Game of the Night. Florida State 76, Auburn 72. You know we’re having a slow as molasses night when this is our top game. No disrespect to FSU or Auburn but this isn’t a bowl game, and we know just how apathetic these programs generally are about basketball. The ACC moved to 6-3 against its southeastern brethren tonight with this hard-fought victory over Jeff Lebo’s team behind Solomon Alabi’s (22/9/3 blks) second straight superb and fourth straight good game. If this isn’t a fluke and the FSU big man is starting to really find his game — and the evidence supports that he is (20/8/3 in his last four games) — then the Seminoles are a completely different team than they were just a few short weeks ago. Freshman stud guard Michael Snaer also had his his fourth straight good game, garnering 14 points in 24 minutes of action. We know that Auburn is one of the bottom teams in the SEC, but thirteen threes (on 39 attempts!) is a peculiar strategy considering that the Tigers came into this game hitting only 30.4% from deep this year.
Some Close Calls. Two BCS schools were forced to fight back from halftime deficits tonight to avoid disastrous losses at home, both teams winning by a mere three points on an otherwise very blase’ evening.
- NC State 79, Elon 76. Elon held a six-point lead at halftime of this one in Raleigh, and it took until the last five minutes of this one for the Wolfpack, behind Tracy Smith’s 21/8, got the lead and put this game away. NCSU is hard to gauge this year, with an away win at Marquette and a home loss to Northwestern on its resume, but if the Wolfpack are going to endeavor to move out of the cellar of the ACC this season, they’ll need a much better showing than tonight on Sunday when they travel to Wake Forest for the first ACC game of the season.
- LSU 63, Nicholls State 60. Tasmin Mitchell hit a three with 36 seconds remaining to give LSU a three-point lead, which the Tigers used to get the win in the final seconds versus a Louisiana school for the 79th consecutive time. Mitchell had 27/6/3 assts for the now 7-2 LSU team, who are completely reliant on he and Storm Warren (13/11) and Bo Spencer (12/4 assts) to lead this team. Other than that, there is no depth for Trent Johnson’s team.
Other Games of National Interest.
- #23 UNLV 72, Weber State 63. UNLV pulled away from Weber State in the second half behind 16/3 from Matt Shaw and 15/5/4 blks from Chace Stanbeck tonight. The Rebels look to head into Mountain West play on January 6th against BYU at 12-1 with two more easy wins in the next two weeks.
- Nevada 73, Eastern Washington 70. Luke Babbitt dropped 29/9 in another stellar performance for the big man from Reno tonight. Babbitt is averaging 19/10 while shooting 50% from the field and 90% from the line. Still, his team has struggled to a 5-4 record this year, although each of the four losses came in road games against top 100 opponents. If Nevada wants to get back into the picture for an NCAA Tournament bid, though (as in 2004-07), they’ll need to figure out a way to shore up a leaky defense. In tonight’s game Brandon Fields (17/8/3 assts) hit the game-winning three with 4.3 seconds remaining.