NCAA Daily Links
December 8, 2011
A lot of solid action took place last night as a number of marquee teams squared off. Here is the breakdown in today's NCAA Daily:
Patric Young's Big Night Helps #12 Florida Claim OT Victory Over Arizona
(Pat Dooley/Gainesville Sun)
With the game's score 66-63 in favor of the home Gators, Florida's Casey Prather fouled Arizona forward Solomon Hill on a three point attempt with 3.9 seconds remaining. Hill made all of his freebies and sent the game into OT. In the extra period, Florida's big men were too much for Arizona as the Gators claimed a 78-72 win. Patric Young had a career high 25 points to go with 10 rebounds. Young, a much ballyhooed PF/C prospect, displayed a vastly improved post game with an ability to shoot a baby hook over either shoulder. He shot 12-15 from the field and is showing why he has a likely future in the NBA.
Arizona was led by scrappy PF Jesse Perry, who finished with 23 points and 7 rebounds. Wing men Kyle Fogg and Kevin Parrom finished with 19 and 13 respectively in the Wildcats loss. The Gators survived a fairly poor shooting performance from there starting guard duo of Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, who combined to only shoot 5-27 (18.5%) from the field. Nonetheless, with a big performance from Young, along with some nice defense and spot baskets by Gators PF Will Yeguete, Florida managed to come out victorious. The Wildcats were without freshman PG Josiah Turner and had SG Nick Johnson playing point for a majority of the game. Turner has struggled, but you have to wonder if his presence could have given the Wildcats the tiny boost they could have used to walk out of Florida as winners.
Dayton Upsets #16 Alabama
(Doug Harris/Springfield News-Sun)
The Dayton Flyers had a lights out shooting performance in a 74-62 upset over the #16 Crimson Tide of Alabama. Shooting 60.9% from the field and making 10-19 (52.6%) 3's, the Flyers left their arena rocking and survived an Alabama comeback which had the Tide only down 57-53. Chris Johnson led the way for Dayton with a game high 20 points on 8-9 FG, with senior guard Josh Parker providing 17 points off of the bench. The Tide, who shot 50% as a team but only made 4-16 (25%) of their three point attempts, were led by junior wing Tony Mitchell who finished with 18. The Tide are now 7-2 on the year while the Flyers moved to a respectable 6-3.
Illinois Rallies in the Second Half to Remain Undefeated
(Patrick Z. McGavin/Chicago Sun-Times)
With a 39-30 deficit to St. Bonaventure, it was clear that Illinois needed someone to step up as a go-to scorer. Junior guard Brandon Paul stepped up to the task, scoring 11 of his 17 points in the final 4 minutes and rallying the Illini to a 48-43 victory. Paul did so off of explosive drives, including a couple where he managed to score after getting fouled. He chipped in 5 rebounds and assists while showing the Illini faithful that they do indeed have a player who can score off of the drive.
Big man Meyers Leonard finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds, but he had two key offensive boards at games end, plus a hook shot that put the game out of reach. Andrew Nicholson of the Bonnies finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds of his own, but Leonard helped force him to 7-18 shooting. Nicholson displayed fantastic footwork near the basket, but the Bonnies simply did not have enough fire power to outlast Illinois in this low scoring slug fest. Illinois is now a perfect 9-0 on the season after this very near scare to the A-10 Bonnies.
#7 Duke Takes Care Of Business Against Colorado State
Shooting 56.4% from the field, the Duke Blue Devils moved to 8-1 on the season after an 87-64 dismantling of the Colorado State Rams. Freshman guard Austin Rivers led Duke with 17 points and brothers Mason/Miles Plumlee each had 14. Mason, a junior PF/C, also had 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 steals. Guard Tyler Thornton received his first start of the year for Duke, though regular starter Andre Dawkins made a nice case for himself by scoring 15 points in 12 minutes off of the bench. Dawkins actually had some back discomfort in the game, but was probable for Saturdays contest against Washington.
#5 Louisville Dismantles IUPUI, 90-60
(Jody Demling/The Courier-Journal)
The Cardinals moved to 8-0 on the season as they crushed the IUPUI Jaguars, winning the FG% battle 55.6-36.1. Rick Pitino's team continues to play great defense, but this game also had some encouraging showings on the other side of the court as well. Gorgui Dieng had 18 points on the game while shooting 8-8 from the field, also picking up 6 of his 12 rebounds on the offensive glass.
Although they gave up 9 three pointers in the games first 26 minutes and were only ahead by 5 at the half, a 22-2 run put the game completely out of reach. Guard Chris Smith had a game high 19 points, moving over 1000 for his career, while guard Russ Smith came off the bench for 12 points of his own. The game also marked the return of forward Rakeem Buckles, who had not played since February of last year. Buckles was leading the team in rebounding last season before being sidelined by an injury.
