ATB: WonderWallPosted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2009
Game of the Night. #4 Kentucky 72, Miami (OH) 70. Heeeeeere’s Johnny! As if the mystique and hype surrounding John Wall already wasn’t enough, in his official college debut the freshman not only becomes an on-court leader and contributes 19 points, 2 boards, 5 assists, and 3 steals (and five turnovers); he also hits a game-winner from 15 feet with less than a second left. Miami (OH) hit 15 of 26 three-point attempts and deserves all the credit in the world for pushing Kentucky to the limit in its own building. They actually led by as many as 18 points, and the man most responsible for that was junior forward Nick Winbush. Despite the loss, Winbush will remember this game for the rest of his life. He bewildered the Kentucky players, coaches, and the Rupp Arena crowd with his 3-point shooting ability, going 8 for 10 from beyond the arc, and they were of all types, folks. Fall-aways. Off the dribble. Contested. Open. It didn’t matter to Winbush. He went into halftime having hit his first SIX, and the fans in Lexington won’t forget his name anytime soon. In the post-game press conference, Winbush described playing so well in Rupp Arena as “the most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball,” and said of his three-point prowess on the night, “I shot the first one, and it went in. So I shot another one. It went in, too, so I kept shooting. It just kept going from there.” His teammate (and MAC Player Of The Year contender) Kenny Hayes chipped in 16/4/5 including 4-6 from three-point range, the most impressive being a 27-footer to tie it with just a few seconds left. Kentucky was able to slowly erase the RedHawks’ lead behind double-doubles from Patrick Patterson (16/10) and freshman DeMarcus Cousins (10/10) and trio of threes by sophomore Darnell Dodson. But it was Wall who had the final say. After Hayes hit his long three to tie it, Wall quickly took the in-bounds pass, saw that the lane was clogged after a speed-dribble up the court, and pulled up from 15 feet. After the game, I asked him if he knew it was good when it left his hand. He smiled and said, “I was hoping so. But it felt good.” I just bet it did.
RTC Live. #6 Villanova 103, Pennsylvania 65. When the Villanova Wildcats beat the Penn Quakers at the Pavilion at Villanova tonight it was not just another out of conference basketball game between two local schools. These two competitors have a history, a history that binds them together with three other Philadelphia D1 schools, in the City Series, a rivalry known as the Big 5. This game opened the 55th season that La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova have played for the bragging rights to the City of Brotherly Love. In the 5+ decades of the rivalry, the Penn teams of the 1970s have set the standard for domination in the series. Those teams, coached by the legendary (and recently deceased) Chuck Daly racked up a 29-11 record from the 1971 to the 1980 seasons. No team has matched that win total over a decade… until tonight. Villanova won their 30th game of the decade, ironically beating Penn team to do it. For Coach Jay Wright, this, his 26th win moves him into a tie in 6th place for wins by Big 5 coaches. His record, 27-7 (0.788) sandwiches him at second between the aforementioned Chuck Daly (19-5, 0.792) and Saint Joseph’s legendary coach, Dr. Jack Ramsey (34-10, 0.773) for winning percentages in Big 5 games. Tonight a freshman, Maalik Wayns, led Villanova with 16 points, while Penn off guard Darren Smith led all scorers with 21 points. Wildcat forward Antonio Pena recorded his first career double-double, corralling 10 rebounds while scoring 12 points in 25 minutes of play.
ESPN’s 24 Hours of John Stevens Hoops. For recaps on the late games involving UCLA-Cal State Fullerton, St. Mary’s-SDSU, Hawaii-N. Colorado and more, check out John’s liveblog here.
Other Games of National Interest.
- #8 Duke 74, Coastal Carolina 49. Kyle Singler was the star yet again for Duke (23 points on 8/14 FG, 11 rebounds) to make up for Jon Scheyer being held to one field goal. Both Singler and Scheyer were forced to play 35+ minutes as backcourt depth appears to be the main Achilles heel for this year’s Duke squad. Freshman Andre Dawkins also chipped in with 13 points..
- #13 Connecticut 77, Colgate 63. A sluggish Connecticut team turned on the jets midway through the second half to pull away from pesky Colgate after leading by just one point at halftime. Stanley Robinson (18 points on 8-8 FG) and Kemba Walker (16 points, 6 assists, 5 steals) stepped up with opening-night star Jerome Dyson (3-15 FG, 1-5 3pt) struggling mightily.
