Muna, “I Know A Place”
From the album About U, released February 3, 2017 on RCA Records
Another ranked team goes down on the road
Lamar Stevens came up huge with 25 points shooting jumpers from almost every conceivable angle on Tuesday night as the Nittany Lions toppled Maryland 70-64 in State College. Maryland was held to only 33.9 percent shooting for the game (20 for 59). The difference in the game was the huge free throw disparity, as Penn State toed the line a whopping 38 times hitting on 26 of their charity attempts but Maryland did not help in their own cause going 17 out of 27 for the night. Melo Trimble was held to 11 points in 31 minutes, while missing 9 of his final 10 shots from the field. His only point came on a free throw in the second half.
Extra 20 minutes of game action you want? Alabama took that long to beat South Carolina
The game lasted four (4) overtime periods as the Crimson Tide finally was able to edge out the Gamecocks 90-86 in South Carolina.
Alabama led by 17 during the first half and was still leading by 12 points with less than five minutes to play. Sound familiar, Atlanta Falcons fans? What one fan might think of this being a normal final score, both teams only scored 57 points each in regulation. Both teams then scored 6, 11, and 8 points over the next 15 game minutes. Alabama finally outscored South Carolina 8-4 in the fourth extra period.
Leading the way for the Gamecocks was senior guard Sindarius Thornwell who finished with a career bests of 44 points and 21 rebounds. He also set a new SEC conference record formerly set in the late 1960’s by the late great of LSU fame, “Pistol” Pete Maravich when he made 21 free throws in an era without a three-point shot. Thornwell hit 25 free throws, which is also a new school record.
Alabama was led by the coach’s son, Avery Johnson, Jr. with 23 points on 9 of 21 shooting while playing 44 minutes. The Tide finished the 60 minutes with hitting on 30 of 71 attempts, good enough for 42.3 percent. South Carolina on the other hand was far worse from the field, converting on 23 of 88 shots for a meager 26.1 percent (they were also only 5 of 31 from long distance). Alabama also won the rebounding battle 56 to 51. Six total players ended up fouling out, including 60 percent of the Gamecocks’ starting five.
”I’ve never taken 21 shots (when I played in the NBA)…But we needed that from him.”
Alabama Head Coach and former longtime point guard Avery Johnson
Elsewhere, Notre Dame escaped a possible upset against Wake Forest 88-81 in South Bend and Villanova got the better of Georgetown 75-64.
The Big Ten had Michigan whipping Michigan State 86-57 in a game that had the Wolverines comfortably in front 55-29 at halftime. Finally, Illinois snapped a nine-game road losing streak holding off surging Northwestern in Evanston by a score of 68-61. The game was tied entering the final two minutes, but a combination of some ill-advised three point shots and a few turnovers provided the winning margin for the Orange Crush. With Scottie Lindsey suffering from mono and not able to play, Northwestern was led by Bryant McIntosh finishing with 21 points.
Illinois was led by senior Malcolm Hill chipping in with 14 points, while the trio of Maverick Morgan, Te’Jon Lucas, and Michael Finke each had 11. Hill continues to climb up as he moved into eighth place on the Fighting Illini career scoring list, passing some legendary names of Mark Smith and Brandon Paul. With their overall record of 14-11, they are going to be NIT bound without any quality wins to their resume.
Thinking briefly big picture for Northwestern, this was a tough loss to take. They are 16-8 on the season but have suffered back-to-back losses since the end of the holiday season (December 30 and January 5 to be precise). The next two games are going to be huge measuring sticks to see where they might be seeded, as more than likely they should have enough of a solid resume to earn the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament berth. The Wildcats travel to Madison to take on Wisconsin this coming Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on BTN and then return home to play Maryland next Wednsday night at 7 p.m. Eastern, again that game will air on BTN.
Tomorrow, I will have a blog even casual fans should pay closer attention to and that is the first ever mini-bracket preview show done by CBS Sports. Without giving much new information away and all of these upsets in recent days–the brackets are going to have a lot in the way of major flux. But according to one key follower of the sport, the show may open up a different can of worms than what we originally anticipated.
Please have a good night and as Tina Fey once said on Weekend Update several years ago–have a pleasant tomorrow.