CollegeHoops.net Weekly Awards: Withey, Sanders, Moser, UNCA
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jeff Withey, Kansas: Withey had a career-high 25 points – hitting 8-of-10 from the field and nine of his 11 free throw attempts – in the Jayhawks’ 68-54 win over No. 6 Baylor on Wednesday. On Saturday, he grabbed a career-best 20 rebounds in an 81-66 triumph over Oklahoma State.
“Jeff was terrific,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Withey had a double-double in Saturday’s win, adding 18 points to his 20 boards. He also finished with seven blocks, a steal and an assist. Against Baylor, he had five rebounds, three blocks, two steals and an assist.
MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jesse Sanders, Liberty Senior Guard: Sanders’ incredible performances are starting to produce wins for the Flames.
Sanders, one of the most complete players in college basketball, led Liberty to road upsets over Charleston Southern and Presbyterian last week as the Flames improved to 11-16 overall and 6-9 in the Big South.
Sanders filled the stat sheet with 19 points (on 8-of-11 shooting), 10 assists, six rebounds and a steal in Saturday’s 77-64 win over Presbyterian. Earlier in the week, he had 19 points, connecting on eight of his 12 shots, nine assists, five boards, a block and a steal in a 75-74 win over Charleston Southern.
For the season, Sanders is averaging 12.6 points, 8.1 assists (to just 2.6 turnovers), 7.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals. He’s shooting 49 percent from the floor and 38 percent from the 3-point line.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
UNC-Asheville: With an easy 88-62 win over Radford and Campbell and Coastal Carolina losses, Asheville earned the Big South regular-season championship and home-court advantage through the conference tournament.
“That’s the first step of some other goals we hope to achieve this season,” Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach said.
The Bulldogs (19-7, 14-1 Big South) went 38-for-42 (90.5 percent) from the foul line and led 28-6 en route to their sixth straight win Saturday. They go to Myrtle Beach Tuesday before Saturday’s BracketBuster contest at Ohio on Saturday.
SINGLE-GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Mike Moser, UNLV Sophomore Forward: On top of a 19-point, 9-rebound, 4-block, 2-steal performance, Mike Moser made a key steal and assist to Anthony Marshall for the go-ahead basket with 42 seconds left in UNLV’s big 65-63 win over San Diego State on Saturday.
After missing his first five shots, Moser connected on 11 of his final 13 field goal attempts as the Rebels improved to 22-4 overall and ascended to the top of the Mountain West standings. At 6-2, they are now tied with San Diego State, which beat UNLV 69-67 on Jan. 14, and New Mexico.
For the season, the UCLA transfer is averaging 14.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a pair of steals per game.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Rivers buries Tar Heels: Duke freshman Austin Rivers capped a 29-point performance and a 15-4 run in the final three minutes with a 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave the Blue Devils a stunning 85-84 win over No. 5 North Carolina on Wednesday.
Rivers’ 23-footer in the face of 7-footer Tyler Zeller hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded, evening No. 9 Duke with the Tar Heels atop the ACC standings.
“Obviously, this is my favorite win I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Rivers said. “Everybody thought we were going to lose, and we just kept fighting. To get a (win), it’s amazing.”
WIN OF THE WEEK
Michigan State 58, Ohio State 48: With their fifth win in their last six games, the Spartans share the top spot in the Big Ten with Ohio State at 9-3 after Saturday’s victory.
Michigan State held the No. 3 Buckeyes to 26.4 percent from the floor Saturday, their third-worst performance at home in the last 15 years and forced National Player of the Year candidate Jared Sullinger into 5-of-15 shooting and 10 turnovers.
“Ohio State’s the best team in the league,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. “But on this give day, we were able to get them.”
At 20-5 and winners of 20 of their last 23 games, the No. 12 Spartans are making a serious case for a top-2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Boston College 64, Florida State 60: Florida State had won seven straight and was on the top of the ACC standings. BC had lost six consecutive and was at the bottom.
Even in Boston, the Eagles win on Saturday was a major upset.
“We weren’t as focused as we should have been and that caught up to us at the end of the game,” Seminole guard Michael Snaer said. “We get national recognition, and we didn’t handle it well.”
Jordan Daniels led Boston College, which trailed 23-10 before a 23-3 first-half run, with 19 points.
LOSS OF THE WEEK
Tennessee 75, Florida 70: The No. 7 Gators lost their second straight game and saw their 19-game home winning streak come to an end as Tennessee outscored Florida 36-14 in the paint.
“This is one of the most impressive wins of the season,” Volunteer junior guard Kenny Hall said. “We got on them early and made sure we had the lead for most of the game.”
After the game, Florida coach Billy Donovan called his team “soft” and “immature.” Gator freshman Bradley Beal said his team may not worthy of an NCAA Tournament bid.
“Where we’re going might be in the NIT if we don’t just turn around right now,” Beal said. “We really have to turn around, and I think we’ll do that.”
Trae Golden led Tennessee, which is above .500 for the first time since Nov. 28 after its third straight win, with 17 points and seven assists.