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Thursday’s Shootaround: SDSU survives, Southern Miss takes control of CUSA

Deshawn Stephens

San Diego State’s Deshawn Stephens dunks over Boise State defenders during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)


No. 14 Georgetown 58, UConn 44: See here.

No. 12 San Diego State 58, Boise State 56: On Saturday afternoon, San Diego State was drilled by Colorado State, losing by 17 in a game that was never much in doubt after the first 10 minutes. On Wednesday, the Aztecs did everything they could to try and earn their second straight upset loss. They shot just 31.3% from the floor. They went just 3-19 from three. They got behind by as much as 12 points in the second half. And after using a 22-3 run to take a seven point lead with six minutes left, the Aztecs nearly blew it. On the game’s final possession, Boise State, who was only down two after Chase Tapley missed a free throw, somehow managed to find a wide-open Thomas Bropleh, but his three was off the mark.

That’s called escaping.

There are a couple of things to take out of this game. For starters, this is the second time that Boise has given a league favorite a run for their money; they took UNLV to overtime earlier this season. And while their record in league play may not be all that pretty (0-6 rarely is), this is a young group that is still learning to play at the collegiate level. I’d put money on the Broncos pulling off a couple of upsets before the season is over and really making a name for themselves next year.

The mark of a good team is that they are able to win games when they don’t play their best basketball, and if this game showed us anything, its that SDSU is apparently a good team. They do, however, need to get this slump figured out. Steve Fisher’s team is guard-oriented this season, which means that there are going to be some games where the Aztecs cannot buy a jumpshot. They cannot, however, allow one bad game to beget another.

No. 13 UNLV 82, Colorado State 63: Perhaps the only people rooting for Bropleh’s game-winner to drop more than Boise State fans were UNLV fans. Had the Broncos knocked off the Aztecs, than UNLV’s 19 point win over Colorado State would have moved the Rebels into first place in the MWC. Anthony Marshall and Oscar Bellfield combined to go for 29 points, 13 assists and just four turnovers as UNLV shot 50% from the floor and hit nine threes in a game that was never really in doubt.

This loss adds more credence to the notion that UNLV is the best team in the conference, not SDSU. The Aztecs lost to Colorado State by 17. UNLV beat them by 19. That’s a big difference, although neither team was as impressive as New Mexico in their 33 point win over the Rams. Maybe Colorado State is simply team schizophrenia.

No. 6 Baylor 63, Texas A&M 60: Pierre Jackson is a bit of a polarizing figure in college basketball circles. Some love him as a player, others simply love his athletic ability and some believe he is going to eventually be the downfall of Baylor’s team this season. All are fair perspectives. Jackson is a ridiculous athlete with the ability to do some incredible things on a basketball court, but there are times where he buys into his own hype too much. When he plays as Pierre Jackson, he’s great. When he tries to be Steve Francis, he struggles. Its that simple.

But the one thing that no one can disagree with is his ability in the clutch. He’s proven time and time again that he’s a player that can be trusted with the ball in his hands at the end of a game. On Wednesday, he hit a three with 17 seconds left to put Baylor up 61-60 and followed that up with two free throws after Elston Turner missed a tough fadeaway jumper. (Jump to the 2:45 mark):

Its the fourth time this season that Jackson has made a play in the final minute that has won a game or forced overtime. Against BYU, his block of a Brandon Davies’ three saved the game. Against West Virginia, he forced OT with a three. And in a win over Mississippi State, he scored the game-winning bucket on a driving layup in the final minute.

No. 22 Michigan 68, No. 20 Indiana 56: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Indiana lost on the road to a quality opponent. This game was eerily similar to the loss the Hoosiers had at Michigan State earlier in the season. The Wolverines jumped out to a 13-0 lead and led by as much as 20 in the first half, but the Hoosiers came storming back. They got within two points late in the second half, but Stu Douglass and Tim Hardaway, Jr., hit back-to-back threes to push the lead back up to eight points. The win moved Michigan into a tie with Wisconsin for second place in the league, one game behind Ohio State in the loss column and one game ahead of Michigan State in the win column. Trey Burke led the way with 18 points, four boards and four assists.

Southern Miss 75, Memphis 72: In one of the best games of the night -- a game that didn’t actually get on the air until midway through the first half thanks to a high school football all-star game -- Southern Miss won their 16th game in the last 17 outings, taking over sole possession of first place in the Conference USA standings. Darnell Dodson had 23 points and Neil Watson added 17 as USM did everything they could down the stretch to give the game back to Memphis. Chris Crawford missed a decent look at a three as time expired, however, the first time Southern Miss has beaten the Tigers in 18 tries. Its worth noting that, when USM lost to Memphis, it was because the Golden Eagles missed a three at the buzzer to win it. Can we get a grudge match?

Texas-Arlington 67, Texas-San Antonio 66: LaMarcus Reed scored 24 points as UTA christened their new arena with a win that moved them into sole possession of first place in the Southland.

The Atlantic 10: The conference just gets weirder and weirder. So here’s what happened last night: Xavier won a tight game against George Washington; UMass lost in overtime to Rhode Island; St. Joe’s beat Richmond on the road; Temple and La Salle beat Fordham and Charlotte, respectively, at home; Dayton lost their third game in a row to Duquesne at home; and St. Bonaventure blew out St. Louis.


What’s that mean?

La Salle (?!) is currently sitting all alone in first place in the league at 6-2. Temple, at 5-2, and Xavier, at 6-3, are both a half game back. St. Louis, UMass and St. Bonaventure are all 5-3 while Dayton, Duquesne and St. Joe’s are all 4-4. Got it? Good. There will be a quiz on Friday.

The CAA: Quite obviously, the big news in the Colonial is that George Mason, who had been holding on to first place in the conference, lost at Delaware on Wednesday night. With Drexel and VCU both winning, it now means there is a three-way tie for first place in the league, with Old Dominion sitting just a game back in the win column.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 8 Kansas 84, Oklahoma 62: Thomas Robinson has 20 points, 17 boards, four assists, two blocks and two steals while Tyshawn Taylor added 21 points and six assists in a Jayhawk win.

No. 12 Creighton 102, Illinois State 74: The Bluejays got 25 points from Doug McDermott as they stayed a game in front of Wichita State in the MVC standings. The Shockers beat Missouri State 74-67 on the road.

No. 24 Florida State 68, Georgia Tech 54: Michael Snaer scored 21 points and the Seminoles bounced back from a halftime deficit to knock off the Yellow Jackets.

Other notable scores:

- Davidson 71, Furman 53
- Akron 86, Toledo 72
- Marshall 63, Tulane 44
- Stony Brook 82, Binghamton 48
- NC State 56, Boston College 51
- Miami 90, Maryland 86 2OT
- Ohio 67, Northern Illinois 58

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