After the Buzzer: Man Oh Manny!Posted by rtmsf on November 15th, 2009
Another intriguing “opening” day of college hoops, as mostly everybody who didn’t play yesterday played today.
Story of the Day. Manny Harris Records Michigan’s Second Ever Triple Double. These triple-double things are spreading among Big Ten players, as Michigan guard Manny Harris today dropped 18/13/10 assts in 29 minutes in a 97-50 shellacking of D2 Northern Michigan. Does it matter that Harris had his historic night (Gary Grant in 1987 was UM’s only other) against a non-D1 school? Not to us — Harris is a tremendous player and a dime is a dime. Passing the ball should always be rewarded, and Harris did his best today to make his teammates happy. DeShawn Sims could only muster a dub-dub (22/10), but his biggest crime was one of omission, as in, zero assists — share the wealth a little bit, DeShawn! Harris’ achievement joins fellow Big Ten-er Evan Turner as the second player with a trip-dub in the last week, as the Ohio State star recorded his first on Monday. These Big Ten guys can play a little bit, which is once again why we expect the league to do some great things this year. Other than Turner and Harris, who’s next? Talor Battle? Robbie Hummel? Kalin Lucas?
Upset of the Day. Cornell 71, Alabama 67. Another day, another SEC team embarrasses itself at home. Did anyone in Alabama care? Probably not. Don’t get us wrong here – Cornell is a fantastic Ivy League team with all five starters returning and gobs of game experience under their collective belt. And Alabama is dealing with a new coach, a new system and a fanbase that is on its best day mildly interested in basketball, to put it nicely. But an SEC team with two top 25-type players in its lineup should never lose this game at home (sorry, Goodman, but we disagree with you here). This is not to take anything at all away from Cornell, who completely deserved the win today and will assuredly push everyone on its schedule this year, BCS team or not. The Big Red shot 10-18 from three, and when Bama made a run to cut a 15-pt second half lead to two, Ryan Wittman (23/3), Louis Dale (13/4/5 assts) and Jeff Foote (17/7/3 blks) held steady down the stretch. When Anthony Grant gets this thing going later this year, and we honestly believe he will, this win alone will probably be worth an additional seed line for Cornell. Its first win over an SEC school since 1973 (!!) is quite simply a huge boon for this program, and the forty-plus excited comments on Cornell Sports Blog seems to confirm it. Congrats, fellas.
RTC Live. We were privileged to provide online coverage for four of the top mid-major programs in America today. Here are a couple of recaps.
- #22 Dayton 90, Creighton 80. What a daring move by both schools, scheduling an out-of-conference mid-major opponent as their first game. Yes, it’s November, but the NCAA Tournament implications of this one are obvious, and both programs deserve credit for opening the season with such a matchup. This game featured two teams with a combined 54 wins (27 apiece) from last season, the most of any season-opening game across the country this year. You could see it in the quality of play; both teams came out in mid-season form and Dayton showed impressive patience early in their offensive sets, getting good shots on the interior from Devin Searcy, Marcus Johnson, and the soaring Chris Wright. Creighton then threw up an interesting 2-3-slash-1-3-1 hybrid zone which flummoxed Dayton and coaxed the Flyers into settling for contested threes (which they mostly missed), allowing Creighton guards Darryl Ashford and P’Allen Stinnett to dictate the pace and lead the Bluejays to a 46-41 halftime lead. In the second half, though, Chris Wright did what the Flyers need him to do, and that’s lead by example. Instead of settling for outside jumpers, he began slashing to the basket and likewise picked up his intensity on the defensive end. In the first ninety seconds of the second half, Wright had a layup, two free throws, a block, a steal, two rebounds, and an assist. In short, the man took over. This actually opened up things on the perimeter for Wright and his teammates who found themselves more open (and therefore more successful) on those three-point attempts. Wright (25/8/1/2 blocks, on 9-12 from the field) got outstanding help from reserve sophomore swingman Chris Johnson, who hit three timely threes in the second half and was a total beast on the boards all day, ending up with 18 points and 15 rebounds in 27 minutes. As if Wright weren’t enough, Dayton head coach Brian Gregory said of Johnson, “Talk about a guy who’s elevated his game. Teams will now have to go into games thinking, ‘How are we going to stop Chris Johnson?'” Even after losing the lead, Creighton kept it close the whole way. The Bluejays put five players in double-figures, led by junior guard P’Allen Stinnett (18/4/2/3 steals) and juco transfer Wayne Runnels (16/9/2), who didn’t miss his first shot from the field OR the line until well into the second half. To be honest, even without senior guard Justin Carter (knee) and sophomore banger Casey Harriman (flu), the Bluejays played well enough to win, and even this early you can see that they’re an NCAA Tournament-quality team. But the leadership of Wright, the emergence of Chris Johnson, and the impressive home Dayton crowd just proved to be too much. The quality of play from both sides and the buzz in the arena about this game had this observer thinking it was springtime outside instead of late fall.
