Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's Shootaround: Purdue wins and clinches the Big Ten title for Michigan State, and you're now officially invited to the Courtney Fortson show

Purdue 60, Wisconsin 57: This one was the slow-paced defensefest we've come to expect from big time Big Ten matchups. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a great game, and in fact it was much more aesthetically pleasing than usual. Both teams struggled in the first half finding a rhythm before Wisconsin opened with a run to start the second half, opening a 38-31 lead before Purdue responded. The Boilermakers would outscore the Badgers 17-2 over the next six minutes, taking a seemingly commanding 48-40 lead with seven minutes left.

But Wisconsin wasn't out of it, Keaon Nankivil did his best to shoot the Badgers back in it. He was 7-8 from three, 4-4 in the second half, and finished with 25 points. Three of those threes came in the last five minutes, as Wisconsin went on a 15-6 spurt to take a 57-56 lead with just 43 seconds left. A Nankivil three gave Wisconsin the lead. But at the other end, E'Twaun Moore, who finished with 20 points, hit a tough runner in the lane. Wisconsin was not able to score again, and two Purdue free throws gave us our final score.

E'Twuan Moore, after scoring the game-winner last night.
(photo credit: TSN)

Trevon Hughes struggled throughout most of this game. He was just 3-11 from the floor, finishing with 9 points. Back court mate Jordan Taylor did finish with 13 points, but he was only 4-12 from the floor and took a number of rush shots. In fact, outside of Nankivil, its tough to say anyone on the Wisconsin roster really played all that well. Wisconsin shot 40% from the floor, but Nankivil was 9-14, while the rest of his team went 11-36.

The Boilermakers, on the other hand, looked very good defensively (except for, you know, defending Nankivil on pick-and-pops). They closed down penetration and gave Wisconsin's back court fits. If Nankivil hadn't gone crazy, this would have been a sterling defensive performance. One other interesting note: JaJuan Johnson didn't start this game because he was late. Keaton Grant hasn't started since the Illinois game, allowing freshman Kelsey Barlow to start. Chris Kramer didn't start against Illinois, but has since earned his spot back. With all that turmoil, guess who was on the floor at the end of this game - Johnson, Grant, and Kramer.

Robbie Hummel finished with 12 points, 13 boards, and 5 assists, while JaJuan Johnson chipped in with 14 points.

Arkansas 67, Mississippi State 62: There may not be a player in the country more difficult to stay in front of than Courtney Fortson. The little lefty for Arkansas rolled his ankle pretty good in the first half last night, but absolutely dominated the second half. He scored 33 of his 35 points after the break, tying Mississippi State's team total, as he sliced his way to the rim over and over again. (The most memorable play for me was when he somehow wound up with a rebound in the paint, threw a couple pump fakes, and finished with Jarvis Varnado lurking right next to him.) Mississippi State struggled all night long to find the range from deep, and got a horrendous performance from point guard Dee Bost down the stretch. I've been telling you guys all along - Arkansas is going to give people problems in this league.

Georgia Tech 79, Wake Forest 58: The Yellow Jackets took a while to get going, but once they did, they really showed how good of a team they can be. They went on a 43-18 run spanning 22 minutes and two halves, and got impressive performances out of Derrick Favors, Gani Lawal, Iman Shumpert, and a team high 16 points from DeAndre Bell. Ishmael Smith and Al-Farouq Aminu both played decent games, but their role players did nothing. The lesson to learn? You can't beat a good team on the road in conference and shoot 32% from the floor and 13-25 from the line.

Other notables scores
  • Gonzaga 71, Santa Clara 64: The Zags overcame a 14 point deficit to beat Santa Clara on the strength of 19 points each from Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin and a 16 and 14 night from Elias Harris.
  • Pitt 73, St. John's 63: The Panthers got 16 points from Brad Wanamaker and 14 points from Ashton Gibbs as they used a late 9-1 run to pull away from the pesky Johnnies.
  • Ole Miss 84, Auburn 74: The Rebels got 20 points from Chris Warren, 19 from Terrico White, and two layups from Murphy Holloway that sparked a 16-4 run that blew this game open.
  • Cal 78, Arizona State 70: Jamal Boykin scored 25 points and added 10 boards, while Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher added 25 and 21, respectively, as the Bears held on against a tough Sun Devils team. Up 16 points with 15 minutes left, ASU chipped away, cutting the lead to 67-66, but a Jorge Gutierrez three, a Christopher lay-up, and six straight Christopher free throws sealed the win.
  • Virginia Tech 76, UVa 71 OT: Someone needs to start the Malcolm-Delaney-for-ACC-player-of-the-year campaign. He had 27 points as the Hokies won despite a 25 foot fadeaway that forced overtime by Sammy Zeglinski.
  • South Florida 76, Seton Hall 74 OT: For the first time since they've been in the Big East, USF has won back-to-back Big East games. Dominique Jones, who had 46, 10, and 8 his last time out, finished with 28 points in this one.
  • Siena 66, St. Peter's 58: The Saints improved their winning streak to a nation's best 12 games on the strength of 21 points and 9 boards from Ryan Rossiter and 15 from Clarence Jackson.
  • St. Mary's 88, Pepperdine 71: Omar Samhan continued his stellar play, posting 23 points and 19 boards, while Mickey McConnell had a career-high 26 in the win. The Gaels remain one game behind Gonzaga for the WCC lead.
  • Old Dominion 56, Georgia State 40: The Monarchs shut down Georgia State defensively, and Gerald Lee chipped in with 16 points to keep ODU atop the CAA standings.
  • Xavier 86, Duquesne 50: Jason Love and Jordan Crawford both scored 17 points while Kenny Frease added 13 and 12 boards as Xavier moved into sole possession of first place in the A-10.
Thursday's Best
  • Courtney Fortson scored 33 of his 35 points in the second half in a win over Mississippi State. He also added 7 boards and 5 assists.
  • Kenneth Faried scored 23 points and added 21 assists as Morehead State knocked off Tennessee State.
  • Adrian Oliver had 33 points in a win for San Jose State.
  • St. Mary's Omar Samhan went for 23 points and 19 boards in a win over Pepperdine.
  • Malcolm Delaney had 27 points and 6 boards as Va Tech picked up a much needed win over UVa in OT.

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