NEWS AND NOTES
-Pittsburgh got off to a slow start against Duke and was making all kinds of mistakes on the offensive end, but their defense was good and it prevented Duke from completely blowing them off the floor before the first half was even over. The halftime score was 34-22. Pitts defense remained strong, but Dukes defense was tough as well and every time it looked like Pitt was going to get back into the game, Duke would come up with a stop. After an intentional foul on Pitts Dejuan Blair
, Duke pushed their lead to 49-38 and once again appeared to stop a Pitt run. Instead, Pitt scored the next 12 points and grabbed a 50-49 lead, which was their first since leading 2-0. It was close the rest of the way with big plays being made on both sides. Duke had a shot to win it at the end of regulation, but couldnt convert. Levance Fields hit a three pointer for Pittsburgh in the final seconds of overtime, which gave the Panthers a huge 65-64 win. Duke actually had one more shot at winning, but couldnt convert.
Some bad news for Pitt is that Mike Cook suffered what looks to be a very bad knee injury late in the game. The severity of it is unknown, but he had to be taken off the floor and was on crutches after the game. I wish him the best, but it looked very nasty on television and I wouldnt be surprised if he ends up missing several games, if not the rest of the season. Dejuan Blair
had a monster game for the Panthers. He grabbed 20 rebounds and finished with 17 points. Fields, who hit the game winning shot, also had a good game and led all scorers with 21 points.
-Oklahoma edged out Gonzaga 72-68. The score was close throughout, but Gonzaga sputtered down the stretch and couldnt make the kinds of big plays that Oklahoma made. Jeremy Pargo
had an amazing game for the Zags and finished with 28 points, but it wasnt enough. It is a nice, quality win for Oklahoma that will really help out their NCAA Tournament resume. Matt Bouldin
and Josh Heytvelt
back in action for Gonzaga, which is actually good news for both teams because the committee will factor in that Oklahoma beat Gonzaga with Bouldin in the lineup. Having those two back in the lineup wasnt enough to help Gonzaga win, but a lot of credit must also be given to how well Oklahoma played. Once Bouldin and Heytvelt get a few games under their belts they should be able to contribute a lot more. Heytvelt played just 15 minutes and scored just five points, and Bouldin also had five points in 26 minutes.
-I know this is old news, but Duke Crews
of Tennessee will miss the rest of the season due to a heart condition. He will take a redshirt, and will hopefully be healthy to play next year either for Tennessee or in the NBA. The Vols still have a very good team, but Crews is a big time player and would have been able to contribute quite a bit this year.
-Baylor fell behind by 20 in the first half to South Carolina on Wednesday night. The Bears have played very well this year, but this was their first true road game, and seeing how this team has really struggled on the road in recent years I began to think that their record was more fools gold than anything else. I dont know what head coach Scott Drew told them when they were down by 20, but the Bears went on a 47-12 run after that to take a 71-56 lead, and South Carolina was never able to catch up. It was an incredible turn of events that still has my head spinning. Baylor freshman LaceDarius Dunn
was 6-8 from beyond the arc and finished with 24 points. Baylors next three games are against Southern, Prarie View A&M and Florida A&M. Those three teams have won a combined total of 4 div1 games, so Baylor should blow past all of them and be 10-1 when they face Arkansas in Dallas on January 5th.
-After talking about how well I thought Purdue had been playing and how much better I thought theyd be by the end of the year, the Boilermakers really went out and made me proud. They lost at home to Wofford 69-66. I know Purdue is very young, and young teams are generally inconsistent, but this is taking that generalization to the extreme. It was just Woffords second win against a div1 team this year, and they arent expected to be much of a factor in the Southern Conference. HIGHLIGHTED MATCH-UPS
-GEORGE MASON AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL. George Mason is good when they want to be, whereas Florida International is bad no matter what. George Mason should win this game despite the fact that theyre on the road. George Masons margin for error is not very big, and a loss in a game like this could turn out to be extremely crippling as far as making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large.
-DAVIDSON AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE. Davidson has played some pretty good basketball and hung in with teams such as North Carolina, Duke and UCLA, but dont have much to show for it. Those losses arent damaging, but its just that they dont have any notable wins yet. They really need to win this game on the road if they want to resuscitate their hopes of being in a position to get an at-large bid. NC State has been somewhat disappointing this season as well. Both of these teams have potential, but really havent played up to it yet which is what makes this such an important game. It could be a great win for either team, but it could also be a damaging loss.
-SAINT MARYS VS GEORGIA OR EAST TENNESSEE STATE (Rainbow Classic). At the time Im writing this, East Tennessee State has a 48-36 lead over Georgia, which would be a somewhat surprising upset. Georgia has only lost one game and although they havent played any true heavyweights, they did blow out Wake Forest and appeared to have the makings of a good team. This wont ruin their season, but it will keep them off the radar for a little longer. East Tennessee State looks to be one of the better teams in the Atlantic Sun. Weve already seen some A-Sun teams pull some upsets, and this would be yet another one. It would also give ETSU a shot at Saint Marys for the championship. It should be a good game either way tomorrow, with quite a bit at stake for both teams. Saint Marys would love to win this tournament because its on a neutral floor and it would be another impressive addition to their resume. BUY GAMES
-YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT AKRON. Akron should breeze past Youngstown and improve to an impressive 9-2 on the year.
-SOUTHERN UTAH AT BYU. This is a huge mismatch and BYU shouldnt have any trouble picking up their 10th win.
-COPPIN STATE AT MARQUETTE. This game isnt even close to being competitive. Marquette should win in a blowout.
-BAYLOR AT SOUTHERN (reverse Buy Game). Baylor won a wild one the other night. Tonights game shouldnt be all that wild, and the Bears should win in a blowout.