ATB: Duke Gets ‘Noled AgainPosted by rtmsf on January 13th, 2011
The Lede. It was billed as a blockbuster night of college hoops, and as happens more often than not in this sport, there was no letdown. It culminated in this great photo snapped immediately after the game’s finish… is there any better view on a cold January night?
Your Watercooler Moment. The Nation’s #1 Team Goes Down. Not only was it the consensus #1 team… not only was it one of the few remaining unbeaten teams… not only was it DUKE… but the Blue Devils lost to a team in Florida State that had recently gotten thumped by Auburn, quite possibly the nation’s worst power conference team (apologies to Wake Forest and DePaul). Set your transitive property flowcharts to ridiculous mode. Video of the final few seconds of the game and the RTC afterward is below (fantastic coverage of the court, FSU fans — quick and complete!), but for a more detailed analysis of tonight’s upset victory, click over to our post that went up a little while after the game.
Tonight’s Quick Hits…
- The Other Unbeatens. Ohio State, Kansas, Syracuse and San Diego State were all in action tonight, and all of them pulled through to keep their streaks alive. All except for Syracuse were challenged tonight, which once again shows why we’ll be lucky to get to February with a single team still standing with an unblemished record. We plan on doing an analysis later this week to dissect that very thing, so stay tuned for that.
- Jeremy Hazell’s Return. What can you say about this kid? He wasn’t expected to be ready for another week or two, but tonight in his first game back after breaking his wrist AND getting shot in a robbery on Christmas night, he went for 23/2 on 10-17 shooting coming off the bench. His arrival back in the rotation can’t come at a better time for the Hall, as the Pirates have already lost three games and really need to stay in the lower mid-pack to make a run at the postseason again.
- Clemson Pitches a Perfect Game. Well, nearly. This won’t sound that great until you think about it , but tonight Clemson missed only sixteen shots for its entire game against Georgia Tech, including FG and FT attempts. The Tigers went 27-39 from the field (69%), including a scorching 11-14 from three (79%) and 22-26 from the line (85%). The Tigers’ effective FG% of 83.3% tonight ties Virginia (vs. Howard) for the best performance of the entire season in over 5,400 games played this year. Brad Brownell is doing a great job with this team in his first year.
… and Misses.
- The State of Memphis Basketball. You know it’s bad when you’re losing to Matt Doherty and SMU two years in a row. Josh Pastner’s Tigers endured a nine-minute scoreless streak late in the second half that allowed SMU to come back from eleven down to take the lead for good, ultimately resulting in an RTC from the sparsely-full student section. The way it’s looking now is that even in the exceedingly mediocre Conference USA that Memphis is just another team — same as Houston, UAB, Tulsa and the rest. We’ve mentioned it before, but from watching this team a few times this season, it doesn’t appear that the Tigers have a whit of respect for their coach, uniforms or school. With zero quality wins, we wonder if the Tigers will rally to even make the NIT, much less the Big Dance. My, how things have fallen from the later Calipari years of 2005-09.
- Frauds Otherwise Known as Georgia and Oklahoma State. Both of these teams had gaudy records coming into tonight’s road games, but they were both exposed as the frauds that they are in losing to Vandy and Texas A&M, respectively. Georgia has a chance to make some waves given that they’ll have six games against the SEC West this season, but OSU has to deal with the loaded Big 12.
- The Pit’s Fire Alarm System. For the second time this season at the Pit, there was a major delay during tonight’s game against Colorado State because of a fire alarm. Tonight’s unanticipated intermission lasted 38 minutes after someone pulled the alarm right before halftime. The previous fire alarm was as a result of a small grease fire. Far be it from us to criticize best practices when it comes to fire alarms, but are UNM officials sure that these fire alarms are not overly sensitive? This doesn’t seem to happen very often anywhere else, and yet it’s happened at the Pit twice in a month?
Tweet of the Night. Not an actual quote, but definitely on everyone’s mind. Really, FSU?
RTC Live. We had three games tonight, all within the snowed-in Big East footprint.
Villanova 88, Louisville 74. The #18 Louisville Cardinals shot the lights out of the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Philadelphia on a chilly Wednesday night when they faced off against #7 Villanova. The Wildcats struggled all night long with Louisville off guard Preston Knowles, counting themselves lucky they held the senior to a game-high 24 points on 9-17 overall shooting, but Villanova’s rebounding trumped Louisville’s hot hand and the Wildcats were able to salt away the win, 88-74. Leading by one at the half, Villanova dropped their three-quarter court press. “They shredded us in the first half,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright, “they were getting behind our defense and we could not stop them from getting to the basket,” and kept their seniors Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher, along with sophomore Maalik Wayns, in front of their Louisville counterparts — Peyton Siva, Chris Smith and Knowles. The Cardinal backcourt, unable to break out from defensive rebounding, had to score out of set plays, rather than in transition. The Cardinals scored only nine fast break points after the intermission.
