The second day of the college basketball season was generally a quiet one. Before getting to Saturday’s games, though, a quick look back at a one that went very late and under the radar from Friday that may well end up being the longest game all season:
Deep into the night in the Rainbow Classic hosted by Hawaii, High Point defeated Cal State-Bakersfield 100-99 in FOUR overtimes. Two nearly anonymous teams playing far, far from home, but what a game.
The teams were tied for five straight periods-including halftime-and neither led by more than six points all night. High Point played without star forward John Brown, who did not play because of a “coach’s decision,” according to HPU. Devante Wallace picked up the slack with a career-high 32 points including seven three-pointers, while Aly Ahmed (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Kevin Mays (13 pts, 17 reb.) both had emphatic double-doubles for Bakersfield.
The game also displayed the danger of fouling while up with a 3-point lead. The Roadrunners led 99-96 after two free throws with 12 seconds left, but then fouled (too early, with nine seconds left) and the Panthers hit two free throws, then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored a layup with two seconds left. Don’t care what the statistics say, especially as defense-oriented as basketball is now, the best play is to trust players to play defense. If the opponent hits a huge shot, hats off to them, and you go to more overtime. Instead, CSUB lost a game it had all but in the bag just seconds earlier.
- Both Duke and Fairfield were playing for the second day in a row, with the Stags traveling and losing 109-59. The Blue Devils shot 64.5% and dominated inside. Fairfield has a little bit of size, but Duke finished with a 39-20 rebounding bulge. The Blue Devils have been utterly dominant their first two games.
- Georgetown pulled away from stubborn St. Francis (N.Y.) 83-62. Freshman L.J. Peak was 9-for-9 from the field (but just 4-for-8 from the line??) for 23 points for G-town, which shot 52.5% and needed just eight points from D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. The Terriers actually out-rebounded the Hoyas 45-40 and had 22 offensive boards, but couldn’t convert enough of them (32.4% shooting for the game).
- Florida State eased past cold-shooting (28.6%) Manhattan 81-66. The Seminoles shot 57.5% and were ultra-balanced-six players scoring in double figures, all between 11 and 14 points. Good opening game for both teams, wish we saw more matchups like this, credit to FSU for playing the Jaspers.
- Gardner-Webb sometimes seems to be more of a pest to big names out of conference than in its own conference. The Runnin’ Bulldogs led at halftime before falling to LSU 93-82.
- Portland State won at USC 76-68. Uh-oh. The second year under Andy Enfield not off to a good start for the Trojans. Southern California outshot the Vikings and hammered them on the glass, but the difference? Turnovers: USC 23, Portland State 4. Nice win for the Vikings and the Big Sky Conference.
- Providence held on for a 64-60 win over Albany in a very good game. (Phil Kasiecki has more on this one here) We think the Friars are going to be ok this year, but a quick word about Albany:
Albany stood toe-to-toe with Providence throughout this game, despite entering the season with eight newcomers and just two returning starters from last year’s NCAA team. There aren’t many coaches in the country that on their own can seemingly elevate their team by their own will. Coaches are like teachers-there are a lot of good ones, a few exceptionally good, a few bad ones, and in recent years college basketball has become less about coaching and more about recruiting and talent anyway.
Albany’s Will Brown is a coach who makes a difference in his teams. The Great Danes repeatedly play well in situations when a supposed “low major” should struggle. They’ve played high seeds Connecticut, Duke and Florida very tough in the NCAA Tournament. They’ve won at places like Washington and Utah, and won the America East title on the road two straight years. His teams play with a lot of moxie, and they did it again Saturday night, repeatedly answering Providence time and again. It’s a lot of fun watching Albany take on more established programs and frequently give them a very hard time, and that’s a credit to Brown and his teams. The Great Danes may not always win these games, but they sure give it a heck of a fight trying.
- Butler routed Maine 99-57. The result wasn’t a surprise, but notable is the Bulldogs shooting an incredible 71.9% (41 of 57)…and only 9 of 16 from the free throw line (56.3%).
- St. Louis edged Southern Illinois 62-59. Who’s going to score for the Billikens this year? Austin McBroom made his case with 24 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 10 seconds left.
- Louisiana-Monroe won at UAB 74-65. Good win for ULM. And not a good start at all for the Blazers.
- Oral Roberts won the battle of the city of Tulsa, defeating Tulsa 77-68. The Golden Hurricane shot just 33.9%, while Obi Emegano made a triumphant return from injury last year with 26 points for ORU. It’s early, of course, but will be interesting to see where both teams go from here. Tulsa is expected to be solid with a lot of experience returning from last year’s NCAA team, while Oral Roberts was down the past few years but is due for a rebound and also is back in comfortable confines in the Summit League.
- Boise State is 2-0 after a pair of tricky games in California against WCC schools, the second one a 77-69 win at Loyola Marymount.
- Kent State is in need of a bounce-back year, and the Golden Flashes got off to a solid start with a 69-61 road win at Youngstown State.
- Finally, Army won the All-Military Classic, defeating VMI 92-86 in the championship game. Kyle Wilson scored 44 points over two games (19 in the final) and was named tourney MVP.
- In case you missed it, Phil Kasiecki’s report from Boston College-New Hampshire Friday night, where the Wildcats continue to try to turn it around.
- Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith has a hairline fracture in his left (non-shooting) hand, suffered Friday night in the Gators’ season-opening win over William & Mary. His status for upcoming games, including Monday night against Miami (Fla.), is uncertain.
- Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas has been granted a waiver for this season and will be eligible for this season at Oklahoma. One day before the team’s season opener? Sorry, but the sooner all these waivers are gone, the better. Either eliminate the requirement to sit out one year, or enforce the rule consistently. Currently, there is zero consistency with the waivers.
- Outstanding story here from the Philadelphia Inquirer about Penn, where the Quakers have banded together to go without social media for the basketball season. Love it. Unfortunately for Penn, Delaware State spoiled its opener with a 77-75 win in overtime at The Palestra.
An unusually busy day, since so many teams began their seasons Friday and want to get in a second game in three days. Some highlights:
Boston University vs. Northeastern, Massachusetts vs. Boston College, Harvard vs. Holy Cross Coaches vs. Cancer tripleheader at the TD Garden in Boston. A terrific day of basketball, and three excellent matchups, too.
UT-Chattanooga at Wisconsin The Badgers should win this game of course. We’re curious to see UTC in year two under Will Wade, though, and also whether they can give the Badgers any problems with their tempo.
Lafayette at West Virginia The Leopards spanked Robert Morris by 27 on the road in their opener Friday, while the Mountaineers trailed Monmouth at home late before rallying.
Valparaiso at Missouri If Missouri-Kansas City can knock off the Tigers, it only makes sense that a likely better Crusader team can do it too.
Coastal Carolina at UCLA The Chanticleers are the favorite in the Big South this year with a very nice backcourt and also have a respectable front line. The Bruins are young but talented.