He's an All-American: Missouri's Marcus Denmon probably won't make first-team All-American but he's at the top of the list of best guards in the nation as far as Sully's Court is concerned. What a series of plays he made Wednesday night in the final minute to help Missouri beat Ilinois 75-64. First, he banked home a shot off the dribble to give Mizzou a four-point lead but Illinois answered with a three-pointer to cut it to one. The ball was inbounded to Denmon and these days the obvious strategy is to hold onto the ball and wait to get foul. Not Denmon, not Missouri, not a Mike Anderson-coached team. He found teammate Laurence Bowers behind the defense and whipped the ball upcourt to him. Bowers scored and was fouled. It was ruled intentional and he made both free throws. Given possession, Missouri inbounded and got it to a cutting Denmon for an uncontested layup to give Mizzou a seven-point lead. Game, set, match.
Out of the coffin: Gonzaga has asserted itself, beating Xavier 64-54 Wednesday night coming off a victory over Baylor. I've already buried the Zags but maybe they have some zombie in them.
My soap opera: Talented sophomore forward Ferrakohn Hall announced he was leaving the Seton Hall program, proving once again it's always something in South Orange. Then the Hall lost to Dayton 69-65 after leading by 14 at halftime. I really expect Herb Pope to dominate in games like this but he didn't, ending with seven points, 11 rebounds, and four fouls.
BC: The Don kept the Eagles moving forward with a win over Bucknell. I don't think it's a big deal that they fell behind early and the final score was close (84-80). People who were there tell me Bucknell's decent.
UMass: A decent effort vs. Central Florida but the Minutemen had their chance to pull off the upset with Marcus Jordan only playing a half. Jordan returned to play 15 minutes and inspire the Jordanaires to victory.
Back in the groove: Cleveland State, after losing at West Virginia, bounced back strong with a home win over South Florida 69-62. The Vikings are now 13-1. Point guard Norris Cole had 27 points. He's a player.
Long strange trip: Canisius won at Lamar Wednesday night after coming off a loss at Northwestern State in Louisiana. I hope the Griffs ate well, some BBQ, some Tex-Mex. I find it strange that Loyola of Chicago played at Texas Pan Amerian Wednesday night too (and won 84-76).
Surprising scores, amazing margins:
UConn 81, Harvard 52: Another powerful performance by the Huskies. Harvard can't get down over this.
Syracuse 93, Drexel 65: Do you think Jim Boeheim pointed out to his team that Drexel won at Louisville? Given how tough Drexel is defensively and how well the Dragons rebound, this is a real stunning margin.
Texas 67, Michigan State 55: This loss snaps a 52-game non-conference homecourt winning streak.
Clemson 66, College of Charleston 59: A nice win for the sometimes underachieving Tigers, beating a good team on its homecourt.
Furman 91, South Carolina 75: The Paladins beat South Carolina for the first time since 1980 and are now 10-2.
N.C. State 72, Delaware State 70: The Wolfpack needed a last-second putback to pull this one out. Del State is only 4-6 but they'll pick up some wins in the MEAC.
Siena 62, Georgia Tech 57: Tech coach Paul Hewitt used to coach Siena, I bet he's sorry he scheduled this one which was played in Albany.
North Texas 75, LSU 55: Another bad loss for the Bayou Tigers. What does Shaq think of this?
Seattle 59, Virginia 53: The WallyWonderWalkers looked like they were on a roll until this big thud in Charlottesville.
San Diego State 56, IUPUI 54: Under coach Ron Hunter, IUPUI always gives a great effort, they had Ohio State on the ropes earlier this season, but they fell short in this game played in Las Vegas. Not a great night for the Aztecs but they were able to survive.
Oregon State 74, Illinois Chicago 54: How do you predict this when UIC was coming off a victory over Illinois and Oregon State had lost consecutive games to Montana and George Washington?
Rider 77, LaSalle 68: Rider's a decent unit but LaSalle needs to win games like this.
Albany 63, Colgate 61: The Red Raiders almost got their first victory. Maybe they can beat Longwood on Jan. 2.
Quinnipiac 66, Niagara 63: A real beating. Bobcats look ready for conference play.
South Dakota 82, Loyola Marymount 70: The Coyotes, who play in the Great West with teams like Southern Utah and Utah Valley, are 6-7 but it's been a decent season with a win like this and others over Louisiana Monroe and Wyoming.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell