ATB: Coach K Climbs to Third All-Time in WinsPosted by nvr1983 on December 9th, 2010
The Lede. A Leader Who Happens To Coach Basketball. If you can’t stand Duke and/or Coach K you might want to stay off the Internet for a while because you are going to be hearing about them a lot over the next few months. While the Blue Devils picked up their 19th straight win and 27th in 28 games, this game will be remembered (particularly by those in The Bluegrass State) as the game where Coach K surpassed Adolph Rupp on the all-time Division I wins list. In Duke’s first game without Kyrie Irving, who could be out indefinitely with a toe injury, the Blue Devils relied on their superior athleticism, depth, and execution to crush a respectable Bradley team, 83-48. The Braves’ four losses this season coming in were by a combined 22 points, but they weren’t that fortunate tonight as the Blue Devils blew them out by 35 points. Playing in place of Irving, Andre Dawkins was more than adequate as he scored 28 points including 8 of 14 from beyond the arc. Duke may not be the same dynamic team without Irving, but they are still really, really good. As for Coach K, now that he has passed Rupp for third he only has two more coaches ahead of him (Dean Smith at 879 and Bobby Knight at 902). We don’t think we need to tell you about the type of hysteria that you will see when he approaches those two living legends in the coming weeks and months.
Your Watercooler Moment. Playing with a women’s ball in Illinois. Coach K might have dominated the mainstream college basketball media’s attention tonight, but the Twitter-verse was dominated by the strange situation in Illinois where the Fighting Illini and Oakland Golden Grizzlies played the first seven minutes of their game with a women’s basketball before Mike Tisdale noticed that something felt wrong and pointed it out to the official who switched the ball. Having dealt with that the Fighting Illini rallied from down nine early to defeat a tough Golden Grizzlies team by a score of 74-63. Although we would like to be able to attribute the Golden Grizzlies early success to playing with a women’s ball (they outscored Illinois 15-6 while playing with the women’s ball and were outscored 68-48 with the men’s basketball) that would be selling their effort short as they led the #16 team in the country until there were 15 minutes left in the game. Demetri McCamey scored nine points in 62 seconds to give Bruce Weber’s squad a quick seven-point lead, which they never relinquished after that point.
Tonight’s Quick Hits...
- Steve Fisher’s Quips. His team is now 9-0 after defeating California tonight, but the longtime coach of the San Diego State Aztecs thinks that his home folks might be going a little overboard with their support and faith of the team. As he put it, “they think we can play the Celtics… and if Kevin Garnett didn’t play, they think we’d have a chance.” In this clip, he also talks about how big of a deal it is for his squad to defeat a Pac-10 opponent on their own floor, as it hasn’t happened for a very long time (the answer: SDSU last did it in 1982 vs. Oregon in Eugene, well before Fisher could even spell Fab Five).
- Glens Falls, New York. Seemingly an entire town came out to watch its prodigal son, Jimmer Fredette, return to play basketball. The star guard scored 26 points in variety of ways to thrill the beyond-capacity home crowd at the Glens Falls Civic Center tonight. Take a read through Tae Andrews’ RTC Live at the arena tonight — people were sitting or standing in every available space in this building. We love to see support like that — more teams should do this sort of thing for the local HS heroes that move on.
- Kyrie Who? Duke’s Andre Dawkins stepped right into the void left by the injured Kyrie Irving and blew up for 28 points on 10-17 shooting, including eight threes. Remarkably, the kid must have shot the ball every time he touched it, because he didn’t record a single assist tonight. Clearly Bradley was way overmatched by the talent and the environment, but it’s nice to know that Dawkins is capable of this kind of explosiveness for Coach K’s team.
- The SEC. It’s not often we get to extol the virtues of the Southeastern Conference in basketball these days, so we’ll take what we can get. With Arkansas’ nine-point victory over a Jeremy Hazell-less Seton Hall and Kentucky’s second-half T-Jonesing of Notre Dame, the SEC went 2-0 in tonight’s Big East/SEC Invitational. The next “round” is Saturday in Pittsburgh, as Tennessee visits Pitt and Auburn plays Rutgers.
- Marcus Denmon. Playing with a heavy heart as a result of his cousin’s death on Tuesday, Denmon made the key overtime steal with 5.8 seconds remaining to give Mizzou the win and continue its 51-game homecourt winning streak. He scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half as the Tigers essentially ripped a victory away from Vanderbilt in this one (the Dores went 11-22 from the line).