#8 Xavier Tu Tough For Butler
The Butler Bulldogs fought hard, twice trimming the lead to four points in the second half, but the guard combo of Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons kept the Xavier Musketeers a perfect 7-0 on the season. Holloway and Lyons each scored 16 points in the 73-61 road win at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Holloway scored 14 of his 16 points from the line, contributing 6 steals as well. Freshman Roosevelt Jones had 10 points and 11 rebounds in the loss, which puts Butler at 4-5 on the season. Coach Brad Stevens Butler program seems to be in a rebuilding year after making two straight NCAA Tournament finals.
Jordan Taylor's Double-Double Helps #14 Badgers Best Phoenix
(Brian Mason/University of Wisconsin Athletic Communications)
The Wisconsin Badgers built a solid lead early in the first half and ended their game against the Green Bay Phoenix with a 70-42 win. Wisconsin's star player, PG Jordan Taylor had 15 points and a career high 10 assists. Taylor also did not have a single turnover in the game. Junior's Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren had 14 and 13 respectively for the victors. The Badgers have an interesting Saturday contest against UNLV.
The Phoenix were led by 7 footer Alec Brown with 10 points, though he was held to 4-12 shooting. Feel good story Eric Valentin had 6 minutes of burn, finishing with 3 points and 2 assists. Valentin is a 5'4 guard who holds the world record for most half court shots made in a minute with 8. If you Google him, you will find a very touching video of his being offered a surprise scholarship by UW Green Bay coach Brian Wardle.
#22 Texas A&M Takes Care of Sam Houston State
(Brent Zwerneman/College Station Bureau)
A couple of Turners' had led the way for Texas A&M's 64-37 dismantling of Sam Houston State. PF Ray Turner had 15 points and 10 rebounds while junior University of Washington transfer Elston Turner, no relation, had 14 on the game. The Aggies won the battle of the boards 44-27 and forced the Bearkats (yes, kats, apparently) to 25% shooting from the field.
Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy says he continues to feel better every day, as he battles with Parkinson's Disease which he was diagnosed with prior to the season. The coach, in his first year from Murray State, appears to be gaining his strength back after being dead tired after earlier games in the season. In other Texas A&M news, star wing Khris Middleton may return for the Aggies on Saturday, which would give them a much needed scoring boost entering Big 12 conference play.
Taylor Shines and Ezeli Returns in Close Vandy Victory
Jeffery Taylor posted a career high 30 points as his Vanderbilt Commodores held on to defeat the Davidson Wildcats 87-83. The game marked the return of center Festus Ezeli to the Vanderbilt line-up. The Nigerian big man made his presence felt, with 15 points, 6 boards and 2 blocks in 21 minutes. Junior guard John Jenkins had a typical big scoring game for the Commodores, his 22 points slightly above his season average of 21.3 ppg.
The Wildcats built up an 8 point lead early in the first half, but Vandy surged ahead with just under 9 minutes remaining and held on throughout the rest of the contest. Sophomore forward De'Mon Brooks had 24 points and 9 boards for Davidson, while junior forward Jake Cohen also chipped in with 18 points for the 6-2 Wildcats.
The Commodores are now 6-3 on the season and are incredibly happy to have Ezeli back in the fold. The 6'11 big man is a potential NBA prospect and his presence alongside Jeff Taylor and John Jenkins had the Commodores looking like they may make some noise come March. Ezeli obviously needs to shake off some rust, as he fouled out in limited PT, but his presence is a major reason why Vanderbilt had a high pre-season ranking.
#9 Connecticut Set To Play #25 Harvard Tonight
In what will not be your typical Big East versus Ivy League match-up, Connecticut needs to be ready for their match-up tonight against Harvard. The Huskies narrowly missed playing Harvard in an early tournament in the Bahamas as they suffered their lone loss of the season against Central Florida, falling 68-63. Harvard upset than ranked Florida State, 46-41 to make it to the finals against Central Florida.
Connecticut narrowly escaped with a victory against Florida State, winning 78-76 in OT. Harvard, meanwhile, ended up winning the tournament with a 59-49 victory over UCF. The Crimson go into Storrs with an 8-0 record and the Huskies definitely do not want them to leave their home court with a victory. Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun says he will once again start the front court duo of Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi. This also may be the first game Andre Drummond is able to remove a protective mask covering his broken nose. The mask has caused a great deal of discomfort and Drummond seemed to be very excited at the idea of its removal.
Thank you for reading and I will be back tomorrow to set you up for the news for the weekend! Feel free to leave comments and if you cannot, than I encourage you to create an account on NBADraft.net. It is free, easy, no hassle and the message board community is full of passionate basketball fans who love talking about the game. Plus, you just might see me around those parts every once in a while. Have a good night and I hope you enjoyed today's NCAA Daily.