While hustle is always appreciated and encouraged in basketball, increasingly there are times it gets out of control and safety becomes an issue.
Monday night’s Baylor-Texas game saw an ugly incident with just under two minutes left in overtime that saw a total of seven players ejected for leaving the bench. The players were reacting to a fight for a loose ball between Texas’s Isaiah Taylor and Baylor’s Royce O’Neale, in which O’Neale ended up on Taylor and the Longhorn guard reacted angrily and pushed him off.
Incredibly, no foul was called on a play where it was crystal clear that O’Neale dove on top of Taylor-not the ball. That it was a loose ball is inconsequential; it was a foul, and it was dangerous.
Once the dust settled and the seven players were ushered off the floor, the teams got back to playing. Baylor came back to tie the game but then flubbed the final minute, wasting an opportunity for a two-for-one, which gave the Longhorns the final shot. A five-second closely guarded call was missed and Texas eventually got the ball to Taylor, whose floater went in, and it stood up as Kenny Chery missed a runner at the buzzer.
Texas won the game 61-59, getting to 3-11 now against the RPI top 50. The Longhorns didn’t exactly impress with how they handled the end of overtime (the postgame stare down was not needed; not sure which team started it, but the winning team should just walk away regardless) and still have not done near enough to prove they’re anything more than a team that plays good teams close and occasionally can knock one off. There is still time to turn that around, but it’s going to take a run in the Big 12 Tournament.
- Virginia looked clumsy for the first 13 1/2 minutes against the Syracuse zone on Monday, scoring just two points over that time. Down 13-2 in the later stages of the first half, the Cavaliers then got it in gear, took the lead by halftime and cruised to a 59-47 win.
- Big Monday saw another big comeback, this one from Iowa State. The Cyclones looked dead, down 20 with 15 minutes left when Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins was called for a technical foul. ISU scored the next 22 points to take a 50-48 lead and went on to a 77-70 victory, a stunning turnaround. Not the first time this has happened to the Sooners this year; their loss to Creighton in November played out much the same way.
- Boston College got its second straight win, easily disposing of Virginia Tech. Phil Kasiecki also reports on the Eagles from this weekend’s big win over N.C. State.
- Texas Southern has clinched at least a tie for the SWAC title. The Tigers won at Alabama A&M 77-75, while Alabama State was upset by Prairie View A&M 67-65 at home.
- Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State are on track for a showdown for the Southland title on Saturday. SFA stayed one game ahead of the Bearkats by defeating Incarnate Word 83-62 while Sam Houston blew out Central Arkansas 76-49. Both have one game left before meeting in their regular season finale.
- North Carolina Central is one game away from a perfect 16-0 record in the MEAC after a 62-49 win at Savannah State.
- A number of conferences announced their postseason awards on Monday. A big winner was Jameel Warney of Stony Brook, who was both Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the America East. Also winning top player honors for the second straight year in his conference was Keifer Sykes of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who came out on top of a talented group of guards this year in the Horizon League.
- USC Upstate senior guard Ty Greene is the player of the year in the Atlantic Sun. Scoring machine Saah Nimley of Charleston Southern took the top individual honor in the Big South, edging the talented John Brown at High Point, while Lehigh’s Tim Kempton is the player of the year in the Patriot League.
- The MAAC announced its first and second team honors, but not its individual awards, which will be announced Friday.
- Conference tournament play is here, starting in the Atlantic Sun, Horizon League and Patriot League. Most notable are the four quarterfinal games in the A-Sun, with top seed North Florida hosting No. 8 Stetson in a rematch of their game Saturday and second seed Florida Gulf Coast hosting a No. 7 Jacksonville team it just lost to this past weekend. Also, Navy and Army meet in the first round of the Patriot tourney.
- West Virginia goes to Kansas (9 p.m. EST, ESPN2), with the Jayhawks looking to avenge a last-second loss to the Mountaineers in their first meeting.
- Kentucky tries to get to 30-0 when it is at Georgia (9 p.m. EST, ESPN). Also in the SEC, Mississippi is at Alabama and Texas A&M at Florida in tricky road games, but the type of games SEC “bubble” teams have been winning consistently this year.
- Georgetown goes to Butler (7 p.m. EST, FS1) in a battle for second in the Big East.
- Iowa travels to Indiana (7 p.m. EST, ESPN) in a game that will be a key win for somebody, especially the Hawkeyes if they can win away from home.
- Big game in the Atlantic 10, where Rhode Island is at Dayton (7 p.m. EST, CBSSN) in a battle between two of three league co-leaders.
- North Carolina State almost needs to win at Clemson, lest the Wolfpack give away every ounce of the goodwill generated from recent wins over Louisville and North Carolina.
- First place is on the line in both the MAC East and West divisions. Kent State is at Bowling Green in the East, while Central Michigan can break a tie and clinch the West if it can defeat Toledo at home.
Enjoy your Tuesday and the start of conference tournaments.