NCAA

Giant killers unite as Evansville tweets at UMBC after upsetting top-ranked Kentucky

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Giant killers unite as Evansville tweets at UMBC after upsetting top-ranked Kentucky

Evansville believes they are the new, 2019-20 version of the UMBC Retrievers following their monumental upset over the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. 

On Tuesday the Purple Aces shocked the near-unanimous No. 1 team in the country on their home floor, handing Kentucky their first loss of the season. It was only the fifth time since 2010 that the top team in the country has fallen on their home court to an unranked team.

Following the victory, Evansville basketball's Twitter account thought they had quickly joined the annals of NCAA basketball "Giant Killers." They tweeted at UMBC, the famous Cinderella story to be the first No. 16 seed to unseat a No. 1 seed in 2018 NCAA Tournament, the Spiderman meme linking the two together.

The always socially-savvy UMBC was quick to respond with an epic handshake to acknowledge the upset. 

Gotta love the support mid-major programs have for each other. Evansville isn't quite on the historic level of UMBC or garnered the fame of other famous Cinderella programs, but an incredible win for the program nevertheless. 

Based out of Evansville, Indiana, and the Missouri Valley Conference, the Aces have not made the NCAA Tournament since 1999. They weren't expected to end that 20-year drought this season either as they were picked eighth in the MVC.  Probably a good chance for many MVC voters to reconsider. 

Who would have thought that through two weeks of the college basketball season Evansville would hold the biggest victory so far? Now, it's just time for them to find that magic it in the NCAA Tournament. 

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Anthony Cowan single-handily snatches a Maryland victory away from Illinois

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Anthony Cowan single-handily snatches a Maryland victory away from Illinois

No one can put a team on his back better than Anthony Cowan Jr. can for the Maryland Terrapins. 

Down three with under a minute to go, there is no one else Maryland fans want with the ball in their hands more. 

Trailing Illinois in that exact scenario, Cowan pulled up for a 3-pointer from Northern Virginia. [The game was in College Park, Md.]

Tie game. That one would have been a three if it was on an NBA court. 

On the very next possession, Cowan then got the ball back. As the Fighting Illini (6-2, 0-1) went down the court, Cowan stepped in to force a double team. Andres Feliz lost his dribble and the Maryland senior was right there to pick up the loose ball.... and draw a foul with two seconds to go.

At the free-throw line, Cowan hit one, missed the second intentionally, and gave No. 3 Maryland (10-0, 1-0) a one-point win over Illinois. They erased a 14-point halftime deficit to win their first Big Ten contest of the year and stay undefeated.

Cowan finished with a game-high 20 points, with seven rebounds and six assists.

Throughout the season, this has been a repeated theme for the guard. Slow starts plague the Terps and then Cowan puts his foot on the throttle and takes over a game. Saturday's game was a whole different level for D.C. native.

As Dan Dakich said on the ESPN2 broadcast:

"All-American All-world, All-whatever you need him to be"

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Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

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Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Tre Jones was pleased that when No. 10 Duke fell behind early at Virginia Tech, the Blue Devils showed composure and gradually worked their way back.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski was glad he had Jones to lead the way.

“They follow his lead,” Krzyzewski said after Jones scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half as Duke rallied to beat the Hokies 77-63 Friday night.

On a team with many prominent freshman, the sophomore point guard said seeing his teammates respond in the right way was “huge for us tonight just like on Tuesday" when the Blue Devils won 87-75 at Michigan State. “Another big road game. A big crowd. In past years we've struggled here.”

Freshmen Vernon Carey Jr. and Wendell Moore Jr. added 12 points each for the Blue Devils (9-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had lost three in a row in Cassell Coliseum. They used runs of 12-2 just after halftime and 12-3 a short time later to take command after trailing for almost the entire first half.

“We played an outstanding 18 minutes in the second half,” Krzyzewski said, “although I'll say this: We played an outstanding 12 minutes in the first half to stay in the game.”

P.J. Horne scored 15 points to lead the Hokies (6-3, 1-1), who lost their third in a row and ended their three-game home winning streak against the Blue Devils. Wabisa Bede and Tyrece Radford added 12 points each.

The Hokies made 10 of their first 14 shots and led by 12 early, but Duke slowly climbed back. The early 12-2 run in the second half gave them their first lead, 50-47, since the opening minute. After Virginia Tech pulled even at 52 on Horne's 3-pointer with 11:10 remaining, the Blue Devils scored 12 of the next 15 points and gradually pulled away.

Jones had four in that latter burst, which ended with the Blue Devils ahead 62-55.

“Tre Jones is so disruptive. He's made great progress with his game offensively but he is a mean dude defensively,” Hokies first-year coach Mike Young said.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: The Blue Devils came in averaging seven 3-pointers and had three by the time Carey scored his first point (9:24 into the game) and six by halftime. Virginia Tech had 10 field goals before the game was 10 minutes old, and it took Duke 15 minutes to make 10 shots. Five of them were 3s, though, to keep the score close.

Virginia Tech: Landers Nolley II is the Hokies' leading scorer (20 ppg) and is second on the team in assists. He had three first-half assists, each time feeding a teammate for an easy lay-in when the defense came toward him. But Nolley had an otherwise pedestrian night, finishing with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and nine of their 14 turnovers. He also was called for a flagrant foul with the Hokies trailing 66-57 with 4:34 to play.

“I think they got up under his chin, and I didn't think he handled it very well,” Young said.

STREAK ENDS

Carey arrived on a streak of seven double-doubles but played just 15 minutes and grabbed only five rebounds as Duke went with a smaller lineup.

UP NEXT

The Blue Devils don't play again until Dec. 19 at home against Wofford.

The Hokies are at home against next Wednesday against Chattanooga.

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