Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday's Shootaround: Manny Harris, Minnesota, and Portland all shine while Oklahoma's struggles continue

Old Spice Classic

  • Michigan 83, Creighton 76 OT: Manny Harris looks like he may give Evan Turner a run for his money as the most versatile players in the Big Ten. Harris went for 20 points, 11 assists, and 9 boards as he finished one rebound shy of his second triple-double of the season. This also happened to be the most exciting game of the day. A clash of styles (Creighton pressed all over the court, while Michigan played their typical 1-3-1 zone while spreading the floor offensively), a Stu Douglass three put Michigan ahead 67-65 with 1:30 left in the game. After trading free throws, the Wolverines found themselves up 69-67 with 5.7 seconds left before pg Antoine Young went coast-to-coast for a lay-up to force OT.

    Manny Harris nearly had a triple double to lead Michigan.
    (photo credit: SBNation)

    In OT, Harris took over. He had a three point play and a big dunk to help Michigan open up a 76-73 lead, and after a Wolverine stop, he found Zak Novak for a three to ice it. Creighton was very impressive, however. They are much more athletic than I thought they would be, and they pressed the Wolverines all over the court. Justin Carter had a career-high 21 in his first game back from a knee injury.
  • Marquette 71, Xavier 61: Buzz Williams sure does have his kids believing they can play. The Golden Eagles of Marquette used an 11-0 run late in the second half to open a 64-55 lead as they held off Xavier in the OSC's first round. Lazar Hayward had 27 points for Marquette, including two threes in the decisive run, while Jimmy Butler added 15. Jason Love played great for Xavier, recording 21 points, 19 boards, and 5 blocks, as he made it obvious that Marquette is still suffering from a lack of size. Jordan Crawford, the kid who dunked on LeBron, looked out of shape and out of sync as he huffed and puffed his was to a 3-18 shooting night.
  • Alabama 79, Baylor 76: JaMychal Green had 22 points while Mikhail Torrance added 20 and Senario Hillman 15 as the Crimson Tide got a win for Anthony Grant in his first game on national TV. The Tide looked impressive as they were able to handle a big, athletic Baylor team, opening a 10 point second half lead before some hot bears shooting made it more respectable. I was really impressed with Grant in one instance late in the second half, when he took the blame (the national TV audience could see and hear him say it) for a mistake on an in-bounds play.
  • Florida State 54, Iona 49: Florida State, a much bigger and more athletic team, could not pull away from the gritty Gaels as Iona fought tooth and nail to keep this thing close. Everytime it looked like FSU was going to break this thing open, Iona would make a spurt to keep tie the game up or take the lead back. FSU opened the second half with a 10-0 run to push the lead to 35-24, but Iona came all the way back. After a 6-0 spurt to make it 45-39, the Gaels scored eight of the next ten points to tie it agai. Eventually, the Noles used a late 6-0 run to break a 47-all tie and close this game out. Derwin Kitchen had 16 to lead FSU, who have looked far from the team that some were predicting could make noise in the ACC.
76 Classic
  • West Virginia 85, Long Beach State 62: Devin Ebanks dressed, but he never took the court as the Mountaineers jumped on the 49ers. Casey Mitchell hit three early threes as WVU opened up a 20-9 lead in the first 10 minutes. Mitchell finished with a career-high 18 points and Johnnie West added his over career-high of 11 as WVU his 12-24 from deep.
  • Texas A&M 69, Clemson 60: The Tigers came out of the gates playing well, especially on the defensive end, as they were up 7-1 six minutes into the game. But all of a sudden Texas A&M woke up on both ends of the floor, as they used 12-1 and 15-2 runs during the first half to take a 33-20 lead into the break. The Tigers made a push in the second half, getting the lead down to 58-56, but the Aggies responded with a free throw and a BJ Holmes three to take push the lead back to six. Holmes led the Aggies with 20 points off the bench while reserve David Loubeau added 12 points and 9 boards. Trevor Booker scored 12 of his 18 points after the break, but the Tigers, who came into this game shooting 45.5% from three, shot just 34% from the floor and 3-18 from three.
  • Minnesota 82, Butler 73: In the most highly anticipated game of the day, the Gophers played phenomenal defensively, holding Butler to just 33% shooting from the field and 21 turnovers. But still, in a testament to how good this Butler team in, the Bulldogs had a dog in this fight until Matt Howard, who scored 23 points, picked up his fourth foul with 14 minutes left and Butler down 39-38. Minnesota immediately responded with an 8-1 run, and Butler never got within four the rest of the way. Look, Minnesota is a good team, and more than anything Butler seemed to just have an off night. Those happen.

    Minnesota played very well defensively against Butler.
    (photo credit: AP)

    But if you are going to take anything out of this game, think about how good Minnesota truly is. Three starters went to the bench during the first half with foul trouble, but Minnesota didn't miss a beat as they put three reserves in double figures. The hero in the first half was Colton Iverson, who was everywhere, posting a first half double-double and providing Minnesota with a spark that they seemed to be lacking. Down the stretch, as Butler was trying to make a comeback, the heroes were Blake Hoffarber and Devoe Joseph, who both his two threes in the last five or six minutes of the game to help ice it. Damian Johnson led the Gophers with 18 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Shelvin Mack had 20 for Butler, but 7 turnovers, who Gordon Hayward had 13 and 10 boards, but was just 3-8 from the field with 6 turnovers.
  • Portland 74, UCLA 47: This one was ugly. Portland never trailed, was up 36-19 at the half, and was 11-19 from deep. For more, read what I wrote here already.
Houston 100, Oklahoma 93: Kelvin Lewis had 28 points and Aubrey Coleman added 27 points and 11 boards as the Cougars used a late 19-4 run to put away Oklahoma. The Sooners, frankly, are terrible right now. They don't play any defense and are selfish offensively. Willie Warren had 25 points and 7 assists, but is he really enough of a leader to make a difference for this team?

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