Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Unbeatens Keep on Winning; Big East Storylines; Lamb Leads Oak Hill Into Les Schwab Finals
The Big East season has just begun and already things are getting pretty wild…
UNBEATENS KEEP ON WINNING: Six undefeated teams were in action Tuesday night, and all six won, including two from the Big East: No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Kentucky, No. 4 Purdue, No. 5 Syracuse and No. 6 West Virginia.
JOHNSON, BUTLER MAKING STATEMENTS: Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson and West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler will be in the conversation for Big East Player of the Year when all is said and done. Johnson put up 20 points and a career-best 19 rebounds Tuesday in Syracuse’s 80-73 victory over Seton Hall in Newark, N.J.
In Morgantown, West Va., Butler rebounded Jimmy Butler’s missed foul shot with 12 seconds left, dribbled up the court and drained a jumper just inside the 3-point line with 2 seconds left and two defenders –6-2 Darius Johnson-Odom and 6-6 Lazar Hayward — in his face to give West Virginia a 63-62 victory over Marquette.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins had called for an NBA screen play, but Butler called an audible at the line.
“I got the rebound and looked up,” Butler told the The Times West Virginian. “It was like, ‘Well, I guess we’re not running that.’”
SETON HALL MUST CLOSE: Seton Hall has lost three of its last four games, but easily could have won at least two. They held a 13-point lead on Temple, went into OT against West Virginia and held a 12-point first-half lead on Syracuse but failed to win all three games.
“Seton Hall is a really good team,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said, according to The Star-Ledger. “They coulda beaten us, they coulda beaten West Virginia, they coulda beaten Temple. They’ll get better.”
HAZELL ON FIRE: Seton Hall junior guard Jeremy Hazell has combined for 79 points in his last two games. He dropped a career-best 41 on West Virginia Saturday and went for 38 in Tuesday’s loss to Syracuse. Problem is his teammates have combined for 78 points in those two games.
LANCE RETURNS HOME: Lance Stephenson and Cincinnati host UConn Wednesday night on ESPN2 (7 p.m.). After that, Lance will play three of his next five games back home in the New York area. The Bearcats visit Rutgers on Saturday before returning home for two games with Pitt and Cal State Bakersfield. Stephenson then comes back to the New York area for tilts with Seton Hall at the Prudential Center (Jan. 9) and St. John’s at Madison Square Garden (Jan. 13). These games and this Big East season will go a long way in telling NBA scouts what they want to know about Lance.
LAMB LEADS OAK HILL INTO LES SCHWAB FINALS
Oak Hill (Va.) Academy senior guard Doron Lamb put up 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals to lead the Warriors to a 72-58 victory over Westview in the Les Schwab Invitiational semis in Hillsboro, Ore.
Pe’Shon Howard added 21 points and Roscoe Smith notched a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Unbeaten Oak Hill will meet Westchester (Calif.) in Wednesday night’s final.
Westchester beat Jesuit 68-54 in the other semi behind 17 points from Jordin Mayes and 15 from Dwayne Polee.
(Photo courtesy Seton Hall Athletics)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.