Archive - Feb 2012
Player of the Week
Michael Dixon, Missouri
The Missouri Tiger's sixth man didn't start the game on the floor for Mizzou on Monday against Texas, but he was definitely there for the finish. His lay-up with 31 seconds left propelled his team to a 67-66 victory over the Longhorns, pushing the Tigers to 20 wins on the season. The 6'1" junior finished the game with 21 points while shooting 9-10 from the field, including 2-2 from three-point range. He also handed out four assists for his team. On the season, he is now averaging a hair over 12 points per game, and almost three assists.
Royce White, Iowa State
The junior star is continuing his very strong play for the Cyclones, while carrying them toward the top of the Big 12 standings along the way. On Tuesday against the Kansas State Wildcats, the 6'8" power forward proved too much to handle for K-State. In the 72-70 win, he hit the game winning jump shot with 1.8 seconds left. He scored 22 points on 10-17 shooting from the field, grabbed eight rebounds, handed out four assists, had three blocks, and grabbed two steals. He is an all-around threat for his team, and has dominated everyone he has faced this season.
Player of the Week
John Shurna, Northwestern
The Big Ten’s leading scorer put up 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting to keep the Wildcats away from a fourth straight loss on Thursday night against Nebraska. We all know he can go off like this at any given time, but this was his first game scoring more than 22 points since Dec. 18 against Eastern Illinois and his third this season (the Wildcats are 3-0 in those games). He had scored more than 22 eight times at the same point in last season’s schedule. Since the start of last season, Northwestern is 11-2 when Shurna scores above that mark. He also scored 15 points Saturday in a 58-56 heartbreaker against Purdue.
But it was more about how Shurna scored those points that matters. He went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Northwestern is 5-0 this season when Shurna makes at least five free throws, a sign of him not totally relying on his 3-point shot (which ranks seventh in the Big Ten at 42.7 percent). He’s attempted the fourth-most 3-pointers (131) in the conference, behind Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., Purdue’s Ryne Smith and Illinois’ D.J. Richardson — with good reason. But when he starts getting to the basket like he did Thursday against Nebraska, good things happen. He had several nice drives that helped put the Huskers away, and maneuvered his way down low for an offensive rebound and tip-in late in the game.
Coach Bill Carmody knows Northwestern (13-8, 3-6 Big Ten, 10th place) can’t afford to sit Shurna, who has played an average 39.3 minutes per game in Big Ten games, and is on the floor for 96.9 percent of the time, both tops in the conference. Shurna stays out of foul trouble and doesn’t turn the ball over — hard to do when you’re the go-to guy. In the past five games, he’s only turned the ball over four times, while dishing out 12 assists.
When Kyrie Irving spun through a slew of Celtics last Sunday to make the game-winning bucket, it meant more than simply picking up another win for his Cavs. That shot seemed like a dagger – it pretty much ended any debate about who the top rookie from last year’s draft class is going to be this season.