After the Buzzer: Threedonkulous…Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2009
Well, if there’s over 100 games in one night, you’re going to have some interesting storylines through sheer volume, and sure enough, we had a little bit of everything this evening.
Story of the Night. Arkansas 130, Alcorn State 68. Rotnei Clarke reached ‘the zone’ that most of us only dream about tonight in Arkansas’ home opener, as the 6’0 sophomore guard with a career average of 12.1 PPG blew the roof off of Bud Walton Arena for an insane school-record 51 points including THIRTEEN three-pointers in seventeen attempts. Clarke’s ‘lucky 13’ on Friday the 13th breaks the SEC record for long-range bombs held by former Hawg Al Dillard, who would notoriously pull up from just inside the hash mark during his two years in Fayetteville in the mid-90s (Dillard also had 22 attempts in his record performance). When you get in this kind of a zone (15-21 FG, 13-17 3FG, 8-9 FT), former gunner-cum-coach John Pelphrey knows that the only thing to do is keep firing, and Clarke was happy to oblige. At halftime, the score was Clarke 31, Alcorn 26 as the Hawgs ran out to a ridiculous 45-pt lead, and even though he ‘cooled off’ in the second stanza with only four threes and 20 points, Clarke had to know that he was experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime type of night. Jemal Farmer, a 6’5 junior guard/forward, also had a great night, going for 28/12/6 assts for the Hawgs. This was a particularly pleasant way for Arkansas to start off its season, as the summer months were not kind to Pelphrey’s team with various off-court incidents and suspensions plaguing the program throughout. Five players, including starters Courtney Fortson and Stefan Welsh, were suspended for tonight’s game. Keep an eye on this Arkansas team this year, as they have enough talent to compete in the SEC West if they can all keep their heads on straight.
Upset of the Night. Rider 88, #19 Mississippi State 74. It didn’t take long for the SEC to show that it’s quite possibly overrated again, as SEC West favorite MSU got thoroughly outplayed at home on the night when it raised its banner for its 2009 SEC title. So… when will Renardo Sidney be eligible again? Rider, a darkhorse to win the MAAC this year and featuring one of the best mid-major players in America in 6’6 forward Ryan Thompson, used a balanced attack and very efficient offense (10-16 from three) to stick with the home team and take over the game in the second half. Mike Ringgold and Novar Gadson combined for 42/17 despite having to deal with the nation’s pre-eminent defensive player in the paint, Jarvis Varnado (22/14/7 blks). But it appears that lackluster play by MSU might be attributable to more than an off night. One of the more interesting quotes you’ll ever read from a college player came from MSU junior Kodi Augustus, who threw his coach Rick Stansbury under the bus in post-game commentary: “I talked to my dad,” Augustus said. “He said we got outcoached. I don’t know. But I looked at it, I only played 15 minutes the whole game. Yeah, I’m [upset], but like I said, I can’t do nothing about it. I played all those minutes the exhibition games and then you come and play me 15 minutes? Wow!” Wow, indeed, and it seems that a team who was one of the best defensive squads in America last season has major issues with egos and team chemistry right now, and this is BEFORE John Riek and Renardo Sidney have even suited up!
RTC Live Recap. Wake Forest 76, . We were in Winston-Salem tonight for RTC Live, and although the game wasn’t as good as we’d hoped, we learned a few things about each team. Behind 19 points and 9 rebounds from Kevin Ford, ORU made things interesting by pulling within ten late in the 2nd half. That’s when 56 sophomore Al-Farouq Aminu scored 11 straight points, giving him a total of 25 points and 13 rebounds. Wake looked good inside, outrebounding ORU 51 to 25 including a whopping 20 offensive rebounds. Conversely, the Demon Deacons looked rough on the perimeter, shooting only 29.4% from behind the arc and committing 18 turnovers to only 14 assists (the TO-plagued Ish Smith will start the year with a 4:5 A/TO ratio). Wake fans should be happy that Aminu looks like a lottery pick after the season opener, and freshmen CJ Harris and Ari Stewart looked cool and composed, but the outside shooting and turnover problems that doomed last year’s Wake Forest team to an early exit in the NCAA Tournament still persist.
Let’s Talk Freshmen. So many good new players, so little November television coverage. How’d the top freshmen do in their first games tonight?
- #1 Kansas 101, Hofstra 65. Xavier Henry wasted no time introducing himself to America, going for a KU first-game record 27/5 on 8-12 shooting (including 5 threes) in his first game at Allen Fieldhouse. Sherron Collins had 23/4/3 assts and seemed to appreciate some of the attention going to Henry in the post-game.
