There was some noise in the first full Saturday of intra-conference college hoops play.
will resonate loudest.
Elsewhere:in its first SEC game of the season (to Alabama), Butler coach LaVall Jordan ripped his pants (!), Virginia throttled top-10 Florida State. Included in Saturday’s offerings is the final winless team getting its first dub of the season (congrats to Coppin State).
Saturday’s noteworthy scores
- No. 8 Michigan State 86, No. 14 Ohio State 77 — Recap
- Alabama 77, No. 13 Kentucky 75 — Recap
- No. 4 Virginia 65, No. 9 Florida State 52 — Recap
- No. 3 Tennessee 96, Georgia 50 — Recap
- Iowa State 77, No. 5 Kansas 60 — Recap
- No. 1 Duke 87, Clemson 68 | Recap
- New Mexico 85, No. 6 Nevada 58 — Recap
Duke blows out Clemson, Zion goes 360
Zion threw down dunks and contributed 25 points on 11 shots, RJ Barrett casually added 13 points and pulled down nine boards, and Duke won in blowout fashion over Clemson 87-68 to open up ACC play. Lather, rinse, repeat. Duke fans have seen plenty of this all season. How many NBA teams held private meetings tonight to discuss their tanking strategies after watching this?
If Duke plays like it did all season like it did against Clemson … look out. UVA looked incredible Saturday by beating top-10 Florida State with ease, and Duke did the same, albeit against lesser competition. It’s clear at the very early stages of league play that it’s Virginia and Duke in a tier of their own.
UCLA on two-game win streak post-Alford
The sample size is too small to tell if Steve Alford’s firing from UCLA will be an inflection point for one of the most talented teams in the Pac-12, but early returns are promising; the Bruins won Saturday 98-83 over Cal to extend their win streak to two following his ouster. Alford was fired on the coattails of a four-game losing skid that included home losses to Belmont and Liberty.
The wins are good, of course, but the way in which the Bruins are winning is, dare I say … exciting? They’ve pushed the pace under interim coach Murry Bartow, recording 82 possessions per 40 minutes in league play, according to ESPN’s John Gasaway. More importantly, perhaps, is the freedom Bruins players are being afforded to stretch their athletic wings. With a roster loaded with Jaylen Hands, Kris Wilkes and Prince Ali, pushing the pace and getting out in transition often fits their team’s strengths.
Tennessee destroys Georgia in SEC-opener
For Tennessee, it was an ideal open to SEC play. For Georgia, well, let’s just say it’s been a rough week to be a Bulldogs fan!
Only four days removed from getting ran in the Sugar Bowl by Texas, prompting the always reliable narrative that Texas, friends, is actually back, UGA laid an egg on the hardwood against the Vols. Its basketball team mustered only 50 points against No. 3 Tennessee, and surrendered … 96. It’s the biggest margin of victory in the 156-game history of the Vols-Bulldogs series.
Yes, it’s been a tough week all the way around for Georgia.
Iowa State beats shorthanded No. 5 Kansas
The Cyclones’ 77-60 victory is likely the biggest result of Saturday. Iowa State, which is in use of its full roster now, beat Kansas —(out with a wrist injury). It’s unlikely KU would have won even with Azubuike on the floor, though.
Iowa State is poised to pop into the polls on Monday thanks to this victory and a 12-2 record. The freshmen have been marvelous for Steve Prohm’s team this season. Talen Horton-Tucker has been on thefor a few weeks now — and Tyrese Haliburton (14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range) is suddenly making a move for our top 10. Kansas has been a bit up and down, but it’s still not operating with a full roster (Silvio De Sousa is still twisting in the wind, not to mention Azuibuike’s missed five games this season).
The outcome also marks just the third time in Bill Self’s tenure that the Jayhawks have opened 1-1 in Big 12 play.
As for ISU, get this: It’s 2-0 in Big 12 play but hasn’t started 3-0 in the league since 1999-00. It will do so if it can win on the road vs. Baylor on Tuesday.
