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NCAA Daily Links

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 11:27am

December 12, 2011

Welcome readers; hope the weekend treated you all well! LOTS of action to report! Buzzer beaters, brawls and some of college basketballs best, this is NCAA Daily:

Christian Watford Nails Game Winning Shot at the Buzzer For Indiana Upset over #1 Kentucky
(Jeff Curts/Examiner)

Christian WatfordChristian WatfordFans stormed the court after Indiana's Verdell Jones set-up Christian Watford for the game winning triple as time expired. Hoosiers coach Tom Crean appeared as though he had suffered a heart attack, but his lack of excitement showing that he believed his team should not settle for being surprised when they beat a team of Kentucky's stature. The Hoosiers had built a 63-53 lead on the Wildcats with 9:03 remaining, but Marquis Teague (who scored all 13 of his points in the 2nd half) and Doron Lamb keyed a comeback that saw Kentucky take back the lead with little time remaining.

Kentucky did not capitalize on some key free throws down the stretch, with a missed 1 and 1 by Anthony Davis with the game 71-70 in Kentucky's favor, then Doron Lamb made just one of two to make the lead 72-70 with 5.2 seconds left. With 5.2 seconds remaining, Indiana drove down court and found Christian Watford for a shot that is sure to go down in the long list of Hoosiers lore. Watford, a junior combo forward, scored a game high 20 points and made 4-6 shots from long range, including the game winner. He hit a number of shots to keep Indiana in the game and he must have impressed a few scouts with his performance.

Indiana's star freshman, Cody Zeller, had a decent showing of his own with 11 points and 7 rebounds. He showed an ability to score near the basket, but needs to develop better post position and demand the ball. Kentucky did a great job of boxing him off and making it difficult for him to get the ball to take advantage of Anthony Davis, who had four fouls early in the second half. Davis looked great at times in the contest, but he drew a few cheap fouls that limited his playing time and ended up costing Kentucky dearly.

The freshman with the best performance in the game was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who showed incredible energy and hit the boards with reckless abandon. Kidd-Gilchrist got his buckets off of slashing, offensive rebounds and just flat out attacking the rim. One might want to see more of an offensive repertoire, but his 18 point and 9 rebound performance shows just how effective he can be with what he possesses right now.

On the flip side, Terrence Jones was a major let down in this game. He completely lacked energy on both ends of the floor, allowing easy driving buckets and getting posterized by Indiana's Victor Oladipo. Jones had 4 points and 6 turnovers, with only one rebound. Kentucky is truly only a 6 deep team and Indiana tested them on the perimeter and exposed weaknesses that few knew they had. Overall, an amazing college basketball game and a big time win for the Hoosiers, who should make a major move in the polls and have the Big 10 on alert after moving to 9-0 on the year.

Heated Xavier/Cincinnati Game Ends In Bench Clearing Brawl
(Paul Daugherty/CNNSI.com)

Any game between these two Ohio schools usually has both team's level of emotion at a higher level than most contests. But, in a game that saw the #8 Xavier Musketeers take a convincing 76-53 lead over the Cincinnati Bearcats with 9.4 seconds remaining, that emotion boiled over into a spectacle that will not be soon forgotten. The taunts began to fly even before the game began, as Bearcats sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick announced on local radio that he believed that fellow New Yorker and Xavier star guard Tu Holloway would not even start on the Cincinnati squad. Word definitely got out and Xavier was steaming.

When the game actually started, it was an incredibly physical contest and there was an altercation between Xavier guard Mark Lyons and some players on the Cincinnati bench before half time that had to be broken up. Coaches were given warning by officials that if there was any more jawing between the two teams, technical fouls would ensue. Well, apparently, neither team got the message and the contest went on without the referees living up to their threat.

With the game completely out of reach and Xavier's starters still on the floor, Tu Holloway had some words with UC guard Ge'Lawn Guyn. Guyn appeared to bump Holloway's chest, which led to Xavier freshman Dez Wells backing up his teammate. Punches were than thrown and both benches cleared. Xavier center Kenny Frease, somehow in the middle of the action, was blind sided by the fist of Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates just below his left eye. As Frease fell to the ground, onlookers claim Bearcats center Cheikh Mbodj kicked him while he was down.

The video clearly shows big man Frease crawling away from the action and blood streaming down his face. The worst part of this all is the thought that this could have been prevented. Emotions were far too high and instead of letting their play speak for them, Xavier felt they had to take it one step further. This does not forgive the actions or even words previously stated by the Bearcats, but Tu Holloway stating he had no regrets about how events transpired was definitely disheartening. He obviously felt disrespected, but his play was doing the talking in this big time victory. Now, a rivalry that has been one of college basketball's best has a questionable future after the events that transpired on Saturday.

Cincinnati, Xavier Hand Down 8 Total Suspensions
(Dex McCluskey/Bloomberg Businessweek)

Suspensions for the brawl between the two teams have already been handed down. Many felt that players such as Yancy Gates might ensue penalties in the double digits as far as games, but he was given a 6 game penalty. Center Cheikh Mbodj was given the same length, as was Octavius Ellis. Xavier gave bans of four games to players Dez Wells and Landon Amos, with Mark Lyons set to miss two contests. Surprisingly enough, the two instigators of the situation, Tu Holloway of Xavier and Ge'Lawn Guyn, are only set to miss a single game.

Either way, these penalties seem fairly lenient. I am slightly surprised that a harder line was not taken by both schools to show that this was not acceptable behavior. Than again, these are suspensions from the school as opposed to the NCAA, but I truly would hope that both Mick Cronin of Cincinnati and Chris Mack of Xavier might send their teams more of a message. Instead, it looks like they are catering to public outrage and looking out for their star players to be back on the court as soon as possible.

Kansas Takes Down Ohio State Without Sidelined Sullinger
(Blair Kerkhoff/The Kansas City Star)

Kansas' Phog Allen Fieldhouse is one of the most difficult places to play for any visiting team in college basketball. For #2 Ohio State, that proved to be even more truthful without All-American sophomore PF Jared Sullinger. Buckeye's coach Thad Matta had said that Sullinger was probable, but his back spasms were bad enough for the big man to be on the bench in a suit rather than in uniform. #13 Kansas took full advantage of Sullinger's absence and won the contest 78-67.

Kansas was led by PF Thomas Robinson, who dominated the contest with 21 points (7-9 FG, 7-8 FT) and 7 rebounds. Sullinger truly would have been the most formidable foe that Robinson has faced all season, but it appears we will have to wait for a hopeful re-match in March. Elijah Johnson finished with 15 for the Jayhawks and Kevin Young chipped in with 14 off of the bench. Jayhawk senior guard Tyshawn Taylor had 13 assists, but 7 turnovers as well as he continues to be prone to mistakes. Ohio State was led by William Buford with 21 points (though he also had 23 FG attempts) and got 19 points from DeShaun Thomas, as both players played the entire game for the Buckeyes.

North Carolina Outlasts Long Beach State, 84-78
(Andrew Carter/News Observer)

The #4 North Carolina Tar Heels survived a scare at the Dean Dome from Long Beach State as they escaped with a 6 point win. Guard Casper Ware scored 21 of his 29 points in the first half for LBSU, as they went into half time with a 45-40 lead. With the Tar Heels down 6 about three minutes into the second half, UNC sophomore Reggie Bullock nailed a three to start a 22-8 run that gave North Carolina control over the game. Bullock scored 8 consecutive North Carolina points that gave the Tar Heels the lead for good and finished with 15 points.

Bullock also came away incredibly impressed by 49er's guard Casper Ware, who he claimed was the fastest player he had ever tried to guard. Ware got help from Larry Anderson's 17 points and TJ Robinson posting a 12-12 game. John Henson led North Carolina with a 24-10 double-double of his own. Harrison Barnes chipped in with 20 points and Tyler Zeller added 17. North Carolina PG Kendall Marshall showed his brilliant court vision once again with 16 assists on the game, but I think you can attribute Ware's going off to Marshall's lack of elite athleticism. Just something to watch when North Carolina plays quicker PG's in the future.

Duke Bests Huskies at Madison Square Garden
(Chip Alexander/Charlotte Observer)

Making the most of a 44-23 advantage in free throw attempts, #7 Duke beat Washington 86-80 on Saturday. Duke held a pretty convincing lead through most of the game, though Washington surged back with strong play from their guards. After struggling in his initial Madison Square Garden game against Michigan State, Austin Rivers scored 18 points to lead the Blue Devils.

Though Washington guard Tony Wroten struggled with early turnover trouble (5 TO's, all in the first half), his game high 23 points caught the eye of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"I thought Wroten had a great game," Krzyzewski said. "He broke us down. I told him (when) we shook hands, 'You played a great game today, son.' He was terrific."

Washington wing men CJ Wilcox and Terrence Ross had 22 and 17 points respectively for the now 4-4 Huskies.

Pittsburgh Lasso's Oklahoma State Cowboys In Second MSG Contest
(Anthony Slater/The Daily O'Collegian)

The Cowboys were yet another team that had a valiant comeback fall short as they lost to #15 Pittsburgh, 74-68. Ashton Gibbs led Pitt with 17 points while the Panthers received solid performances from both Nasir Robinson (15 points) and Lamar Patterson (12 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists). Meanwhile, Oklahoma State must be happy to be leaving New York, as all three of their losses on the year have been at Madison Square Garden.

LeBryan Nash led the Cowboys with 20 points and showed that he could use his body and athleticism to make some noise. More of an undersized 4 than a wing player, Nash needs to work on his court vision and try not to force the issue. But, he has the makings of a solid player for Oklahoma State as the season wares on.

After Crushing George Washington To Remain Undefeated, Syracuse Nations New #1?
(Brent Axe/Syracuse.com)

#3 in the polls right now, the Syracuse Orangemen had both teams in front of them lose their weekend contests. This could have the deep Cuse team at the top of polls when they are announced later in the day. Other little Orangemen factoids are that this is their third 10-0 start in a row, they have had the same starting line-up in all 10 games this season (Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche, Rakeem Christmas, Fab Melo, Kris Joseph) and that sophomore guard Dion Waiters scored a career high 19 points in the 85-50 victory over GW. Waiters also celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday as well.

Louisville Keeps Winning With Defense
(CL Brown/Courier-Journal)

Fairleigh Dickinson forward George Goode got an interesting welcome back present in his return to his former school, Louisville. After a hard elbow from Cardinals freshman Zach Price, he made a funny realization.

“I went to take it out at the timeout, and I noticed my tooth was still in the mouthpiece,” said Goode, who played the past three seasons for the Cardinals. “It was fake anyway.”

Well, despite having 17 points and 12 rebounds against his old teammates, #4 Louisville kept things rolling with an 80-58 victory. The Cardinals are now 9-0 and be behind only Syracuse in the polls, if not getting some consideration for being #1. Another team with balance and strong defense under coach Rick Pitino, the Cardinals look to be one of the contenders coming out of the tough Big East conference. Center Gorgui Dieng had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win while PG Peyton Siva finished with 16 points and 9 assists for the Cardinals.

Current Missouri Tigers Squad Brings Back Elite 8 Memories
(Steve Walentik/Columbia Daily Tribune)

As #10 Missouri clobbered yet another foe to move to 9-0 on the season, the Tigers have high hopes for the season. Even without would be star forward Laurence Bowers, the Tigers have the combination of explosive scoring guards and some some low post scorers who know something about gaining position. In fact, some feel that coach Frank Haith's first team is reminiscent of the 2008-09 Missouri team coach Mike Anderson took to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. After an 84-59 victory over Navy this weekend in which all starters scored in double figures, the Tigers must be amped to show the Big 12 that they mean business.

Brian Wardle Has Nice Return To Marquette
(Tom Enlund/The Journal Sentinel)

Well, other than the outcome of the game. The UW Green Bay coach, who served as director of basketball operations under former Marquette coach Tom Crean, left the Bradley Center on the losing end of a 79-61 contest. He got a 22 point, 14 rebound and 5 block performance from 7 footer Alec Brown, but his team committed 25 turnovers, enough to get any coach to pull their hair out. The #11 Marquette Golden Eagles moved to 9-0 on the season and were led by Jae Crowders 21 point/7 rebound performance.

Khris Middleton Provides Much Needed Offense in Return to Court
(David Harris/AggieSports.com)

After missing seven games due to injury for the #22 Texas A&M Aggies, wing man Khris Middleton made his presence felt in his first game back. Middleton scored 24 points in 28 minutes as the Aggies beat Louisiana-Monroe 67-54. Middleton took a while to get back into the swing of things, as he had 5 TO's on the game and started 3-9 from the field. But, a technical foul early in the second half was a wake-up call for the Aggies star player, as he made his final 5 shots and helped move A&M to 8-1 on the season.

St. Joseph's Pulls The Upset Over #19 Creighton
(Steve Pinovar/Omaha World-Herald)

Creighton lost its first game of the season and gained a very interesting sign of where the program stands at this time. After their 80-71 defeat at the hands of the St. Joseph's Hawks, the home team fans stormed the court. This definitely did not happen to the Creighton Bluejays of last year and showed the team they now have a level of play they have to live up to. Carl Jones had a huge games for St. Joseph's with 29 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Doug McDermott's 26 and 10 was not enough for the Bluejays, but I am sure that the actions by the Hawks fans served as a realization of the level of the team and a motivation to try to maintain that level.

Wisconsin Shows That UNLV Still Has a Ways To Go
(Ed Graney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

After beating than ranked #1 North Carolina, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels looked like they had arrived on the national scene. However, after their latest loss to the #14 Wisconsin Badgers, UNLV has shown they might not be ready for the spot light just yet. The Rebels never led at any point of the 62-51 loss and were forced into 15 turnovers in what was described as a sluggish defeat. Ben Brust had 25 points off of the bench for the Badgers and was a perfect 7-7 from long distance. Coach Dave Rice definitely has a lot to work to do with his team after the Rebs were exposed against Wichita State and in this latest loss to Wisconsin.