- #5 Kentucky 75, Morehead State 59. There was no John Wall tonight, but Eric Bledsoe more than made up for his absence, going for 24/7/4 assts (but 7 TOs). P-Pat added 20/12 but the Cats will need to work on turnovers (24) and three-point shooting to be great (4-19).
- #6 Villanova 84, FDU 61. Mouphtaou Yarou debuted with only 6/3 in twenty minutes of action, and Villanova struggled a bit with FDU for a half before putting them away. The Wildcats didn’t shoot well (40.9%) and Scottie Reynolds (2-10) was the biggest culprit, but Corey Stokes (20/4) picked up the slack.
- #13 Washington 74, Wright State 69. Abdul Gaddy didn’t get the start tonight, and in fact only earned fifteen minutes, during which he put up 5 pts on 1-4 shooting. Isaiah Thomas was pretty much a one-man show for the Huskies, scoring 30 pts on a variety of moves. But UW got virtually nothing from its inside players, and we fear this is going to be a major problem for them all season.
- #24 Clemson 84, Presbyterian 41. Noel Johnson appears to have been a phenomenal late pickup for the Tigers, as he nailed four threes, added three boards and a couple of steals in 19 minutes of play tonight in a Clemson blowout. Trevor Booker added 11/8 and Tanner Smith 14/6 for Clemson.
- Central Florida 84, UMass 67. Marcus Jordan came off the bench in his Nikes to put up a donut and three turnovers in 11 minutes of play tonight. At least he got a couple of rebounds and assists.
- Illinois 96, SIU-Edwardsville 69. The Illini’s new backcourt duo of Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson combined for 36 pts and 8 assists in a superb debut for both youngsters.
Other Games of Interest.
- #2 Michigan State 97, Florida Gulf Coast 58. Kalin Lucas had 21/3 stls and Durrell Summers had 17/4 in an easy win for the Spartans, even without an effective Delvon Roe and Raymar Morgan tonight. Freshman center Derrick Nix had a freshman-record 14 boards in a mere 15 minutes of action.
- #7 Purdue 89, Cal State Northridge 64. Robbie Hummel led the way with 17/6/4 assts in a game where Purdue built a 37-pt lead in the first half.
- #8 Duke 96, UNC-Greensboro 62. Jon Scheyer (18/3/4 assts) played 37 minutes without a turnover as Nolan Smith served his suspension for playing in an unsanctioned summer league, and Kyle Singler dropped 20/5 in Duke’s 69th consecutive nonconference home win.
- #11 Tennessee 83, Austin Peay 54. Scotty Hopson had 16/4 and Tyler Smith (14/11/4 assts) and Wayne Chism (11/10) claimed dub-dubs, but danger zone… point guard Bobby Maze had two points and five turnovers tonight.
- #14 UConn 74, William & Mary 65. Jerome Dyson wasted no time showing that he’s back from his knee injury tonight, ripping W&M for 27/8 assts/4 stls in an otherwise lackluster performance from the Huskies. Stanley Robinson added 17/7 and freshman center Alex Oriakhi had 8/10, but the UConn defense gave up 13 threes to the Tribe, which kept W&M in the game.
- #18 Minnesota 87, Tennessee Tech 50. Minnesota’s defense held Tenn Tech to 28% from the field for the game, and Lawrence Westbrook contributed 22 pts in an easy win for the Gophers, who are still wondering what will happen with Royce White, Trevor Mbakwe and Devron Bostick.
- #21 Georgetown 74, Tulane 58. The only ranked team to open on the road put away Tulane in the second half behind hometown boy Greg Monroe’s 18/11 in a typically methodical Georgetown effort.
- South Carolina 88, Alabama A&M 50. Devan Downey had 23/2/4 assts in only 22 minutes of play tonight.
- Seton Hall 53, St. Peter’s 51. Wow, the Hall put up a stinker tonight, with Jeremy Hazell going 0-10 for 2 pts and newcomer Herb Pope contributing 6/6 assts/4 blks in a game where SH guard Eugene Harvey (16/6/4 assts) won it on a 28-foot one-hander at the buzzer.
- Penn State 70, Pennsylvania 55. Talor Battle had 27/10 rebs in the battle of schools often confused for one another by people outside of the Northeast. You realize that Battle is barely six feet, right?
- Iowa State 88, Idaho State 68. Tough day in Ames due to Harrison Barnes’ decision to leave his home state, but Craig Brackins’ 17/3 in a Cyclones win helped ease some of the pain.
