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Saturday Notes – January 14, 2017

January 15, 2017 Columns No Comments

If there’s one thing to take away from Saturday, it’s that we have a lot of very competitive races out there. We also have one race, the ACC, look more than a little different than most probably expected, a reminder that it’s still very early yet.

Notre Dame leads the ACC, while North Carolina and Florida State are tied right behind them and Duke is now below .500. There are plenty of teams in the mix as well at this early stage.

Meanwhile, what might have looked like the best matchup of the day was good for a half. Another very underrated matchup in Normal, Illinois was good for a bit longer before the home team pulled away.

With that, here are notes from a number of the day’s games.

Baylor 77, Kansas State 68: A good bounceback by the Bears after getting throttled at West Virginia.

Kansas 87, Oklahoma State 80: The Cowboys battled, but at the end of the day they’re 0-5 in Big 12 play while Kansas is 5-0.

West Virginia 74, Texas 72: The Longhorns are having a tough year, and having to suspend Tevin Mack for the second time isn’t helping. Now they have a chance for a big win that might spark them, but can’t pull it off. It’s beginning to look like a lost season in Austin.

TCU 84, Iowa State 77: Here is some progress: TCU is 3-2 in the Big 12 after a big game from Vladimir Brodziansky (25 points, 14 rebounds) to lead the way.

Gonzaga 79, Saint Mary’s 56: This looked like the best game to watch, but the Zags blew this one open in the second half and won going away after trailing early in the game. Round two in Moraga may be the last serious chance for a team to beat them before the WCC Tournament, or even the NCAA.

UCLA 83, Utah 82: A great game in Salt Lake City that sums up the Utes thus far – good, but not quite good enough.

Oregon 85, Oregon State 43: This was never a ballgame, and it remains a tough year for the Beavers, from whom a lot was expected before injuries intervened.

Notre Dame 76, Virginia Tech 71: The Fighting Irish pull out another one, with Steve Vasturia again coming through in the clutch to improve them to 5-0 in ACC play.

North Carolina 96, Florida State 83: The home team takes this showdown, and the Tar Heels end the Seminoles’ school-record 12-game winning streak. Once again, Joel Berry II is the difference-maker as he scores a game-high 26 points.

Louisville 78, Duke 69: Did you have Duke being below .500 in ACC play at any point in the season? I didn’t think so. This is the second time (they lost their opener), as they are now 2-3.

Virginia 77, Clemson 73: A good road win for the Cavaliers against a Clemson team that has lost a few close ones in their 1-4 start.

Miami 72, Pittsburgh 46: Jim Larranaga picks up his 600th career win in a shocker in the sense that this was a blowout in a building where the Panthers don’t lose very often.

Maryland 62, Illinois 56: The Terrapins quietly move to 4-1 in Big Ten play as they pull another one out, this one on the road.

Penn State 52, Minnesota 50: Quiet as it’s kept, the Nittany Lions are 3-2 in Big Ten play after pulling out this home win, which knocks the Golden Gophers back to 3-3.

Florida 80, Georgia 76 (OT): The Gators survive and stay with Kentucky as both are 5-0 in SEC play.

Mississippi State 67, Texas A&M 59: Maybe I have to re-think taking last week’s win at LSU by the Bulldogs as a sign that the bottom is falling out at LSU. It may be that Ben Howland’s team is really improving, although the Aggies are now 1-4 in SEC play and having a rough go of it.

Alabama 81, LSU 66: Then again, the bottom appears to be falling out in Baton Rouge after all, as the Tigers drop another at home by double digits.

Georgetown 72, UConn 69: In a matchup of struggling former Big East rivals, the Hoyas take it and hope it can get them going as they resume Big East play.

Illinois State 76, Wichita State 62: The battle of teams who were undefeated in Missouri Valley play goes to the homestanding Redbirds, who did a great job of withstanding rallies by the Shockers.

Richmond 70, Saint Joseph’s 66: The Spiders go on the road and remain perfect in Atlantic 10 play at 5-0, led by another fine effort from T.J. Cline (15 points, 10 rebounds).

Davidson 69, VCU 63: Combine this with the prior result, and Richmond is also alone atop the Atlantic 10 after the Wildcats hand the Rams their first conference loss.

Fresno State 89, Boise State 80: The Bulldogs hand the Broncos their first Mountain West loss and drop them into a tie with Nevada, who won at Wyoming.

Troy 93, UT Arlington 71: Wesley Person, son of the former NBA player, hit ten three-pointers en route to 39 points to lead the way in this surprise blowout.

Georgia Southern 81, UL Lafayette 76: With Ike Smith (28 points) leading a big second half rally on the road, the Eagles are 4-0 in Sun Belt play. It’s the first time in 25 years they have won their first four conference games.

Towson 74, Northeastern 67: The Huskies’ eight-game winning streak ends in Towson, and this leaves UNCW and College of Charleston as the lone unbeatens in CAA play ay 6-0 heading into Thursday night’s showdown in Charleston.

James Madison 60, Elon 59: One of the best stat lines of the day came from JMU’s Johanny Dalembert, who had 15 points and 17 rebounds to help the Dukes eke out this win and go to 4-2 in CAA play.

Lehigh 68, Holy Cross 51: Tim Kempton continues to have a monster year as he attempts to win a third straight Patriot League Player of the Year. His line in this one: 23 points and 17 rebounds as the Mountain Hawks out-rebounded the Crusaders 40-20.

Canisius 91, Marist 58: The Golden Griffins might be the hottest team in the MAAC as they have won nine of ten, and they have been lighting up the scoreboard along the way.

Sacred Heart 112, Bryant 110 (3 OT): This game naturally got overshadowed by many others on the day, but it was one of the best. Quincy McKnight scored 44 points for Sacred Heart in the win, the first triple overtime game in Bryant’s Division I history and the first in the NEC since 2010.

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