"Why we missed so many chippies, especially in the Stanford game, was we were worried about the contact," remarked head coach Craig Robinson. "You can't worry about the contact. So we had basically the same game plan trying to get stuff around the basket except don't worry about contact and see if we can score this time. And what happened is that we got fouled and we weren't worried about the contact." (quote courtesy of Oregon State Athletics)
Scott Suggs led Washington with 18 points and Matthew Bryan-Amaning added 12 and 10 rebounds but a cold night from Isaiah Thomas (2-for-11, 9 points) proved to be too much to overcome in the second half. As a team Washington shot 32.3% from the field, making 8 of 26 shots in the second half. OSU attacked the inside of the Washington defense, outscoring the Huskies 34-22 in the paint, and defensively their 2-3 zone did a good job of keeping Washington out of the paint for much of the night. The win puts Arizona, who won at Stanford, atop the conference standings in what may be a return to normalcy given the head-scratching events of Thursday. Washington State gets blown out at Oregon, the Huskies fall in Corvallis...just another day in the hard-to-figure Pac-10.
Other Notable Happenings
1. Larry Drew II leaves North Carolina.
This was actually news of Friday morning as the father of Larry Drew II notified Roy Williams that his son would be leaving the program. Thought to be on board with the switch to freshman Kendall Marshall as the starter at the point, Drew departs the program after the start of the spring semester and thus cannot play for another school until the fall of 2012. He seemed to be playing well in his new role, being honored twice by the coaching staff for his defensive performance over the last four games. But for some it's tough to deal with the move from starter to reserve, something that may have been missed given that many involved considered the move to be a surprise. The departure puts more on the shoulders of freshman Kendall Marshall, who has improved defensively as the season's worn on but needs to get even better with more minutes likely to come his way. But what does UNC do when Marshall needs a break? Dexter Strickland as a stopgap for a few minutes? The point may be the one position where the Heels lack depth so it will be interesting to see how they navigate the personnel move. But for a team that's been rolling the last thing it needs is a distraction, and Drew's decision may ultimately have more of an impact in that regard than on the numbers.
2. Charleston routs Wofford to move into first place in the SoCon South Division.
This was expected by many to be a close contest but the Cougars made it anything but in the second half, outscoring Wofford 47-20 and going on to win 79-54 at home. The win moves Charleston into sole possession of first place in the South Division with a 9-2 record, with the Terriers and Furman both a half-game back with 9-3 records. Andrew Goudelock did what he normally does with a game-high 25 points but it was the defense and rebounding that buried Wofford. Wofford shot just 29.2% in the second half and was out-rebounded 38-26 on the night, with no other Terrier reaching double figures to supplement Noah Dahlman's 22. Offensively it was a tale of two halves with Wofford shooting well over 50% but they only led by two at the break. From there it was all Charleston, who improved their efficiency on offense while clamping down on the other end of the floor. Any one of the three teams in the South can win the division, with the top two getting first round byes in the Southern Conference Tournament. But there's also the matter of Chattanooga in the North, who has a comfortable lead in that division with a 9-2 record. Add in the fact that the Mocs host the conference tournament and it should make for a fun finish to the Southern Conference season.
3. Youngstown State scores the final 10 points to knock off Butler at home.
Ultimately this could be the result that's seen as the final nail in the coffin should Butler not get back to the NCAA Tournament. Up 57-47 with 5:27 left in the game, Butler went cold from the field and was subsequently outscored 12-3 the rest of the way in a rough loss in Youngstown. The Penguins picked up their second Horizon League win of the season, dropping the Bulldogs to 6-5 and a tie for fifth in the standings. Shelvin Mack led Butler with 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists, but as a team Butler shot 39.7% from the field and it's tough to win on the road when that happens. Butler's issues in league play underline two things: how much they miss Gordon Hayward, Avery Jukes and Willie Veasley, and the fact that the Horizon League is a better conference than many outsiders give it credit for. It was assumed that in October Butler would roll to the crown with Detroit, featuring Eli Holman and freshman Ray McCallum Jr., being the chief challenger. As of today Butler's 6-5 and Detroit 6-6, with Cleveland State (10-2), Valparaiso (8-3) and Wright State (8-4) running the show. The race for home court in the quarters and semis of the conference tournament will be fun to watch, but the fact that Butler likely won't be a part of it means that they'll need to improve as a road team in the final weeks of the season (next: at Cleveland State on Saturday).
Top Three Games
1. FIU 81, Troy 80 A DeJuan Wright layup with seven seconds left in overtime gave the Golden Panthers the road victory. Phil Gary led the way for FIU with 21 points while Troy's Vernon Gray led all scorers with 23.
2. San Jose State 92, Idaho 89 (2OT) Keith Shamburger accounted for the final three points of the game with a made free throw and an assist on a breakaway dunk, making the difference in the Spartans' road victory. SJSU's Justin Graham led all scorers with 28 points while Adrian Oliver (23 and 10 rebounds) and Wil Carter (17 and 14) both posted double-doubles for the victors. Luiz Toledo scored a season-high 19 to lead Idaho.
3. Houston Baptist 97, Chicago State 94 (OT) Andrew Gonzalez scored five of his 36 points in overtime to lead the Huskies to the how win. Carl Montgomery led the Cougars with 35 and 16 rebounds.
Three Notable Performances
1. F Carl Montgomery (Chicago State) 35 points and 16 rebounds off the bench in the Cougars' overtime loss at Houston Baptist.
2. F Troy Gillenwater (New Mexico State) 33 points and eight rebounds in the Aggies' 88-83 overtime loss at Fresno State.
3. F Andrew Gonzalez (Houston Baptist) 36 points, four rebounds and two steals in the Huskies' win over Chicago State.