College Basketball By The Tweets: Title Game Tilts, Coach Fights & Parker Shows OffPosted by David Harten on November 28th, 2013
Wednesday night made for one of the better nights we’ve had so far in this year’s college basketball season. It’s holiday tournament time — the three days in Maui were capped, the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off got underway, and a host of other tournaments across the country start today. Trophies were raised and big performances were necessary… and Syracuse and Baylor made it tough to appreciate having 20/20 vision in what I like to call “the day-glow game.”
Let’s take it to the best tweets of the night, shall we?
The top games on the night came in Madison Square Garden, with Duke taking Alabama after Arizona got all it could want from Drexel, and in the Lahaina Civic Center, with Syracuse and Baylor playing for all of the surfboards in Maui. As far as the Blue Devils’ play was concerned, it wasn’t the start they envisioned.
Arizona also fought back after trailing by as much as 19 to the Dragons, pulling away very late for the win. Drexel suffered more than a loss on its record, with one of their better players in Damion Lee exiting the game in the second half with a knee injury. The good news is that Dragons’ head coach Bruiser Flint said the team doesn’t believe there’s any serious damage.
And before things got underway in the Maui title game, Dayton proved its worth in the third place game, beating California, 82-64. As possibly the most impressive team in the tournament, you’d expect this to be a huge confidence boost for Devin Oliver, coach Archie Miller and the rest of the Flyers.
Staying in Hawaii, Syracuse started fast against Baylor, thanks mainly to Tournament MVP C.J. Fair’s scoring and Tyler Ennis being the steady presence at the point.
Oh, and between the Orange and Baylor’s uniforms, the television was tough to look at.
We cut back to Duke and Alabama, where midway through the first half, Blue Devils’ wunderkind Jabari Parker hit possibly the most impressive shot of the night, with a turnaround, baseline fadeaway over a defender that made so many in attendance and watching on TV say “that’s an NBA elite-level shot.”
Then, in the middle of all this November madness, trouble arose in the Battle 4 Atlantis, or at least at the pre-tournament banquet. According to Sport Illustrated‘s Seth Davis, new USC coach Andy Enfield attempted to smooth things over with UTEP coach Tim Floyd in light of recent events. It’s safe to say that things just got worse when all was said and done.
When play resumed, Ennis kept receiving love from the media, finishing with 11 points and nine assists as the Orange committed only seven turnovers.
As the night wound down, trophies started to get handed out, as Wisconsin beat West Virginia 70-63 for the title in the Cancun Challenge. Sam Dekker paced the Badgers with 21 points and 12 rebounds and was named tournament MVP.
Also, Louisiana Tech outlasted St. Bonaventure 76-72 for the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.
Even though it was the day before Thanksgiving, it was also a night of stuffed stat sheets. Boise State’s Derrick Marks dropped 39 points in a 98-89 victory over in-state rival Idaho. This probably won’t be the last time Marks puts up impressive scoring numbers this season.
And the award for best performance in a loss might go to West Virginia’s Eron Harris, who poured in 27 points in the loss to Wisconsin in Cancun.
But in the end, it was all about the nationally-televised games and the big-name teams. And on Friday night, it’ll be all about Arizona playing Duke in The Garden, with the Preseason NIT title on the line. Oh and Parker? Well, this is just getting to be commonplace.
And Syracuse did Syracuse things, bringing home yet another Maui Invitational title with a 74-67 victory over the Bears. Their reward? Heading back to cold, snowy central New York with memories of winning the most prominent regular season tournament in college basketball while in warm, sunny (perfect) Hawaii for the third time in three trips for coach Jim Boeheim.