Coppin State wins, is last team in college hoops this season to do so
There will be no winless teams in college basketball this season. The Coppin State Eagles, coached by former Maryland star Juan Dixon, won 73-67 over Savannah State on Saturday to improve to 1-15. The last time college basketball had a team go a season without winning a game was Grambling State in 2012-13.
Hofstra with an incredible buzzer-beating win
Justin-Wright Foreman notched his fifth 30-plus point game of the season Saturday in a 75-72 win over Northeastern, but got greedy and instead went for 40-plus. He finished with a career-high 42 in the winning effort, which may well have been a losing effort if not for his heroic 3-point runner that sunk through the net as time expired. Wright-Foreman is having an incredible senior season and has grown into one of the best mid-major players in the sport.
Summing up his performance, and more specifically his game-winner, Wright-Foreman said it was the “best play” of his career.
“This is probably the biggest play I’ve ever made in my life,” he added. “I don’t remember anything like that. I’m just relieved I got it done.”
No. 4 Virginia throttles No. 9 Florida State
We knew Virginia (13-0 and ranked fourth in the latest AP poll) was good. But we didn’t know — or at least many expected — the Cavaliers to run No. 9 Florida State off the floor Saturday. They were that good. The 65-52 final result does not tell the entire story, either.
After the two teams kept it within arms distance for much of the first half, Virginia went on a 17-4 run to close the half and take a 42-23 advantage. The Cavaliers would lead by as many as 29 in the second half before Florida State made things somewhat interesting, but it was too little too late for the Seminoles. The win improves UVa to an impressive 13-0 start on the season — its best since a 19-0 start in the 2014 campaign. It drops FSU to 12-2 on the season.
Ponds goes off again as St. John’s beats Hoyas in OT
If there was any doubt about Shamorie Ponds’s abilities — and believe me, there wasn’t — Saturday’s showcase silenced any critics. The St. John’s star went for 37 points to lead the Red Storm to a 97-94 overtime win over Georgetown on Saturday, marking the tenth time in his college career he’s surpassed the 30-point mark — and the fourth this season. It was a massive road win for the Johnnies.
Their soft nonconference schedule created some skepticism about their hot start, as did a 76-74 road loss to Seton Hall to open league play, but they are now 14-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big East. The Red Storm have now notched consecutive wins over Marquette and Georgetown with a game at Villanova on Tuesday up next.
Alabama upsets No. 13 Kentucky despite late Cats’ push
After winning three-straight — including wins over rival Louisville and a very good North Carolina team — the 13th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats stumbled in their SEC-opener on the road against Alabama, falling 77-75.
Alabama led for most of the second half and, in total, close to 26 minutes of game action. But the Tide let Kentucky wade into uncomfortable territory, with UK getting to within one point in the last five seconds. Bama eked it out in the end after a 3-point shot to win it from Tyler Herro fell straight, giving Bama a big conference-opening victory. It’s the third consecutive season under Avery Johnson Alabama has won its league-opener.
Short-handed Spartans storm back to knock off Ohio State
No. 8 Michigan State had just enough juice to pull off an 86-77 win over 14th-ranked Ohio State. The Spartans trailed 43-36 at the break and trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, but a late surge — led by steady-handed point guard Cassius Winston, who came alive down the stretch and finished with a team-high 25 points — allowed Michigan State to nab a nice road win without Joshua Langford, who missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury. The Spartans are now 4-0 in Big Ten play.
Butler’s LaVall Jordan coaches his butt off (literally)
In the midst of coaching Butler to a big-time win over Creighton 84-69, Bulldogs coach LaVall Jordan ripped his pants. Literally. Then Jordan stole a page out of Providence coach Ed Cooley’s playbook.
“Thank God for Ed Cooley for giving me a quick blueprint on what to do when you rip your drawers,” Jordan said, referencing an incident last season when Cooley did the same. “I coached my butt off. Literally.”