In the recap of Tuesday's big game, Pierce Hornung led Colorado State to a key win over New Mexico. The rest of Tuesday's key happenings include:
1. Jordan Theodore leads Seton Hall to a statement victory over #8 Georgetown.
To say the least this was a huge game for Kevin Willard's Pirates, as they were looking to bounce back from a 62-57 loss to fellow bubbler Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon. Enter senior point guard Jordan Theodore, who took control of the game as seniors are expected to this time of the year. Theodore led Seton Hall to the 73-55 win over the Hoyas with 29 pointsfive assists and four rebounds, and he had a role (scoring four points and assisting on two Herb Pope buckets) in Seton Hall's first eight points of the game. Herb Pope added 12 points and Fuquan Edwin and reserve Brandon Mobley scored ten apiece, for the Pirates, who have won four of their last five after losing six straight.
Offensively the Pirates were outstanding as they shot 61% from the field and posted eighteen assists to just eight turnovers. Georgetown on the other hand finished the night with a field goal percentage of 40.4%, and John Thompson III's team uncharacteristically finished with more turnovers (11) than assists (nine). For the second time in the last three games Seton Hall has shot better than 61% (62.3% against St. John's), and according to statsheet.com's numbers Tuesday marked their most efficient offensive performance of the season. SHU's final two regular season games (Rutgers, at DePaul) are ones that will have a bigger impact if lost than one, but with Theodore leading the way it's difficult to think that they'll fail to take care of business.
2. Kansas State sweeps the season series with #3 Missouri.
Last season Frank Martin's Wildcats inexplicably lost to Colorado (now in the Pac-12, of course) three times. It was all a matter of matchups, just as Kansas State sweeping their season series with Missouri this season is. Kansas State beat the Tigers 78-68 in Columbia on Tuesday night, limiting the Tigers to 38.8% shooting from the field and Rodney McGruder led the way offensively with 24 points. With consecutive road wins at Baylor and Missouri the Wildcats have added two big wins to their resume, likely punching their ticket barrin a collapse. One key in both wins over Missouri for K-State has been the play of Jamar Samuels in his matchup with Missouri's Kim English.
Against most teams the matchup between English, a guard who plays the four for Frank Haith's team, and the opposing team's four is a mismatch in favor of the Tigers. That hasn't been the case against K-State, who can count on the athletic Samuels to limit the senior's quality looks from the perimeter. In the two games English has scored 17 points (8.5 ppg) on 6-for-12 shooting, a far cry from his season average of 14.0 points per game. Also of note is that in both games the Wildcats have set the tone, leading by 19 at the half in Manhattan and leading by ten at the break on Tuesday night.
3. #13 Michigan takes Northwestern to overtime and controls the extra session to win going away.
Never been a big fan of placing "Northwestern" and "bubble" in the same sentence due to the fact that the Wildcats have never reached the NCAA tournament. But to be fair Bill Carmody's team had reached that point going into their game against Michigan, which represented a golden opportunity for the Wildcats to pick up a big win. Michigan would refuse to go down without a fight, as Tim Hardaway Jr. tied the game at 49 on a three-pointer with 1:41 remaining and the Wolverines would outscore Northwestern 18-6 in overtime to win 67-55. Hardaway Jr. finished with 14 points while Trey Burke led the way with 19, and crucial threes from Zack Novak and Stu Douglass in overtime established a nine-point margin the Wildcats couldn't overcome.
John Shurna led the Wildcats with 14 points but he shot just 6-for-16 from the field, and sidekick Drew Crawford had a quiet night with just six points in 27 minutes of action. Michigan (37.5%) shot a lower percentage from the field than Northwestern (41.2%), which isn't a surprise given the similarities found in their offensive systems, but they took better care of the basketball (seven turnovers to NU's 14). Northwestern scored .937 points per possession while Michigan was at 1.164, and that turned out to be the difference. The key for Northwestern now is to make sure that Michigan doesn't "beat them twice" with a trip to Penn State up next.
1. Three things in the second half in Starkville pushed #1 Kentucky to a 73-64 win over Mississippi State. One was the shifting of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to Dee Bost on the defensive end, a move made possible in part by Rodney Hood going down with an injury in the first half. After scoring 16 points in the first half Bost managed just five in the second, and as a team the Bulldogs shot just 32% from the field. Secondly there was the effort of senior guard Darius Miller, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half and knocked down some huge shots. And Terrence Jones played far better in the second half as the Wildcats clinched at least a share of the SEC title with the win.
2. The upset of the year in college basketball took place in Vestal, New York as Binghamton, who entered the game 0-26, knocked off Vermont 57-53 for their first win of the season. After a Matt Glass jumper 41 seconds into the game opened the scoring the Catamounts wouldn't lead again, and Binghamton led by as many as 12 points. Robert Mansell led the Bearcats with 18 points and Ben Dickinson added 16 and 11 boards, and the result also gave Stony Brook sole possession of first place in America East.
3. As if it wasn't time to get concerned about Xavier before their game at UMass, the Musketeers didn't show up on the defensive end in their 80-73 loss. Chaz Williams went off for 29 points, nine assists and rebounds to lead the Minutemen, who have road games at Dayton and Temple next. As for Xavier, Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons combined to shoot 8-for-29 from the field, and if not for Dezmine Wells' 19 the final score would have been a more accurate representation of what happened in the Mullins Center.
4. It wasn't a good night for ACC bubble teams as both Miami and NC State fell. NC State can point to the fact that their loss came at the hands of North Carolina, who frankly is not a good matchup for the Wolfpack. Kendall Marshall scored 22 points and handed out 13 assists...without one turnover. Few teams will beat UNC when their sophomore point guard is dealing like that. As for the Hurricanes, they lost 75-70 at Maryland, a defeat that dropped Miami to 7-6 in league play. The win at Duke certainly helps their cause, but it would be wise for Jim Larranaga's team to pick up another resume-building victory.
5. Anton Grady scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Cleveland State, but it wasn't enough as the Vikings lost 71-67 at Green Bay. All of a sudden Gary Waters' team sits a game behind Butler in the loss column for second place, and that seed receives the other bye straight to the semis in the Horizon League tournament. The other bye goes to Valparaiso, who clinced the regular season title by beating Loyola (IL) in overtime. It hasn't helped CSU that D'Aundray Brown's been out due to injury, and they've dropped five straight with him on the sidelines.
6. Creighton nearly took the momentum gained from their comeback win over Long Beach State and flushed it down the drain but a Josh Jones shot with 23 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Bluejays a 93-92 win over Evansville. Creighton survived a 43-point night from Evansville's Colt Ryan, and it took a Gregory Echenique putback as time expried to send the game into overtime. Creighton picked up the win but there's no doubt that they have to get better defensively (UE shot 58.9%) if they're to make some noise in March.
7. Two key personnel notes in the SEC on Tuesday involving Alabama and Florida. Alabama head coach Anthony Grant stated that the recently reinstated JaMychal Green is unlikely to play on Thursday at Arkansas, and Green's return (whenever that happens) will have an impact on the Crimson Tide's at-large hopes. As for the Gators, forward Will Yeguete is out indefinitely due to a broken foot suffered in their 63-47 win over Auburn. His absence puts even more pressure on Patric Young and Erik Murphy inside, but it helps to have guards can hit the glass like Bradley Beal and Erving Walker (seven boards on Tuesday).