Kansas, Baylor, and Dayton impressive

 

SONG SELECTION

Allie X (aka Allie Xandra), “All The Rage”

Released August 28, 2016 on both YouTube and Spotify

Hawai’i also wins at the buzzer, but Purdue falls one shot short in nearly upsetting the defending champs of Villanova

When I first heard the above song when Stereogum profiled Allie X late in the summer, I knew in my mind that this number would be a great table setter to jump start the new season in college basketball.

In the video, Allie X and her friend Violet Chachki try to find a ride on some desert highway and then they end up dancing around first in the sand, then in the final 45 seconds of the video with the sprawling nightlife of Los Angeles firmly in the background.

And the annual Tip-Off Marathon gave me and many Superfans reason to believe that many schools are currently ‘All The Rage’ after some pretty exciting games on Monday night/Tuesday overnight and Tuesday night.

The big game on Monday night was not actually part of the ESPN marathon schedule, but Fox Sports 1 had a barnburner of a game in West Lafayette, Indiana with Purdue hanging step-for-step against the defending national champions of Villanova.

P.J. Thompson nailed a half court shot just before the halftime buzzer to keep Purdue tied at 39.  But in the end, it was the heady play of Josh Hart that proved to be the difference scoring 24 points to go along with three rebounds.  Two shots by Caleb Swanigan and Carsen Edwards in the final seconds went awry and Villanova escaped with a hard fought and very grueling 79-76 victory.  This game marked only Purdue’s second loss in the last 26 tries against non-conference opponents at Mackey Arena.

While You Were Sleeping On Monday Night…

Gonzaga ran wild against San Diego State 69-48, this one day after Gonzaga’s students did their annual “Running with the Zags” (think along the lines of Pamplona, Spain’s “Running with the Bulls” without anyone getting injured) to score tickets to their home opener.

Across the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i won on a last second jumper by Gibson Johnson 64-63 over Florida Atlantic.  A few hours earlier, Brigham Young escaped an upset bid by Princeton 82-73 led by Erik Mika scoring 25 and T.J. Haws chipping in with 20 points.

On Tuesday, Dayton came up huge in Alabama in spite of getting outrebounded 40-28.  The final score in Tuscaloosa was 77-72 in favor of the Flyers, but immediate thoughts are on a bigger matter.

With 19.5 seconds remaining and the Flyers trailing 72-69, Alabama guard Corban Collins air-balled on a 3-point attempt following a timeout.  Dayton guard Charles Cooke grabbed the rebound, was fouled immediately and made both his shots to make it a two-score game.

Josh Cunningham went up for a dunk with 4.5 seconds and landed very awkwardly on his left leg.  A pair of teammates had to help him to enter the locker room in what looked to be a serious injury at first glance.

Without Dillon Brooks, Oregon ran into big-time trouble

Do you ever get the feeling sometimes when the world is spinning around so fast that your mind cannot process things normally?  That is what most Oregon Ducks players felt on Tuesday afternoon playing at Baylor.  The 66-49 win was so impressive that the Bears might have a new star in waiting that could compare a bit with Michigan State’s heralded freshman.

WordPress followers, get ready to hear the name of Manu Lecomte.  Tuesday afternoon was only his second game but the crafty point guard following up on posting a double-double in the season opener by finishing with a game-high 18 points, including 4 of 5 treys.  He also was key in giving out a game-high seven assists and chipped in with four rebounds.

Oregon simply could not find the range from deep, converting on only 3 of 21 shots from deep.  Baylor dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Ducks by a hefty 41-30 margin.

Sonic Blockbuster in New York really turned out one classic and one lackluster effort

The first game was not much of a contest as Kentucky ran away from Michigan State by a whopping 69-48 count.  Michigan State committed 18 turnovers, and that stat alone will not get many things accomplished as the Spartans dropped their first two games for the first time since losing to Duke and North Carolina when they were ranked Number 1 and 6, respectively in November 2011.

But the game of the night was Kansas and Duke, a possible Final Four preview.

Early on, Duke’s big men appeared to reprise the roles formerly occupied by Grant and Thomas Hill along with Christian Laettner in the early 1990’s–dominate in the paint, get the ball to the big people and let them finish the job.

Carlton Bragg and Devonte’ Graham were huge for the Blue Devils early on, as the Jayhawks star players were riding the pines way too much in foul trouble.  But somehow, Frank Mason III would not let Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk. Nation down for very long.

With Kansas trailing 34-29 at the half, Mason made a variety of shots–a mix of jumpers and some neat driving layups that kept Kansas at arm’s length.  But like all good teams do, they find ways to fight back and Duke rallied to tie the game with Frank Jackson nailing a three point with 16 seconds on the Madison Square Garden clock.

After a Kansas timeout, it was Mason delivering the money shot by converting a 16 footer with 1.8 seconds to go.  Matt Jones missed on a half-court three at the buzzer and Kansas escaped with a gutsy 77-75 win.  Mason finishing the night as the Jayhawks leading scorer with 21 points on 8 of 13 shooting.

Duke had five players in double figures, led by Luke Kennard with 22 and Amile Jefferson and Grayson Allen each finishing with 12.

Scary moment during the game when Allen was trying to complete one of his twsiting, driving layups.  With no Kansas player with an arm of him, he fell awkwardly on his left leg but somehow stayed in the game after getting some initial treatment on the bench.

Kansas clearly will have to improve on their long-distance shooting and their ability to keep their star players out of foul trouble as Head Coach Bill Self mentioned at halftime.  The Jayhawks only made 2 out of 17 attempts from long distance and missed 10 of 19 attempts from the free-throw line.  But they made up for the lackluster shooting by outrebounding Duke 38-29, including an impressive 14-6 on the offensive glass.  Both teams also were nearly even in the turnover battle, with Kansas coughing up the ball 14 times and Duke finished with 16 in that rather dubious distinction.

Other key games of note on Tuesday…

Creighton upset Wisconsin and Bryce Drew earned his first win as Vanderbilt coach with an 80-68 win over in-state school Belmont.

Hope to chime in again sometime over the weekend.

If not, the next time I will blog should be during the annual Maui Invitational–always one of the premier early season tournaments that dominate the usually hectic pre-Thanksgiving holiday period.

Please enjoy the rest of your day.

 

 

 

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