Nov. 26, 8:30 a.m.: If only every day could be as good as last night, which offered a variety of great and bizarre games:
I never thought I’d live to see the day: Stephen Curry scores 0 points in a college basketball game. But wait a second, there is far more to the story about how Curry went scoreless last night. Loyola Coach Jimmy Patsos decided to play a triangle-and-two defense on Curry, who had scored 44 against Oklahoma and who had been tearing it up even more than last season. So Curry went to the corner of the court, took two defenders with him and watched his teammates attack Loyola four players against three in a 78-48 win. Check out these quotes from Patsos in the Associated Press story: “We had to play against an NBA player tonight,” Patsos said. “Anybody else ever hold him scoreless? I’m a history major. They are going to remember that we held him scoreless or we lost by 30? … If Oklahoma can’t stop him, how is Loyola College going to stop him?”
Well, no one doubled-teamed Curry’s brother, Seth, last night. Seth Curry scored 26 points to help Liberty beat Virginia, 86-82. On a positive note for the Cavaliers, freshman Sylven Landesberg continued to play well, scoring 17 points. Both teams made 13 three-pointers. A sign of things to come for the Cavaliers, who should struggle mightily in the ACC.
In Hawaii, the first matchup of top 10 teams produced a great game. Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody had a terrific showing (29 points, 13 rebounds) but he missed two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining, and Texas’s A.J. Abrams’s desperation heave from beyond halfcourt bounced off the front of then rim. No one gave a darn about the extended three-point line. The teams combined for 49 three-point attempts. The Irish’s Kyle McAlarney had five threes and 19 points in an 81-80 win for a Notre Dame team that should compete with Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh for the Big East title.
Is the Big East even better than we thought? Syracuse is considered in the second tier of strong Big East teams, but the Orange already has impressive victories over Florida and Kansas --- and Jim Boeheim ventured outside of Syracuse to play these guys. The Orange earned two neutral court victories that will look even better in the selection committee’s eyes come March. The wins should bolster the RPI of the Big East later in the season as well. Boeheim switched to man-to-man defense with 14 minutes left to help the Orange rally from a 13-point deficit and pull out an 89-81 victory in overtime against the defending national champs.
Tyler Hansbrough played in his second game last night against a deep but very young Oregon squad. Things got a bit chippy early, but the Tar Heels cruised to a 98-69 victory. Hansbrough had 16 points and made 12 of 14 free throws. I’d keep an eye on freshman Ed Davis, who had 11 points and 13 rebounds. The emergence of Davis should offset the loss of freshman Tyler Zeller, who is out for the year with injury.
Without DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh pulled away from Belmont in an intriguing matchup of national contender against one of the nation’s best mid-majors. Pitt held usually sharp-shooting Belmont to 9 of 29 from three-point range … On a day when the NCAA put Indiana on three years’ probation for Kelvin Sampson’s shenanigans, the Hoosiers lost to Saint Joseph’s 80-54. Indiana will be bad, but I don’t believe the Hoosiers will be Oregon State-like bad this season … Delaware State’s methodical style could not slow down West Virginia, which scored 50 points in the first half of a 76-42 victory … Washington lost to Florida, 86-84, in another setback for the struggling Huskies and the struggling Pac-10. The Huskies opened the season with a loss at Portland … Northeastern star Matt Janning scored 22 points, but Boston University earned a strong 83-75 victory over a Northeastern team that is a trendy CAA pick … Marquette failed to score at least 100 points for a third straight game … Keep en eye on Rhode Island’s Jim Baron, who is shooting 56.4 percent from the new three-point line. Baron made 6 of 11 three-pointers last night and will challenge Stephen Curry for the title of the nation’s best pure shooter.
Locally, American edged Stony Brook, 56-53; Navy pounded Maryland Eastern Shore, 76-51; George Mason beat Mount St. Mary’s, 72-60.
November 26, 2008; 8:27 AM ET
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