Wednesday’s Things to Know: Grant Williams leads No. 1 Tennessee to OT win; No. 25 LSU, Purdue earn solid wins
Wednesday didn’t have a lot of major college basketball action, but we still saw a historic performance from a Player of the Year candidate while the No. 1 team nearly lost in overtime. The SEC’s other unbeaten team was also in action while the Big Ten saw a road win with some implications for later this week.
Here are three things to know.
Grant Williams’ huge game saves No. 1 Tennessee from upset of Vanderbilt
The story of Wednesday night in college basketball is undoubtedly Tennessee junior forward Grant Williams. The junior forward and reigning SEC Player of the Year had his signature performance of the season with 43 points and a jaw-dropping 23-for-23 from the free-throw line to lead the Volunteers to an overtime win over in-state rival Vanderbilt.
Getting the basketball world buzzing, Williams dominated the game down the stretch as he willed Tennessee back into a game in which Vanderbilt was hitting a lot of timely shots.
The No. 1 team in the country will stay that way for at least another game thanks to one of the best individual performances we’ll see in college hoops this season. Williams might have just firmly put his name on the national map for the rest of the season as his star power continues to grow.
No. 25 LSU stays unbeaten in SEC with win over Georgia
The SEC’s other unbeaten team, LSU, also stayed that way on Wednesday night as the Tigers put together a solid home win over Georgia.
Sophomore guard Tremont Waters put together a season-high 26 points, four assists, four steals and no turnovers to lead a balanced LSU offensive attack that saw four players in double-figures.
Tennessee, Kentucky and Auburn received a lot of the early-season attention from the SEC, but the Tigers have quietly put together an eight-game winning streak while remaining undefeated in the SEC.
A talented young team with a very good point guard and talented weapons around him, LSU has a manageable schedule for the rest of January before things start to get more difficult during February. We’ll see if the Tigers can keep the winning streak going before facing a big pack of the league’s better teams in a row.
Purdue puts together quality road win at Ohio State
In the country’s deepest conference, Purdue earned a very good road win in Columbus on Wednesday night. Winners of four consecutive games and seven of their last eight, the Boilermakers are playing some of their best basketball of the season recently in the Big Ten. Carsen Edwards went for 27 points and the Boilermakers fouled out Kaleb Wesson on a night in which they led most of the time.
At 6-2 in league play, Purdue is a half game behind third-place Maryland -- a team the Boilermakers already beat earlier this season. With conference losses only to leaders Michigan State and Michigan, Purdue is also taking care of the other teams in the league while creating some potential separation for a lead pack.
A game against Michigan State looms later this week and that should really give us a clear picture of where things stand in the conference pecking order. Home games on national television like Purdue has with this game against the Spartans are a huge chance to make a move.