- Kentucky’s Floor in Freedom Hall. Some things just shouldn’t ever happen, and this is one of them. Honestly, it would be like seeing those Tar Heel caricatures painted into the corners at Cameron Indoor. Did Rick Pitino’s upsetting the laws of hoops loyalty by becoming the Louisville head coach mean nothing is sacred anymore?
- Corey Fisher. You’re a senior All-American candidate. Getting held out of the starting lineup of a key Big Five road game at Penn because of a disciplinary issue is something freshmen or sophomores do, not seniors. And especially not seniors with the kind of talent that you have. Weak sauce, Mr. Fisher — getting into an argument with the coach, we hope you learned a lesson here about leadership. Luckily for this Corey, his teammate Corey (Stokes) took advantage of the opportunity and ripped off 34 points on 11-15 shooting and basically saved his team tonight as Fisher struggled (1-6 FG for four points and five turnovers).
- Kemba Walker. Only 21 points! Ok, we jest. Kemba had a nice game against FDU tonight, dropping 21/4/3 stls/2 blks on 7-13 shots in another well-rounded performance, but hey, we’re hoping for Walker to hit the elusive 30 PPG threshold this year, so we can’t have many more of these, Kemba. He’s now at 29.1 PPG on the season.
- Harrison Barnes’ Shooting Woes. They continued at Evansville tonight despite UNC throttling the Missouri Valley team. The future lottery pick was 3-11 from the field and a frigid 0-5 from beyond the arc. In nine games this year, Barnes has already had five in which he shot three or more long-range bombs and connected on none of them. Perhaps he should stop shooting them so much? He’s only converted on nine, with four of those makes coming during the Hofstra game and three others in the UNC-Asheville game. Shooting 34% from the field and 27% from three… where is this unbelievable slasher/finisher that we heard so much about? We might understand a few games, but this is moving into quarter-season territory quickly.
Tweet of the Night. So, so true…
RTC Live. It was a HUGE night in RTC Live-land as we went coast to coast with our coverage at five different venues.
Boston College 88, Providence 86. (ed. note: our contributor Zach Hayes ran into connectivity problems at BC tonight, so he submitted this report after the game) When Vincent Council’s desperation three-quarter court heave collided with the backboard and glided off the rim as the clock expired, one couldn’t help but flash back to last April and the Gordon Hayward miracle that wasn’t. Despite the dramatically smaller stage, Council’s attempt was a carbon copy of Butler’s last stand that pulled at the hearts of college basketball fans throughout the nation. Down two with 2.7 seconds to play, the talented sophomore Friar guard nearly made up for a 4-17 shooting performance with a game-winner that would have highlighted tonight’s SportsCenter. Much like last April, it was not meant to be, and the beneficiary was Boston College, a team that has bounced back from a shocking loss at the hands of Ivy league doormat Yale to defeat Texas A&M, California, Indiana, Massachusetts and, now, Providence in the last three weeks. Reggie Jackson, whom his coach Steve Donahue calls a triple double “waiting to happen,” played as efficient and complete of a basketball game as you can imagine: 26 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks on 9-12 from the floor and 4-4 from deep. Taking full advantage of a Providence defense that seemed to revert to last year’s doldrums on more than one occasion, Jackson controlled the game, sank clutch jumpers and continued to provide leadership for Donahue’s squad. The Colorado Springs native delivered the counterpunch that Donahue highlighted as the key moment in the game. Once the Friars established their comfort level in a breakneck, chaotic tempo, a 15-point Eagles lead was trimmed to three around the three minute mark. With Keno Davis’ team feeling the momentum and the small Providence faithful who made the voyage to Chestnut Hill roaring in approval, Jackson calmly drained a three from the left wing to ignite the partisan BC crowd. The Robin to Jackson’s Batman tonight was veteran center Josh Southern, whose 16/9 on 5-6 FG and zero turnover performance was one of his best in an Eagle uniform and enough to drop Providence to 9-2 overall on the campaign. The Friars were paced, as usual, by their senior swingman Marshon Brooks, who overcame a relatively quiet first half to finish with 28/10 on 10-23 FG, going toe-to-toe with Jackson on a number of possessions. Providence also crushed BC on the boards 50-33, but the heroics of Jackson, Southern and a 50% clip from behind the three point stripe was enough to halt the predictable Friars run. Just like their ACC brethren Duke eight months ago, BC was able to dodge a last-second bullet and emerge victorious.
