swider 143.7 offensive rating

  • 9.5 points per game
  • Five starts in 11 games played

Loyola (MD)'s Cam Spencer — 137.2 offensive rating

  • 10.2 points per game
  • Four starts in 11 games played

Northern Colorado's Kai Edwards — 135.8 offensive rating

  • 7.5 points per game
  • Zero starts in 11 games played

MINIMUM 40% OF AVAILABLE MINUTES PLAYED, AT LEAST 20% OF POSSESSIONS USED

Lafayette's Myles Cherry 127.4 offensive rating

  • 10.8 points per game
  • One start in 10 games played

NC State's DJ Funderburk — 124.6 offensive rating

  • 10.7 points per game
  • Zero starts in 10 games played

Iowa State's George Conditt IV — 124.1 offensive rating

  • 9.6 points per game
  • Zero starts in 11 games played

MINIMUM 40% OF AVAILABLE MINUTES PLAYED, AT LEAST 24% OF POSSESSIONS USED

East Tennessee State's Tray Boyd III  119.4 offensive rating

  • 14.3 points per game
  • Zero starts in 11 games played

Ohio State's D.J. Carton — 114.8 offensive rating

  • 11.1 points per game
  • Zero starts in 12 games played

UC Irvine's Collin Welp — 113.8 offensive rating

  • 13.8 points per game
  • Two starts in 14 games played

MINIMUM 40% OF AVAILABLE MINUTES PLAYED, AT LEAST 28% OF POSSESSIONS USED

Vanderbilt's Saben Lee — 113.1 offensive rating

  • 17.0 points per game
  • One start in 11 games played

George Washington's Armel Potter — 110.2 offensive rating

  • 15.3 points per game
  • Five starts in 10 games played

Liberty's Myo Baxter-Bell — 107.5 offensive rating

  • 9.1 points per game
  • Zero starts in 12 games played

 

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