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Friday’s Shootaround: UConn wins, West Virginia knocks off K-State in a thriller


Mike Miller

No. 9 UConn 67, No. 24 Harvard 53: See here.

West Virginia 85, Kansas State 80 2OT: It only made sense that, in a game pitting similar coaches with similar teams and similar players playing similar styles, we would end up going to double overtime.

In one of the most exciting and intense games we’ve seen this season, the Mountaineers got 30 points and 12 boards from Kevin Jones and 24 points out of Truck Bryant as West Virginia outlasted Kansas State. Rodney McGruder had 20 to lead the Wildcats, while Thomas Gibson added 15 points and 10 boards.

There are a couple of things to take out of this game:

- Kevin Jones is playing like the Kevin Jones we all thought we were going to get a glimpse of last season. He’s averaging 19.8 ppg and 11.7 rpg, and while he’s only shooting 22.2% from three on the season, Jones went 2-3 against K-State and hit a tough, contested three at the end of regulation to force overtime.

- West Virginia may have one this game, but I have serious questions about their decision-making. Deniz Kilicli is a talented young man with quite a bit of size and strength, but he has the basketball IQ of, well, a basketball. Truck Bryant played very well for much of the game, but he took a number of dumb shots in crunch time. Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne combined for 10 turnovers.

- Thomas Gibson is going to be a very good player by the end of his career. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got great hands and he can finish around the bucket.

- Gibson’s play this season has helped hide the fact that Jamar Samuels and Jordan Henriquez had struggled. Combined, they had 11 points and five boards in 41 minutes. Those two -- along with Gibson -- have played well thus far this season, but they battled foul trouble against the ‘Eers.

Detroit 91, Western Michigan 82: Eli Holman made his return to the Detroit lineup, and instantly made everyone realize why they had put the Titans at the top of the Horizon League back in the preseason. Holman had 21 points, seven boards and four blocks as Detroit jumped out to a 61-39 lead at the break. WMU had a run in them, but it was too little too late.

Notre Dame 87, Maine 78: Eric Atkins had 26 points and Jack Cooley went for 22 points and 14 boards as he returned to the lineup for the Irish.

Oklahoma 73, Oral Roberts 59: This may not be something that Oklahoma fans want to hear, but this is a good win for their program right now. ORU is a quality mid-major team that is going to win a lot of basketball games this season. The Sooners beat them pretty soundly, improving to 6-1 on the season. Lon Kruger can coach.

Other notable scores:

- Providence 64, Boston College 57
- Cleveland State 62, Robert Morris 58

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.