- #10 Butler 73, Davidson 62. For about three-quarters of today’s game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, you might have suspected that Stephen Curry was still running the show at Davidson. The reason: despite losing more than half of its scoring output from last year, the visiting Wildcats led the highest-ranked Butler team in the preseason (#10) well into the second half before finally succumbing to the superior talent of Gordon Hayward, Matt Howard and Willie Veasley. At the 9:39 mark in the second half, Davidson’s Brendan McKillop hit a three to give the Cats a 58-56 lead. At that point, and for the first time all day, it seemed as if the Butler defense finally started getting to the Davidson players, and as a result, the Bulldogs went on a 12-0 run over the next seven minutes (classic Butler “run”) to put the game away. Hayward came on strong in the second half to end with 17/8, while Willie Veasley added 15/3. Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack had quiet games, going for 10/4 rebs and 7/4 assts, respectively, but the entire Butler team looked out of sync for most of the first half of this game. On the other side and typical of most Bob McKillop teams, Davidson played hard, generally shot the ball well (47% for the game), and rarely seemed to get rattled in the difficult environs of Butler’s home arena. Well worth the price of admission for the packed house today, the fans were treated to a couple of hours of intense basketball from two teams who aren’t very familiar with the meaning of the word half-assed. Once Butler gets situated to the new season, the Bulldogs will certainly be a force to be reckoned with on the national level, and for those in the SoCon who are assuming that Davidson will simply fade away now that Curry is playing for the Warriors, they should definitely think again — the Wildcats will once again be in the thick of the SoCon race.
More Freshman Debuts.
- #16 Oklahoma 95, Mt. St. Mary’s 71. Is it possible that Oklahoma could lose the Griffin brothers to the NBA and have a net gain of talent through its star-studded four-man recruiting class? OU’s prodigious freshman corps of Tiny Gallon, Tommy Mason-Griffin, Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald combined for 64 of the Sooners’ 95 points and 24 of its 44 rebounds (that’s 67% and 55%, respectively, for those of you at home). Granted, it’s Mt. St. Mary’s, but Jeff Capel getting double-figure scoring from all four, allowing Willie Warren to pass the ball (11 assists), makes this team very dangerous.
- #20 Georgia Tech 100, Florida A&M 59. Derrick Favors had a solid if not dominant debut in his first collegiate game, garnering 10/8 in 24 minutes of play of a blowout win for the Yellow Jackets, but it was some of his fellow freshman who opened eyes as to what may lay ahead. Mfon Udofia started in addition to Favors, and added 9/4/4 assts in 22 minutes, while reserve freshmen Brian Oliver chipped in 12 pts and Glen Rice, Jr., came up lucky sevens (7/7) on the night. Returning guard Iman Shumpert had 18/3/3 stls in just 19 minutes of play, but he also had five miscues with the ball.
Other Games of National Interest.
- #13 Washington 96, Belmont 78. UW got some much-needed inside production from junior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who ripped off 23/7/5 blks to assist his talented guards Isaiah Thomas (23/7/3 assts) and Quincy Pondexter (25/11/3 assts). Abdul Gaddy again came off the bench and contributed 8/3/2 assts in 26 minutes of action.
- Notre Dame 86, North Florida 65. ND ran out to a quick lead behind NPOY candidate Luke Harangody’s 19/7/4 assts, but it was transfer Ben Hansbrough who stole the show in his debut with the Irish, missing only one shot all night in his 19-pt, 4-reb peformance (5-6 FG, 4-4 FT).
- Binghamton 54, Bloomsburg 49. Don’t get used to it, Binghamton. Pitt is next.
- Texas Tech 66, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 59. TAMU-CC had a shot at its second upset over a BCS team in two nights, but a poor-shooting second half (31%) allowed the home team to make the comeback and win the game behind Mike Singletary’s 14/5/5 assts.
- Oklahoma State 86, Seattle 64. OSU had three different players with dub-dubs tonight: James Anderson (22/15), Obi Muonelo (12/11) and Marshall Moses (17/11).
- Oregon 95, UC Davis 64. Just wanted to mention that UC Davis had a massive total of one offensive rebound (and 13 total) in this game.
- Gonzaga 92, Mississippi Valley State 74. Matt Bouldin (22/6/5 assts) and Steven Gray (16/5/7 assts) did it all for Gonzaga, who gave up eleven threes to the Delta Devils in this one. GU travels to Michigan State on Tuesday night.
- Eastern Michigan 81, Oakland 77. The Summit favorite was BB’d by Brandon Bowdry tonight, as the star EMU forward had 26/13 in a minor upset despite typically excellent nights from their two stars Johnathan Jones (23/9/3 assts) and Keith Benson (15/13/8 blks). Poor long-range (4-22) and foul shooting (9-20) hurt Oakland in this one.
- Nevada 75, Montana State 61. Luke Babbitt began his sophomore campaign with a 26/5 performance, and Armon Johnson added 16/4 in the Wolfpack win.
On Tap Sunday (all times EST).
- #3 Texas vs. UC Irvine (ESPNU) – 2pm – very interested to see how Rick Barnes is going to use all that talent down in Austin.
- East Carolina vs. Wake Forest – 2pm – trap game for the inexperienced Deacons?
- FIU vs. Tulsa – 3pm – RTC Live will be there to see how Isiah will try to handle Uzoh/Jordan.
- #4 UNC vs. Valparaiso (FSN) – 4pm – another cake of cup before UNC heads to MSG for two tough games next week.
- #9 West Virginia vs. Loyola (MD) – 4pm – WVU will start its very promising season against the enigmatic Jimmy Patsos.
- Florida vs. Stetson (ESPN FC) – 4pm – our first look at Kenny Boynton and a Gators team that some are picking fifth in the SEC East.
- Monmouth vs. Seton Hall – 4pm – interesting North Jersey battle; chic pick SH didn’t look good in its first game.
- Texas Tech vs. Oregon State – 4pm – neither team can really afford to lose this one, but TTU is at home.
- Arizona vs. Northern Arizona (FSN) – 5pm – welcome to the desert, Sean Miller.
- Oregon vs. Colorado State – 8pm – battle of early 2-0 teams; may give a better insight of whether Oregon is completely sucky again.
- #13 Washington vs. Portland State (FSN) – 10pm – third game in three nights may equal tired legs for both teams. Let’s see more Gaddy!