Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday's Shootaround: Xavier wins a big one on the road, St. Mary's knocks off Weber State

No. 11 Xavier 82, No. 19 Vanderbilt 70: See here.

That link is to what we've written on Vanderbilt coming out of this game, but Xavier's back court needs to get recognition after their performance on Monday night. Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons are, simply put, as good as any duo in the country. Yes, I know they struggled for most of the game against a fairly pedestrian Vanderbilt defense. But those struggles disappeared when Xavier needed a bucket. Lyons hit five of his last ten shots of the game, sparked the game-changing, 10-0 that erased the lead that the Commodores had built up and then made the coast-to-coast drive and spinning lay-up that sent the game into overtime.

Holloway was even bigger. After failing to find any kind of rhythm for the majority of the game, the senior hit two daggers on back to back possessions to push Xavier's overtime lead from two to eight. The best players make the biggest plays in crunch-time, whether or not they have played well during the game. Lyons and Holloway did just that, and they did it to beat a top 20 team on the road. That's impressive.

No. 6 Louisville 79, Long Beach State 66: Louisville got 18 points from Chris Smith and jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the first half, hanging on to beat a scrappy LBSU team. Louisville hasn't been running as much as we've expected early in the season as Rick Pitino deals with depth issues stemming from his team's injuries, but the Cardinals looked like the Louisville team we all expected on Monday night.

For the 49ers, this is their third loss after knocking off Pitt on the road, as they dropped close decisions to San Diego State and Montana. That shouldn't diminish how good this team can be, but unless they string together a couple of wins against some of their big-name non-conference competition, this is a team that is going to have to earn an automatic berth if they want to go dancing.

St. Mary's 87, Weber State 70: The Gaels got 25 points and 11 assists from Matthew Dellavedova and 24 points and 12 boards from Rob Jones as they used a huge second half to knock off Weber State. The Gaels scored 56 points in the second period and shot 69% from the floor as they managed to outlast Damian Lillard, who was on fire. Lillard finished with 36 points, including 21 straight in the second half to get the Wildcats within six with seven minutes left, but St. Mary's responded with a 14-2 run to put the game away. Kenton Walker added 14 and 11 off the bench for St. Mary's.

Oakland 89, Tennessee 81: On the night that they retired Keith Benson's jersey, Reggie Hamilton did his best to make Grizzly fans forget their standout big man. Hamilton went for 35 points to lead five Grizzlies in double figures as Oakland notched their second consecutive win against the Vols.

UCLA 62, Pepperdine 39: UCLA finally earned their first Division I win of the season as they got 14 points from Laz Jones and held the Waves to just 11 first half points. Perhaps the most notable part of this win? Playing in an arena 17 miles from their campus, UCLA had just 34 students show up to watch the game.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 9 Florida 96, Stetson 70: The Gators were led by 22 points, 10 boards, three blocks and three assists from freshman Brad Beal as Billy Donovan notched his 450th win as a head coach.

No. 16 Marquette 88, Jacksonville 56: Jae Crowder had 27 points, Darius Johnson-Odom had 19 and Vander Blue added seven assists, nine boards and four steals as the Golden Eagles improved to 6-0 on the season.

No. 21 Memphis 70, Jackson State 45: Joe Jackson had 15 points and Chris Crawford added 14, but Memphis struggled through the first 25 minutes before finally turning on the after burners and running Jackson State out of Fed Ex Forum.

No. 23 Cal 73, McNeese State 57: Jorge Gutierrez had 26 points and five assists as Cal sloughed off a poor first half.

Other notable games:

- Georgetown 81, IUPUI 58
- Iona 100, Long Island 84
- West Virginia 77, Akron 56
- Colorado 70, Georgia 68
- Stanford 79, Pacific 37

Top performers

Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones, St. Mary's: Dellavedova had 25 points and 11 assists and Rob Jones added 24 points and 12 boards to overcome a 36 point performance by Damian Lillard.

Michael Glover and Scott Machado, Iona: Glover went for 28 points and 14 boards while Scott Machado continued to stake his claim as the best passer in the country, notching 10 assists to go along with his 14 points.

Reggie Hamilton, Oakland: Hamilton had 35 points and six boards as Oakland knocked off Tennessee for the second straight season.

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