Sunday, December 18, 2011

Notable Results From Saturday, December 17

Syracuse 88, North Carolina State 72
Just a few hours after I had tepidly endorsed Ohio State as the best team in America, the top-ranked Orange made me reconsider that position by ripping off a 23-0 run in Raleigh near the end of the first half. The Wolfpack climbed all the way back into it a the start of the second, but Syracuse won going away. Jim Boeheim's club has a half-dozen guys who can create their own shot, plenty of three-point shooting, and their famous 2-3 zone seems to be creating more turnovers than usual. Scratch what I said earlier -- these guys are my pick.

Butler 67, Purdue 65
Andrew Smith's tip-in with one second left capped a big second-half rally for the Bulldogs, who had struggled with a difficult schedule in the early part of the season. The Boilers went ice-cold from the floor and the free throw line in the second half in blowing their second big second-half lead of the season (they lost to Xavier earlier in the year.)

Baylor 86, BYU 83
Perry Jones III shook off a bruised knee to provide the game-icing putback, the final two of his career-high 28 points. The sixth-ranked Bears trailed by double-digits before pulling out this road win.

Florida 84, Texas A&M 64
The Gators scored 18 of the first 20 points and never looked back, leading by 25 at halftime. Even with Khris Middleton back, the Aggies look no better than the fourth-best team in the Big XII.

Gonzaga 71, Arizona 60
The Bulldogs jumped all over the Wildcats in Seattle, then withstood a late charge. Elias Harris led the Zags with 25.

Louisville 95, Memphis 87
I wish I could have seen this one, but I had Gonzaga-Arizona instead (and ended up watching the Indiana-Notre Dame snoozefest). All seven Cardinals who scored hit double figures, led by Russ Smith's 25. Will Barton led Memphis with 28 points and 16 boards. I suspect that the Tigers, who have been up and down in the early-going, won't be too upset with this performance on the road.

UNLV 64, Illinois 48
The Rebels, who upset then-No. 1 North Carolina with a barrage of three-point shooting, took a different path to victory on Saturday in Chicago, holding the Illini to 25.4 percent shooting and forcing 16 turnovers. Sophomore forward Mike Moser posted his seventh double-double of the year -- he's failed to reach double-figures in rebounds just three times in 13 games this season. Illinois, which jumped into the top 25 by virtue of a win over Gonzaga two weeks ago, lost for the first time this year.

Indiana State 61, Vanderbilt 55
The Sycamores pulled off the day's biggest upset, going on the road to win at Vandy. Now at full strength, this is a disappointing loss for the 6-4 Commodores, who I expected to challenge for the SEC crown.

Georgetown 81, American 55
The Eagles stuck with the Hoyas for a half, which seems to happen every time they play Georgetown.

Iona 73, Vermont 72
UVM scored the first 11 points of the game, but Iona came back behind Michael Glover and Momo Jones. Prior to the tip, UVM retired #45 in honor of Trevor Gaines, a former standout who died in the summer of 2010 while playing a pick-up game in Las Vegas.

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