Another wild day in college hoops: Villanova, Michigan State fall once again | Zagsblog
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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.
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Wednesday / February 28.
  • Another wild day in college hoops: Villanova, Michigan State fall once again

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    By SAM LANCE

    It’s still early in the college basketball season, but several games from Tuesday’s slate could possibly carry weight on Selection Sunday. Here’s a quick rundown of all the action and key games from a busy day in college basketball.

    Kansas State 72, Villanova 71

    Kansas State (7-2) has won its third overtime game in a row with a one-point win over Villanova at home. Jerome Tang is now 9-0 in overtime games as K-State’s head coach. Senior guard Tylor Perry hit the game-winning 3-point shot with seven seconds left to put K-State up 72-71. Villanova missed its final look at the basket.

    K-State junior forward Arthur Kaluma was a big factor in this game, finishing with a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds. Other K-State players in double-figures included junior guard Cam Carter (16 points) and Perry (10 points). Kaluma, Carter and Perry were all portal additions from this past offseason.

    As for Villanova, the Wildcats now drop to 6-4 and have lost three straight games (St. Joseph’s, Drexel and K-State) after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis MTE tournament. Villanova beat No. 9 North Carolina, 83-81, in overtime of the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis, but have struggled since.

    Justin Moore, Villanova’s second-leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, left the contest in the first half with a right knee sprain. He did not return.

    Villanova has one nonconference game left against UCLA on Dec. 9 before Big East play begins on Dec. 20. The Wildcats will now likely have to have a strong run in the Big East to make the NCAA Tournament with their nonconference resume.

    No. 23 Wisconsin 70, Michigan State 57

    Tom Izzo and Michigan State haven’t exactly had a dream start to the season. The Spartans are now 4-4 with no signature wins after a 70-57 loss to Wisconsin in the Breslin Center.

    Michigan State — the preseason No. 4 team in the country — has now lost to every ranked opponent its played by an average of nine points. The only two Spartans in double-figures against the Badgers were senior guards Tyson Walker (22 points) and AJ Hoggard (14 points). No other player totaled five points or more.

    Wisconsin (7-2) is now on a bit of a roll, winning five-straight games, including victories over then-No. 24 Virginia, No. 8 Marquette and now the Spartans. This five game winning streak comes after Wisconsin lost two-straight to No. 17 Tennessee and Providence.

    The Badgers received huge production out of sophomore guard AJ Storr (22 points) and junior forward Steven Crowl (18 points). Wisconsin also dominated the glass, out-rebounding Michigan State 36-22.

    No. 5 UConn 87, No. 9 North Carolina 76

    After a two-point loss to No. 2 Kansas in the Phog — Dan Hurley and UConn were able to rebound against another blue blood opponent — easily handling North Carolina in Madison Square Garden.

    Four Huskies were in double-figures, led by Cam Spencer’s 23 points. The senior guard also added seven rebounds and six assists. Other notable performances came from sophomore forward Alex Karaban (18 points, nine rebounds, five assists) senior guard Tristen Newton (14 points, five rebounds, five assists) and freshman guard Solomon Ball (13 points, 3-of-6 3FG).

    Sophomore big man and projected 2024 lottery pick Donovan Clingan has now been held to single digits in back-to-back games. He’s put up eight points in two-straight contests going against preseason All-American bigs Hunter Dickinson and Armando Bacot. Clingan has yet to post double-figure scoring against a ranked opponent this season.

    UConn put on a passing clinic against the Tar Heels with 25 assists on 34 made field goals. It’s also notable that freshman guard and projected lottery pick Stephon Castle returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 11 vs. Stonehill. He played 10 minutes and recorded three points and four rebounds.

    North Carolina (7-2) had its three-game winning streak, including two wins against ranked teams, broken on Tuesday night. Senior guard RJ Davis and junior forward Harrison Ingram seemed to be the only offensive answers for the Tar Heels.

    Those two combined for 46 points on 16-of-30 shooting from the field, while the rest of North Carolina shot 12-of-33. Bacot had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds but shot just 4-of-12.

    The upcoming schedule doesn’t get any easier for both teams. UConn has Arkansas Pine-Bluff up next, but will then travel to Seattle to play Gonzaga on Friday, Dec. 15. North Carolina has quite some time off before playing No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday, Dec. 16, and then No. 19 Oklahoma on Wednesday, Dec. 20.

    No. 20 Illinois 98, No. 11 Florida Atlantic 89

    The Fighting Illini are now 7-1 and have found its signature nonconference win against No. 11 Florida Atlantic in the Jimmy V Classic. Don’t forget, Illinois also beat No. 2 Kansas, 82-75, in a preseason exhibition contest.

    Terrence Shannon Jr. is playing at an All-American level this season for Brad Underwood, and that continued against the Owls. The senior wing poured in a career-high 33 points — 24 of which came in the second half. Fifth-year senior and SIUC transfer Marcus Domask also had a career night with 33 points. Overall, Illinois shot 63.2% from the field and 40% from 3-point range.

    Next up for Illinois is a road contest against No. 17 Tennessee on Saturday, Dec. 9.

    Florida Atlantic (7-2) had a nice offensive showing, led by junior 7-footer Vladislav Goldin, who notched a career-high 23 points before fouling out in the final minute. However, the Owls defense, much like it has at times this season, let the Owls down.

    Florida Atlantic has now given up 86 points and 89 points, respectively, in wins against Butler and Texas A&M — and now nearly 100 points to Illinois. The defensive end will be key to clean up for Florida Atlantic to make another run at the Final Four.

    No. 19 Oklahoma 72, Providence 51

    Porter Moser and the Oklahoma Sooners (8-0) just keep on winning, this time dominating Providence in the Big 12/Big East battle.

    The Sooners were led by junior guard Javian McCollum (19 points) and sophomore guard Milos Uzan (17 points and 12 rebounds). Oklahoma also limited Providence to just 20 points after the break, showing the Sooners defensive prowess.

    This may just be Moser’s best team since the Loyola Chicago group that made a run to the Final Four in 2018.

    As for Providence, the Friars are now 7-2 in year one under Kim English. Providence led early in the second half 40-39, but were outscored 33-11 for the remainder of the game.

    Junior guard Devin Carter stood out for Providence, contributing 17 points, five blocks, and three rebounds. The Friars main struggle in this one was their shooting, finishing the game with a 40.4% field goal percentage and 21.7% clip from three-point range. Providence made just nine field goals in the second half.

    The Friars will look to regroup in its upcoming nonconference match against Brown University on Dec. 10.

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