Christmas week is always somewhat dull for college hoops fans; there are usually no games on Christmas Eve or Christmas, and there is normally only one or two contests the day after. This year was no different, as the Fairfield-Connecticut match-up on December 26 was the only game from Wednesday through Friday. Despite that, there were still plenty of very good games and excellent individual performances. Marquette’s Dominic James started off the week by hitting a shot with 0.4 seconds left to beat North Carolina State, and things heated up Tuesday with Xavier and Gonzaga both losing at home, to Butler and Portland State, respectively, while Texas and Wisconsin had a great non-conference battle. The weekend was light, but conference play kicked off in many leagues.
Despite the light schedule, there was still a number of premium individual performances. Jordan Hill of Arizona had a dominating game against Kansas, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson averaged 30 points and 12.5 rebounds in two Wildcats’ wins this week. Even Santa Clara’s outstanding center, John Bryant, was excellent in a losing effort against Stanford, scoring 27 points and snagging 22 rebounds. In the aforementioned “Upset Tuesday” games, PSU’s Jeremiah Dominguez had 26 points, six rebounds and five assists and Butler’s Gordon Hayward had 19 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. The best performance of the week, though, went to West Virginia’s Alex Ruoff.
Ruoff, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, missed back-to-back games earlier this season due to back spasms, but he has come back with a vengeance. He returned last week against Miami (Ohio), scoring 15 points and dishing out eight assists, but he really showed his wide array of skills in two West Virginia wins this week. Against Radford on Tuesday, Ruoff scored 38 points, grabbed eight boards and picked up five steals. Furthermore, he knocked down nine three-pointers and would have had an even more impressive line had he not missed his final three attempts from the field. More importantly for the Mountaineers, Ruoff helped lead his team to an outstanding win on the road over previously unbeaten Ohio State. He finished with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists in a 28-point victory. On the season, Ruoff is averaging 17.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game, while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.
- Jordan Hill, Arizona
- Jeremiah Dominguez, Portland State
- Gordon Hayward/Matt Howard, Butler
CollegeHoops.net Player of the Week Archive
- Dec 22: AJ Price, UCONN
- Dec 15: Dionte Christmas, Temple
- Dec 8: Stephen Curry, Davidson
- Dec 1: Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
- Nov 24: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma