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February 9, 2012

02/09/2012 - 2:09pm

One team had won 7 games in a row, the other team had lost 6 consecutively. Jordan Daniels big night gave Boston College Eagles fans something to be happy about with a career high 21 points including 4 three pointers in a 64-60 victory. The fact that he had this performance against a Florida State Seminole team that had defeated 3 top 25 teams in their last winning streak, including a victory against Duke at Cameron, was just icing on the cake.

Matt Humphrey and Ryan Anderson chipped in with 15 and 14 points respectively. The Noles were led by Michael Snaer with 16 and got 12 from Bernard James and Ian Miller in the loss. They are now 7-2 in ACC play and will look to snap back on Saturday when they host a Miami (FL) team coming off their own victory at Duke.

02/09/2012 - 9:58am

After posting a donut in Kansas' latest loss to Missouri, Jeff Withey knew he needed to be aggressive against Baylor. He was just that as his 17 points in the first half already surpassed his career high of 15 set one week before against Oklahoma. Overall, Withey finished with 25 points (8-10 FG, 9-11 FT) adding 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in the Jayhawks 68-54 road win against Baylor.

Besides Withey's monster performance, Thomas Robinson added yet another double-double to his impressive junior campaign with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Robinson is considered to be an All-American lock and the potential favorite for NCAA player of the year honors. Throw in 19 points by Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas finds themselves in prime position for a potential 8th consecutive Big 12 conference title.

Currently tied with Missouri at 9-2, if both teams win out than the Jayhawks find themselves in prime position facing Mizzou at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Of course, that is assuming that the Tigers win a Friday match-up with Baylor at home. In this game, despite forcing 19 Jayhawk turnovers, the Bears were once more outmuscled down low by Kansas, as they were in their previous 92-74 loss in Lawrence.

The #6 Bears saw star Perry Jones III limited to 25 minutes due to foul trouble. Jones III's 5 points on 1-8 FG shooting certainly was underwhelming for the home team nonetheless. Pierre Jackson paced Baylor with 16 while Quincy Acy added 11. Sophomore Cory Jefferson also scored 11 off of the bench for Baylor, but this was a game to forget for the now 21-3 squad. Kansas, ranked #7 in the AP, should probably move ahead of Baylor despite having a 19-5 record. Bill Self has done a fantastic job coaching this Jayhawk team, maybe one of his more impressive coaching efforts to date for a team that was seen as doubtful to once again repeat as Big 12 champs.

02/09/2012 - 9:23am

It took OT and a career performance for Kris Joseph, but Jim Boeheim notched win #880 to pass legendary North Carolina coach Dean Smith for third All-Time in career college basketball victories. Joseph dropped in what proved to be the game winner with 26 seconds left and finished with a career high 29 points in #2 Cuse's 64-61 win over #12 Georgetown.

“It’s the last game I’ll ever play against Georgetown, assuming we don’t play them in the Big East Tournament,” Joseph said. “So it was good. I feel like I came out on top in this rivalry.”

Syracuse also got a big game from sophomore center Fab Melo. After missing a number of games due to academic issues, Melo has had two strong showings in his return. This latest game saw Fab get 11 points, pull down 7 boards and swat 6 shots. Georgetown owned the boards in this game, with a 48-30 advantage, which just highlights the importance of having the big man made for Syracuse in this contest.

Georgetown was paced by yet another strong showing from freshman Otto Porter. Finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds, Porter has been a crucial cog for the Hoyas off of the bench and almost helped them to the victory. Hollis Thompson also had a double-double for Georgetown while Jason Clark put in 12 points. Still, Syracuse moved to 24-1 and coach Boeheim entered into even more elite company behind only Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight. Cuse will look to improve their record on Saturday against a struggling UConn that many (including myself) thought might contend with them for Big East supremacy.

02/09/2012 - 9:00am

"I don't think it's much of a rivalry right now because UNC's not better than Duke, nowhere near in my opinion. Until UNC can start winning some games, I don't think it's much of a rivalry. They've got to do something first. Duke's done their share. I don't know about UNC."

-Austin Rivers (http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/blog/the_dagger/post/Duke-signee-Austin-Rivers-takes-a-few-jabs-at-No?urn=ncaab-317050)

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It definitely takes a lot of guts to say something like that. Even if you are just giving a good natured ribbing to a fierce rival. But, those words came out of Austin Rivers mouth almost one year ago, when he was still one of the top high school players in the nation. Last night, in the first game of what has been deemed as the biggest rivalry in college basketball, Rivers had a performance and a shot that went down as another incredible chapter of the Tobacco Road rivalry of Duke and North Carolina.

In front of an amped up home crowd at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, Austin Rivers dagger three pointer as time expired is sure to go down as one of the marquee moments in this classic rivalry. North Carolina led the entire second half, even leading by 7 with under 2 minutes remaining. However, a Seth Curry triple and a couple of Ryan Kelly jumpers helped cut the lead to two points with under 13 seconds remaining. The ball was placed in the hands of Rivers, who calmly dribbled down the clock and fired a seering triple over the helpless reach of Tyler Zeller to give Duke an 85-84 victory.

Rivers spoke to Erin Andrews after the game, saying that it was not the best game of his life, but the best day of life. If he is talking about his college basketball career, it was definitely both on this gigantic stage against a fierce rival. The son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who was in the crowd to cheer him on, Austin has had his ups and downs as a freshman. With this game, he went beyond the great expectations placed upon him, scoring 29 points while shooting 6-10 from long range. Nicknamed "Sub-zero" due to his scoring acumen and jersey number, there is little as cold as icing your opponent as time expires.

North Carolina definitely seemed to have the game in hand, but Tyler Zeller will definitely be seen as a Chapel Hill villain despite a 23 and 11 performance. Zeller dominated the first half, but made some crucial mistakes down the stretch. The big man split 1 of 2 FT's and also accidentally tipped in a wayward three point heave by Ryan Kelly to cut the lead to one. After splitting another pair at the stripe, he was switched on to Rivers and gave him enough space to hit that shot that should make the All-Time Highlight reel of the Duke/UNC match-up.

Harrison Barnes also had 25 points, but he scored North Carolina's only FG with 2:35 remaining in the game. In other words, Barnes definitely played his part, but North Carolina got to comfortable with an 82-72 lead on his last jumper. John Henson finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds, as the Heels thoroughly outrebounded the Blue Devils, but perimeter defense was North Carolina's downfall. Kendall Marshall finished with 14 points and 8 assists as well, though Seth Curry shined in front of his famous father (and lately, famous mother) with 15 points of his own. The day truly belonged to Austin Rivers, who backed up some bold words from a year ago to stun the Tar Heel faithful.