Late Night Snacks: No. 5 Wisconsin wraps up share of Big Ten title while Pitt, Stanford suffer damaging losses
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Ohio State 65, Purdue 61
The Boilermakers led by 12 points at the half, but Ohio State shot nearly 55 percent in the second half and ultimately won by four in Columbus. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 28 points and seven rebounds, and guards Shannon Scott and Kam Williams made some key free throws down the stretch with the freshman star on the bench with four fouls. A.J. Hammons led three Boilermakers in double figures with 16 points to go along with six rebounds and three blocks. Purdue is still in control of its own fate when it comes to wrapping up a double bye in the Big Ten tournament, but their cushion shrinks by a game as a result of this loss.
1. Wake Forest 69, Pittsburgh 66
For teams on the bubble, these final weeks before Selection Sunday are just as much about bad losses as they are quality wins. While Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons have come up short in multiple close games in ACC play, this was a loss Pittsburgh could not afford to suffer. The Panthers are 19-11 on the season, but they’ve won just two road games (2-8) and their best non-conference victory came against Kansas State. With games against Miami and Florida State left to be played before the ACC tournament, Jamie Dixon needs his team to rebound from Sunday’s disappointing defeat in short order.
2. No. 5 Wisconsin 68, Michigan State 61
Faced with an opponent that was looking to rebound from a disappointing overtime loss to Minnesota on Thursday, the Badgers led by as much as 22 as they wrapped up a share of the Big Ten title. On Senior Day, senior Frank Kaminsky led the way for the Badgers with 31 points and eight rebounds. Wisconsin shot 52 percent from the field, and on the other end they limited Denzel Valentine to ten points on 3-for-9 shooting.
3. UConn 81, No. 21 SMU 73
Kevin Ollie’s Huskies are in all likelihood going to need their conference’s automatic bid to return to the NCAA tournament, even with Sunday’s win over the Mustangs in Hartford. But with the Huskies hosting the conference tournament, getting Rodney Purvis (career-high 28 points) going is certainly a positive. The biggest beneficiary of this result: Tulsa (14-2), which now leads SMU (14-3) by a game in the loss column atop the American standings. The Golden Hurricane and Mustangs meet next weekend in Dallas, with the winner getting the top seed in the conference tournament.
1. Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky
Kaminsky added another quality game to his national Player of the Year resume, scoring 31 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the Badgers’ win over Michigan State.
2. Providence’s LaDontae Henton
Henton’s one of the candidates for Big East Player of the Year, and he didn’t disappoint in the Friars’ win over Marquette. Henton scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, corralling his 1,000th career rebound in the process.
3. UConn’s Rodney Purvis and Ryan Boatright
With Purvis scoring a career-high 28 points and Boatright adding 23, the Huskies were able to beat No. 21 SMU 81-73.
1. Michigan State’s Branden Dawson
Dawson finished with four points and two rebounds in the Spartans’ loss at Wisconsin. Tom Izzo needs more from his senior forward at this point in the season.
2. Fairfield’s Mike Kirkland Jr.
Averaging 8.4 points per game this season, Kirkland missed all seven of his shots and went scoreless in the Stags’ one-point loss at Niagara.
3. Stanford’s Chasson Randle
Randle scored 17 points and dished out six assists in the Cardinal’s 73-70 loss to Oregon, but he scored those points on 6-for-18 shooting and struggled down the stretch.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- LaDontae Henton scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as No. 25 Providence beat Marquette 77-66. Fellow Friar Kris Dunn added 16 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals.
- Saint Peter’s limited Iona to 31.6% shooting from the field, winning 68-60 in Jersey City and grabbing the seven-seed in next week’s MAAC tournament.
- Manhattan will be the three-seed in the MAAC tournament thanks to their 69-65 win over Quinnipiac. With the Jaspers and Iona on opposite sides of the bracket, the two rivals could meet in the MAAC title game for a third consecutive year.
- California went on a 24-2 second half run to turn an eight-point deficit into a 14-point lead as they beat Oregon State 73-56 in Berkeley.
- Oregon completed its first sweep of the Bay Area road swing since 1976 with a 73-70 win over Stanford. The Ducks also locked up a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament. As for the Cardinal, they’re headed in the wrong direction with a trip to the Arizona schools remaining on the schedule.
- Norman Powell scored a career-high 28 points to lead UCLA to a 72-67 home win over Washington State. The Bruins close out the regular season Wednesday night against rival USC.