LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Denzel Valentine, the nation’s best player?
GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67
The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: 32 points, nine boards, six assists
No. 3 Michigan State beat Boise State 77-67 in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy out in California, but the result of that game is less important than the result of Valentine’s night. A night after notching his second triple-double of the season, Valentine took over another way on Friday, hitting five straight threes in the span of about five minutes to put the Spartans up double-figures in a game they were struggling to take control of.
In three games against high-major competition, Valentine is now averaging 30.0 points, 10.7 boards and 9.3 assists. He has been, unequivocally, the best player in college basketball this season.
Providence 69, No. 11 Arizona 65: Kris Dunn. Holy Buckets.
No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.
Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.
No. 17 Notre Dame 68, Iowa 62: The Fighting Irish blew a 15-point second half lead, but the comeback gassed the Hawkeyes, as Notre Dame was able to pull away down the stretch. V.J. Beachem led the way with 16 points.
Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.
Cat Barber, N.C. State: Barber notched a career-high 37 points to go along with eight assists as the Wolfpack fought off a scrappy Winthrop team, 87-79. He wasn’t the best scorer on the floor, though ...
Jimmy Gavin, Winthrop: Gavin finished with 38 points. Off the bench. The most incredible part? He was 5-foot-4, 90 pounds as a sophomore due to Crohn’s Disease.
Terry Allen, Richmond: Allen scored 34 points and added 13 boards as the Spiders knocked off No. 14 Cal, 94-90, out in Las Vegas.
John Egbunu, Florida: Egbunu finished with 17 points, 11 boards and four blocks as the Gators knocked off FGCU, 70-50. Dorian Finney-Smith added 23 points for Florida.
Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.
Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.
Cal: Cal lost 94-90 to Richmond to fall to 0-2 in the Las Vegas Invitational. In their last three halves of basketball, the Golden Bears have given up 138 points.
San Diego State: West Virginia won the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday, holding the Aztecs to 34.2 percent shooting and 21 turnovers.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
- Jameel McKay scored 23 points to lead five players in double-figures as No. 4 Iowa State advanced to the Emerald Coast Classic final with a 99-77 victory over Virginia Tech.
- Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
- No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.
- Troy Caupain had 17 points and Octavious Ellis added 12 points and nine boards (seven offensive) as No. 24 Cincinnati outlasted Nebraska, 65-61, at the Barclays Center.
OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS
- Scoochie Smith had 19 points as Dayton avoided blowing a 16-point lead to Monmouth with a 73-70 win in the Advocare Invitational. Dayton advances to face Xavier on Sunday.
- Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.
- Tyler Cavanaugh and Kevin Larsen combined for 33 points and 19 boards as George Washington advanced to face No. 24 Cincinnati in the finals of the Barclays Center Classic with a win over Tennessee.
- Andrew Andrews finished with 30 points, 13 boards and five assists as they avoided an 0-3 trip in the Battle 4 Atlantis with a win over Charlotte.
- Taurean Waller-Prince had 25 points to lead Baylor to a win over Arkansas State.
- Joey King’s 18 points paced five players in double-figures for Minnesota as they knocked off Omaha, 93-90.
- Caris LeVert had 19 points and Derrick Walton added 13 points and seven assists as the Wolverines beat Texas in the fifth-place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
- Ohio State is under .500 for the first time since Thad Matta became their head coach after losing their third straight game on Friday. The Buckeyes fell in overtime to Memphis, who was led by 23 points from Shaq Goodwin.