Dee Bost's 28 Points Lead Mississippi State To Big Victory
(Brandon Marcello/ClarionLedger.com)

Mississippi State star guard Dee Bost scored 28 points and dished out 9 dimes as the Bulldogs pounded the Troy Trojans, 106-68. The big men of Miss St chipped in as well, Arnett Moultrie finishing with 20 and 12 while Renardo Sidney scored 18 points in 22 minutes. Troy coach Don Maestri compared these Bulldogs, winners of eight straight, to MSU's Final Four team in 1996. While that may be a stretch, Missippi State has a great deal of talent and could make some noise if they keep playing like they have been.

Tim Hardaway Jr. Trying To Foul Less, Score More
(Mark Snyder/Detroit Free Press)

The sophomore SG is definitely being targeted by teams who realize the benefit in stopping the #20 Michigan Wolverines top scoring threat. Hardaway, who is averaging 16.4 ppg to lead the Wolverines, had 21 points in a 90-80 victory over Oakland. The Wolverines also benefited from 20 by both sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz and freshman PG Trey Burke. The Oakland Golden Grizzlies were led by guard Reggie Hamilton who scored 28 points in the loss. Hardaway and Burke had a combined 10 turnovers, which they most definitely want to diminish quite a bit before conference play.

Draymond Green's Career High 34 Points Helps Michigan State Take Down #23 Gonzaga
(David Mayo/The Grand Rapids Press)

Burly senior forward Draymond Green huge scoring day led the MSU Spartans to a victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Green scored 34 points on a fantastic 11-13 FG, 4-5 3PT, 8-9 FT performance. The 6-6 stretch 4 scored in a wide variety of ways and used his big body to gain post advantage while displaying a sweet shooting touch. The Spartans are now 8-2 on the season. The Bulldogs fall to 5-2, led in the game by David Stockton's 19 bench points.

IUPUI's Alex Young Goes For 43 Points in Win Over Western Kentucky
(Cole Claybourn/College Heights Herald)

In the highest scoring performance of the weekend, senior combo wing Alex Young scored 43 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for the IUPUI Jaguar's in a 84-76 win over Western Kentucky. Young is averaging 20 points per game on the season and is thought to be on NBA radars even while playing at a small school. IUPUI is only 3-8 now on the year, but Young showed that he can go off at any time if his shooting stroke is on.

Murray State Races to 76-72 Over #21 Memphis
(AP/The Washington Post)

Syracuse and Illinois are 10-0 on the early season, joined by an unexpected third team who just pulled off an upset of a ranked opponent. The Murray State Racers, from the small Ohio Valley Conference, left the FedExForum in Memphis with another notch on their belt as they have won their first 10 contests. Senior guard Donte Poole scored 6 three pointers and finished with 20 points.

Poole knocked down a couple from long distance to give the Racers a 12 point lead with 8:35 remaining, a deficit that Memphis could not come back from. Isaiah Canaan, the Racers leading scorer on the year, finished with 15 points in the victory. Memphis got 27 points (10-13 FG, 2-3 3PT, 5-6 FT) from sophomore guard Will Barton and 20 from fellow soph Joe Jackson, but it was not enough as the Tigers are now 5-3 after Sunday's loss.

Reeves Nelson Kicked-Off UCLA, ASU's Jahii Carson Declared Ineligible
(Patrick Finley/Arizona Daily Star)

The Pac-12 has had a rough season and just received some more bad news this weekend. UCLA junior PF Reeves Nelson, last years leading scorer and rebounder for the Bruins, was dismissed from the team. Nelson had been suspended multiple times this season for a perceived questionable attitude. Nelson had also missed a team flight to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational, which had him suspended for the first half of a game and had been seen laughing on the bench during a loss to Texas. Needless to say, Nelson was in coach Ben Howland's dog house as the Bruins got off to a poor 2-5 start before a weekend win over Penn, 77-73 (at home).

Also, Arizona State Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek got some unfortunate news as his star recruit, Jahii Carson, was declared ineligible for the 2011-12 season. The speedy 5'11, 160 pound PG was expected to play an immediate role for the Sun Devils. Carson will still be able to practice with the team, but the NCAA Clearinghouse gave final word that Carson will not play basketball for the team this season. He should be eligible next season to compete as a sophomore for ASU, though he can gain a year of eligibility back with academic achievement.

That is the NCAA Daily, hope you all enjoyed and I will hit you up with more tomorrow!

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