- Maryland 89, Charleston Southern 51. Greivis Vasquez came off the bench to do pretty much everything — 9/5/13 assts/4 stls — in a dominating performance by the Terps. RTC Live will be visiting College Park on Tuesday night when Fairfield is in town.
- LSU 82, Louisiana-Monroe 62. The fortunes of this LSU team will rise and fall with Tasmin Mitchell (15/5/3 stls) and Bo Spencer (23/3/5 assts). Tonight: rise.
- Tulsa 72, St. Mary’s (TX) 47. Jerome Jordan had a near dub-dub with 9/11, but it was Ben Uzoh who led the way with 16/3/5 assts. RTC Live will be in Tulsa on Sunday night when Isiah Thomas visits the Golden Hurricane.
- Baylor 86, Norfolk State 58. LaceDarius Dunn smoked the nets for 32 pts on 10-16 shooting including a perfect 4-4 night from deep and 8-8 from the line.
- Pittsburgh 63, Wofford 60. Pitt is clearly going to go through some growing pains, but coming back from 13 down in the second half with no starters returning from last year’s team (Jermaine Dixon is injured, remember) is a pretty good start for Jamie Dixon’s team.
- Siena 85, Tennessee State 69. Siena got 19/14 from Alex Franklin in a game where the Saints shot a scorching 65% from the field. Way too many turnovers for Fran McCaffery’s liking, however (29).
- Marquette 85, Centenary 62. Jimmy Butler dropped 27/13 in an auspicious opening game that shows maybe Lazar Hayward (9/5) will have some help after all at MU this year.
- Memphis 82, Jackson State 53. Where would Memphis be without Elliot Williams, who transferred over from Duke? His 19/3/3 led the way for Josh Pastner’s first win as the Tiger head coach.
- Auburn 69, Niagara 66. Auburn very nearly got Mercered again, as it took an 11-0 run in the game’s final 1:29 for the Tigers to grab the lead and hold off the Purple Eagles and Bilal Benn, who torched the Tigers for 16/13/4 assts. DeWayne Reed (24/5/3 assts) had eight of the final run, including the go-ahead layup for Auburn.
- BYU 70, Bradley 60. Jonathan Tavernari contributed 25/5/4 assts in a typically well-rounded effort as BYU pulled away late in the second half for the win in the inaugural Mountain West/MVC Challenge.
- St. Mary’s 100, New Mexico State 68. St. Mary’s ripped apart NMSU in an effort that saw all five starters hit double figures, and center Ben Allen was one assist shy of a triple-double (17/10/9 assts).
A Few More Upsets.
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 67, Oregon State 43. Jeff Goodman called this upset today, and it wasn’t close. A semi-away game for Craig Robinson’s OSU team, the Beavers clearly struggled with TAMU-CC’s pressure (25 turnovers) and, quite possibly, the weight of expectation (tight shooting = 32% from the field).
- San Diego 77, Stanford 64. Is this an upset? Probably not — Vegas had the game as a pick’em — but San Diego is not even where they were two years ago and they’re handling Stanford despite Landry Fields’ best efforts (25/9/5 stls), which isn’t a good sign for the Pac-10 (see: Oregon State above).
- Idaho 94, Utah 87. Mac Hopson and Steffan Johnson combined for 35 pts from the Vandal backcourt to earn the school’s first win over Utah since 1938. It was Hopson’s eight late points that broke open a close game in the last few minutes to give the big win to Idaho.
On Tap Saturday (all times ET). Another pretty full slate of games that will get overlooked due to football and other factors, but here are some of the best.
- Creighton @ #22 Dayton (RTC Live) – 1pm – revenge game for the Flyers who got thumped in Omaha last year.
- Davidson @ #10 Butler (RTC Live) – 2pm – mid-major mania from Hinkle Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.
- Cornell @ Alabama – 2pm – the Tide will need to play very well to win this game.
- Mt. St. Mary’s @ #16 Oklahoma – 2pm – interested to see how Warren’s first game goes as well as the new freshmen for Jeff Capel’s squad.
- Florida A&M @ #20 Georgia Tech – 7pm – will Derrick Favors be as good as advertised? Is he Dwight Howard or Randolph Morris?
- Texas A&M-CC @ Texas Tech – 7pm – can the Islanders get two BCS wins on consecutive nights? TTU is arguably worse than Oregon State.
- Belmont @ #13 Washington – 10pm – will we get to see more from Abdul Gaddy tonight?