- #18 Minnesota 82, Stephen F. Austin 42. A stellar defensive effort from the Gophers in a 40-point rout over the Lumberjacks. The story: freshman Rodney Williams moved to the starting lineup in the second half at his more natural 3-spot. He responded with 14 points in 17 minutes on 5-6 FG including two threes and a couple monstrous dunks.
- Western Kentucky 69, Milwaukee 65. Solid opening round game in the Preseason NIT between a WKU team expected to play into March and a Horizon league contender. A.J. Slaughter dropped a career-high 30 points on the Panthers, including 17 in the second half to pace the attack.
- Florida State 87, Jacksonville 61. Debut for Michael Snaer went swimmingly: 14 points, 5-7 FG, 3-4 3pt. Seminoles shot a cool 60% and out-rebounded Jacksonville by 20.
- Rider 86, Lehigh 71. After hitting 10 of 16 from deep in their stunning upset win over #18 Mississippi State, the Broncs broke a school record by knocking down 16 from long range last night against Lehigh. Ryan Thompson (five treys) was the main contributor.
- South Carolina 90, Georgia Southern 66. Five double-digit scorers for the Gamecocks, most notably 18/10 on 5-7 FG and 3-3 3pt from Dominique Archie.
- Notre Dame 95, St. Francis (PA) 72. You’ll never guess the star for the Irish yesterday: Luke Harangody (27 points, 9 rebounds, 8-17 FG, 8-11 FT, 3-6 3pt!). Bigger story? Mike Brey might have found another long-range bomber in Tim Abromaitis (3-6 3pt).
- South Florida 66, Virginia 49. Could be a rough first year for Tony Bennett in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers shot 33% from the field and 17% from downtown in their lackluster offensive effort. Dominique Jones chipped in 22 for the Bulls.
- Penn State 80, Robert Morris 61. Encouraging results for Penn State fans with Talor Battle struggling (2-9 FG) and others filling in, including four threes from Tim Frazier and five threes from Chris Babb.
- LSU 56, Indiana State 45. Defensive struggle that saw LSU win despite missing all 15 of their three-point attempts. Bo Spencer and Tasmin Mitchell shot a combined 6-31 and 0-9 from deep.
- Cincinnati 69, Prairie View A&M 62. Debut for Lance Stephenson: 2-10 FG, 0-3 3pt, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists. Things should improve for the ultra-talented freshman.
- Vanderbilt 95, Lipscomb 73. Four scorers in double figures in Vanderbilt’s first contest. Jeffery Taylor led the way with 20 points and 7 rebounds for the wildly underrated Commodores.
- Missouri State 73, Auburn 62. It’s shaping up to be another trying season for Jeff Lebo. After needing a late run to beat Niagara at home, his Tigers fell to a Missouri State team not expected to contend in the Missouri Valley.
- Colorado 82, Coppin State 58. Is Cory Higgins the biggest unknown star in the country of any BCS-conference team? 7-10 FG and 5-6 from deep for the Buffaloes’ outstanding guard.
- Indiana 69, USC Upstate 61. The freshmen led the way yet again for the Hoosiers: 17 for Christian Watford and 14 for Maurice Creek in a fight with Upstate.
- Pacific 56, San Diego 55. Important WCC/Big West matchup that went down to the wire, as Lavar Neufville hit a free throw with six seconds remaining to seal the win for the Tigers.
On Tap Tuesday (all times ET).
Note: we’re not including the ESPN 24 Hours of Hoops schedule in this list. If you would like to see that schedule, click here.
- UNC-Asheville @ #11 Tennessee (ESPN FC) – 7 pm – UT head coach Bruce Pearl will go for his 100th win at the school in this one.
- Hofstra @ #13 Connecticut (ESPN FC) – 7 pm – will UConn shake off its rust in this one; Hofstra isn’t an easy game for the Huskies.
- Louisiana-Monroe @ #17 Oklahoma (ESPN FC) – 8 pm – it’s just a matter of time before Warren goes off for 35+.
- N. Illinois @ #25 Illinois (ESPN 360) – 8 pm – Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson are worth keeping an eye on while you watch the HOF Classic.
- W. Kentucky @ LSU – 8 pm – this should be a pretty good game; too bad it’s not on ESPN FC or 360.
- Fairfield @ Maryland – 8 pm – which Greivis Vasquez will we see tomorrow night?
- New Mexico @ New Mexico State (ESPN FC) – 9 pm – no love lost between these two teams.