San Diego State 77, California 57. For a half of basketball, we were prepared to write off the Aztecs as a bunch of loafers uninterested in the task at hand, as they carelessly bricked their way to a ragged halftime lead of only two points against a young, inexperienced Bears team. Six minutes into the second half, however, Steve Fisher’s Aztecs decided to start playing like a top twenty outfit. First, an 8-0 run nurtured by unheralded point guard DJ Gay’s two threes; then a blistering 13-2 run fueled by several steals for easy dunks to put the game away. SDSU was led by Kawhi Leonard’s 20 points on 8-14 shooting, regularly finding open spots in the lane for his short jumpers. It’s no secret that California is a team in transition, having lost most of its offense from last year’s Pac-10 regular season championship team, but SDSU appears to be the team du jour out west. With the Pac-10 unilaterally down across the board and Gonzaga losing again tonight to Washington State (not to mention head-to-head earlier this season against the Aztecs), SDSU sits in the catbird seat as the top team west of the Rockies this year. What we saw tonight certainly poked no holes in that theory, but they could stand to tighten things up a little in terms of intensity and regulating carelessness if they want to be sure to make a run at the Mountain West Conference title and a high NCAA seed come March. The talent is certainly there — the only question will be focus and commitment.
BYU 86, Vermont 58. The local legend returned home Wednesday night, and all was right in the world. Playing in front of 6,200 friends, family members and neighbors in his hometown of Glens Falls, Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette’s rising star shone the brightest in his backyard. Fredette led the Cougars with 26 points on 9-for-19 shooting and doled out five assists in a victorious homecoming romp, as BYU won by a final score of 86-58. Scoring on a variety of up-and-under bank shots, swooping layups and of course, that textbook-illustration jump shot, Fredette put on a show in a game that saw the undefeated (9-0) Cougars traverse the country to bring BYU basketball to the birthplace of its star shooting guard. The Vermont Catamounts put up a noble fight in a losing effort, but ultimately didn’t have the firepower to keep pace with the Cougars, who played very strong complementary basketball around their centerpiece, Fredette. NBA scouts, scores of media members and fans alike poured into the Glens Fall Civic Center, located in South Glens Falls, about an hour north of Albany in upstate New York. They all came to see Jimmer, and he certainly didn’t disappoint.
Villanova 65, Penn 53. It was the Corey Stokes Show at the Palestra on Wednesday evening as the Villanova senior guard dropped in a career-high 34 points to lead the Wildcats to a 65-53 win over Penn at the Palestra. ‘Nova head coach Jay Wright certainly needed that kind of production from Stokes — who buried five of his nine three-point attempts and surpassed 1,000 career points on the night — as guard Corey Fisher was held out of the starting lineup for a minor disciplinary issue and Maalik Wayns missed the entire second half after hitting his head on the floor. Stokes’ high school teammate, Zack Rosen, finished with 20 points and five assists for the Quakers, who could take a lot of positives from a competitive loss to a nationally ranked team. Just don’t tell that to Penn head coach Jerome Allen, who said in the postgame press conference, “We expected to win this game.” For more game details, you can read my game story for CSNPhilly.com.
Kentucky 72, Notre Dame 58. Now that it’s over, Wildcat fans will look at this game on the schedule and just figure it was a “should-win” game that they indeed won. That’s probably true, but there are a few items the Wildcats will most certainly take from this besides a W. First, despite that UK gets so much from freshmen like Terrence Jones (whose 27/17 John Calipari called “beastly,” we think in a good way) and Brandon Knight (20/5 assts), they beat an Irish squad that starts five seniors, no small feat. Secondly, Kentucky found a way to stop a dominant performer and they learned how good they can be on defense. We’re talking about Notre Dame guard Ben Hansbrough (21/2 assts), who hit five three pointers in the first half, three of them on three straight possessions. He looked to be on his way to a MOMENTOUS night, hanging 19 points on the Wildcats in the first 20 minutes. His second half? Two free throws. It wasn’t just Hansbrough. From the 5:00 mark of the first half to the 12:00 mark of the second, the UK defense gave up but one field goal. Mike Brey had good things to say about everyone after the game, complimenting Kentucky, complimenting his players, pretty much hanging the loss on the effect of the crowd and the talent disparity, saying that he was glad for games like this because “they help us get ready for our league, for the Big East.” John Calipari, however, after praising Jones’ night, says he needs more from a couple of his juniors: “I want you to look at Darius Miller and say ‘Wow.’ I want you to look at DeAndre Liggins and say ‘Wow.’ And we have a couple of other guys like that, it’s like, there’s something holding them down as individuals from being as good as they can be. And in doing that it’s holding us down as a team.” He speculated on a few things that might be causing this, but at the end he added, “It might be chemistry.” As we all know, that’s the great season-killer, so Kentucky fans better hope that’s not the case. Definitely something to watch as the season progresses.