HAIM, “Little of Your Love”, from the album Something To Tell You
Released July 7, 2017 via Columbia/Sony Music
Streak to reach 43 years since last undefeated national champion
In a span of seven hours, the last of the nation’s unbeaten went down.
TCU led by 13 points starting the second half, but it all slipped away thanks to emerging freshman and possible National Player of the Year Candidate in Trae Young of the Oklahoma Sooners. He scored 39 points on the afternoon, in spite of having a poor afternoon shooting only 9 of 23 attempts from the floor. Of his 9 made field goals, six were from three-point range in 14 attempts. But the key to this game was him getting to the line early and often. He hit on 15 of 18 attempts and nailed the game winning point in a 90-89 close shave victory for Oklahoma over TCU. This was the first matchup at Schollamaier Arena featuring two top ranked teams since 1997.
Arizona gets leg up in Cactus State series
Arizona may be ranked 17th, but they dealt in-state rival Arizona State a crushing reminder of who is best in that part of the country. Led by Allozon Trier scoring 23 points, the Wildcats had enough effort to pull out a 84-78 win at home over the Sun Devils. Tra Holder led all scorers with 31 in a losing effort.
Venerable Hinkle Fieldhouse again plays host to another upset
1954 was the year of Bobby Plump’s last second shot to lift tiny Milan High School to the Indiana High School basketball title over powerhouse Muncie Central. That team eventually became the storyline to Angelo Pizzo’s famed 1986 movie Hoosiers and Indiana’s true love affair with a round orange ball called the basketball.
On Saturday afternoon, CBS Sports closed out their first tripleheader of the season as Plump’s alma mater of the Butler Bulldogs used 15 three point shots to take down top ranked Villanova 101-93. Just like on January 4, 2017–Butler beat Villanova for the third straight meeting. Butler built a 22 point lead in front of a sellout crowd of 9,244 before the Wildcats clawed their way back in the final minute thanks to a 14-0 run with Butler committing several sloppy plays and too many unforced turnovers where it would have been better to eat some clock and force Villanova to foul.
Kelan Martin led the charge with 24 points, while Paul Jorgensen had himself a nice game as well tabbing 23–with 16 of those points coming in the first half.
For Butler alum LaVall Jordan, this was exactly the kind of win that should vault the Bulldogs to their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament. I know I normally don’t give out what Mike Greenberg used to say for years on ESPN Radio as a “Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock”, but the way Butler executed their offense and scouted Villanova so well–they can play with anybody in the Big East let alone any top team in the nation.
36 of 60 shooting was a key stat in this upset, along with out-rebounding Villanova 34 to 26. Villanova ended up shooting 38 of 71 for the game (12 of 35 from three-point land). Jalen Brunson led all scorers with 31 points on 12 of 21 shooting in the loss.
Elsewhere on the final Saturday of 2017, several more close games took place
Duke got some key rebounding from Wendell Carter, Jr. and Marvin Bagley in holding off a scoring threat from Florida State 100-93. The Blue Devils scored the final 7 points in the last three minutes of action in the ACC opener for both teams.
Also, Wichita State got a huge road win at one of the toughest places to win on the road in Hartford’s XL Center and once formerly dominant UConn 72-62. Even with the team having mechanical problems with their charter flight, they did not get to Hartford until late on Friday night. Thanks to holding a sizable rebounding edge 47-34, the Shockers grabbed 17 of 25 potential offensive rebounds.
Landry Shamet scored 16 points, while Austin Reaves, Connor Frankamp and Rashard Kelly each had 11 points in the school’s first ever game competing in the American Athletic Conference.
Marquette held off Georgetown in Milwaukee 74-65, since Patrick Ewing’s bunch mostly fought uphill for the entire 40 minutes.
In the Missouri Valley opener, Loyola of Chicago had a nice 66-59 home win over the Evansville Purple Aces coming from behind after trailing 28-20 at the half.
In the West Coast Conference, St. Mary’s surprised Brigham Young in Provo, Utah in a great back-and-forth affair before pulling away in overtime 74-64.
Finally, in South Bend–Mike Brey made history with his 393rd win as Fighting Irish Head Coach, as Bonzie Colson’s 24 points and a career tying 17 rebounds helped the Irish edge out Georgia Tech 68-59. More balance was found on the Purcell Pavilion score sheet as Martinas Geben finished the afternoon with 12 points. Rex Pflueger chipped in with 11, and Matt Farrell and T.J. Gibbs each finished with 10 points.
While both teams ended up shooting 23 of 60 from the field while playing zone, Notre Dame shutout the Yellow Jackets 16-0 in second chance points and almost doubled up the Wramblin’ Wreck hitting with a 30-18 advantage regarding points in the paint.
Come Wednesday night against North Carolina State, Mike Brey looks to pass legendary former coach Digger Phelps for most wins in the storied history of Notre Dame basketball. Counting his career at Delaware, he is nearing the halfway point towards catching Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski for the NCAA all-time record.
Happy New Year, and I will see you all again on Tuesday with my first installment as I put three schools “Under The Microscope”. Please don’t drink too much when partying.