Protecting a one-point lead out of halftime, Villanova used a 14-9 run over the first five minutes of the second half to build a six point lead on a mix of inside-out plays. Louisville could not counter Yarou and senior Antonio Pena as the two frontcourt players combined for 26 Villanova points, 16 coming in the second half. The Wildcats managed to stretch their lead to 13 on a series of three-point plays from seniors Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. And when Stokes did not hit the three, Louisville defenders fouled him and sent him to the line.
If shot defense was not working for Villanova in the first half, the Wildcats could count on rebounding as they held the advantage on the boards, 20 to 11 going into the locker room. They built on that advantage throughout the second half, and as the Louisville shooters cooled off they were unable to consistently get second chances. Along with their 41 to 25 total rebounding edge, the Wildcats scored 17 second chance points to the Cardinals’ nine. Villanova was paced by senior wing Corey Stokes who scored 23 points on 5-9 overall shooting (4-7 on three point attempts, 1-2 on two point attempts) and 9-9 from the line. Stokes led the Wildcats for the third time in the last four games. Yarou recorded a double-double as he scored a career-high 18 points on 8-12 overall shooting and 2-4 from the line to go with 11 rebounds. Other double figure scorers for Villanova included Wayns (15 points on 5-13 overall shooting and 4-5 from the line) and Fisher (17 points on 6-10 overall shooting and 3-5 from the line). Louisville point guard Peyton Siva scored 14 points and guard Chris Smith chipped in 18 points on 6-12 overall (3-6 from three, 3-6 from two) and 3-4 from the line. Villanova improved their record to 15-1 overall, 4-0 in the Big East Conference, while Louisville dropped to 13-3 overall, 2-1 in the Big East.
Syracuse 76, St. John’s 59. The more things change, the more they stay the same in Syracuse. Jim Boeheim has been the head coach in upstate New York for 35 years and while many players have come and gone, the 2-3 zone defense remains a constant and seems to get better every season. It was no different Wednesday night downstate at Madison Square Garden as the fourth-ranked Orange dismantled St. John’s for a 76-59 victory in front of 14,440 spectators, about half of whom were rooting for the visitors. Both teams started slow and St. John’s tried to push the pace to take advantage of a bunch of early Syracuse turnovers. St. John’s took an eight point lead at the 9:02 mark of the first half and then everything changed. The Orange proceeded to outscore the Red Storm by 30 points over the next 20 minutes, coasting to an easier than expected win. The St. John’s fans in the Garden crowd were buzzing with pregame anticipation as well as during the first ten minutes but Syracuse used a 26-7 run to close the first half and take command of the game. The instant turnaround was keyed by their defense, using superior length, size, depth and athleticism to disrupt the Red Storm’s offensive flow, “a cumulative effect over the course of a game” as Steve Lavin so aptly put it. Syracuse harassed Dwight Hardy into 4-15 shooting and four turnovers while St. John’s assisted on only nine of 21 made field goals as a team. The Orange limited Hardy and Justin Brownlee, the leading scorers for St. John’s, to 9-28 shooting leaving the Red Storm with limited offensive options. For Syracuse, Kris Joseph and Rick Jackson led the way, combining for 30 points on a superb 14-17 shooting. Jackson had a double-double and Syracuse shot 63% in the second half (57.4% for the game). What made this even more of an impressive win was the fact that Syracuse turned the ball over 20 times, including seven by Scoop Jardine, yet still dominated the game. Brandon Triche also had 15 points and made three triples for the victors. Afterward, Lavin called Triche a “sneaky” player, able to score a bunch of points out of nowhere. The win was the 1,800th in Syracuse history, the fifth most wins of all-time. The Orange will look to move to 18-0 at home on Saturday against Cincinnati before a huge matchup next Monday at Pittsburgh. St. John’s, now having lost two in a row, continues their hellacious schedule against Notre Dame on Sunday at the Garden. In the Big East, success can morph into struggle in the blink of an eye. How St. John’s responds to adversity will be the big question going forward.
Pittsburgh 72, Georgetown 57. Pitt jumped all over Georgetown early and never looked back. Ashton Gibbs hit three straight threes early in the first half as Pitt surged to a 24-9 lead early on the Hoyas and held a double digit lead the rest of the way. The Hoyas made a push late in the second half, cutting a 22-point lead down to 11 with 5:32 left, but Ashton Gibbs buried a three at the end of a shot clock to push the lead back to 14 and take all the air out of the Georgetown comeback. Once again, the Georgetown backcourt struggled, as they combined to go just 10-23 from the floor for 31 points. The Hoyas cannot win when they are not getting big games out of their best players. As good as Pitt looked tonight, especially in the first half, the blame has to fall on the Hoyas. The best teams in the country do not come out flat when the No. 5 team in the country comes to town, especially when they are coming off of a loss at home. It’s still early — the Hoyas have 13 more Big East games to right the ship — but at this point Georgetown can no longer be considered a contender in the Big East. As of now, this team needs to focus on getting enough wins to make the NCAA Tournament. Gibbs finished with 22 points to lead the Panthers, overshadowing a pretty good game from Georgetown’s frontcourt considering how touted Pitt’s big men are. Julian Vaughn was the best player on the floor for the Hoyas, going for 13 points, 7 boards and 3 blocks.