College Basketball Wrap

Corey Stokes (left), Corey Fisher cheer from sidelines.
Corey Stokes (left), Corey Fisher cheer from sidelines.
Posted: February 14, 2011

AROUND THE CITY

Tough on tough

There was nothing beautiful about Pittsburgh-Villanova at the Ski Lodge unless you love sheer effort. And who doesn't?

It hurt to watch this game. Every loose ball was worth a dive. There were three technicals and a semipunch from Villanova's Isaiah Armwood. It was absolutely a survival test. And Pittsburgh survived, 57-54, ending the Wildcats' 46-game, on-campus winning streak and cementing its status as the class of the Big East.

Not over

Looked like Pitt had taken the life out of Villanova when leading 52-42 with barely 4 minutes left. Corey Fisher had fouled out. It looked like the Wildcats (19-6, 7-5 Big East) might never score again. Then, Pittsburgh (23-2, 11-1) committed three consecutive turnovers and the 'Cats rallied quickly, closing to three points. And they actually had the ball in the final seconds, down by the final score. Dominic Cheek missed a three. After a scramble, Maalik Wayns ended up with the ball beyond the arc. And buried a three. Only he shot it just after the buzzer.

The shooters

The teams combined to shoot 4-for-25 from the arc. Shame Villanova's Corey Stokes and Pitt's Ashton Gibbs could not play because of injuries. They are the best shooters for their teams. And it showed. This was a combination of really good defense and really bad shooting.

The effort

Pittsburgh was the No. 1 rebound-margin team in the country, plus-12 boards per game. Yet, Villanova decisively beat the Panthers on the glass, 36-28. Mouphtaou Yarou was a man with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The locals

Pittsburgh's two best players were Brad Wanamaker (21 points), from Roman Catholic, and Nasir Robinson (15 points), from Chester. They were smart, determined and difference makers.

Owls win without Allen

Temple got a program win at Dayton. Without Lavoy Allen (sprained ankle), the Owls locked up the Flyers in the first half (7-for-27 shooting, 25.9 percent) and won comfortably, 75-63.

The Owls' three starting guards were terrific. Ramone Moore had 26 points and nine rebounds. Scootie Randall had 17 points. And, in the best news, point guard Juan Fernandez had nine points, nine assists and no turnovers.

If Temple can get that kind of production from its guards, the Owls are going to be very difficult to beat, especially when Allen comes back.

Heading for finish line

Temple is playing for NCAA seeding and an A-10 regular-season championship. Thursday's home game against Richmond will say a lot about both. The Owls have not hit their full stride yet, but you can see it coming.

Drexel gets another

If somebody had told you before the season began that Drexel would win 17 games, you would think that is a pretty good season. Well, after beating William & Mary at the DAC, 54-52, Drexel is 17-8 overall, 9-6 Colonial Athletic Association. And the Dragons still have four regular-season games to play.

Good timing

Chris Fouch had missed 16 consecutive threes until he nailed one with 3:18 left. Then, with the game at 51-51, Fouch buried another three with 12 seconds left for the winner.

Never in it

La Salle (12-14, 4-7 Atlantic 10) was never a factor in an 82-61 loss at St. Bonaventure (13-10, 5-5). The Explorers shot just 19-for-59 (32.2 percent). Aaric Murray had 20 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. But he needed 20 shots to get his points.

The Bonnies got about whatever they wanted, shooting 31-for-60 (51.7 percent overall) and 17-for-28 in the second half.

Hit the wall

Penn was playing its fifth game in 8 days. If the Quakers had not lost the previous three in overtime, they might have had more at Columbia. But they did lose all those heartbreakers and did not have much in a 75-62 loss.

Barring an unlikely miracle, Penn (9-12, 3-4 Ivy) is out of the league race, with half the league season to play. What the Quakers need to do is finish as strong as possible to set up a run at the title next season. Columbia (13-9, 4-4) also is out of it.

The Ivy, this season, is all about Princeton and Harvard. Next season, it could very well be about Penn.

There wasn't much good news for the Quakers against Columbia, except freshman Cameron Gunter. He had 12 points and gave the team serious energy.

ACROSS THE COUNTRY

The run

Did you see Jordan Taylor go off for Wisconsin? His shot does not look great, but when he gets on a roll, he does not miss. With the Badgers down 15 against unbeaten Ohio State, Taylor started firing from distance and made everything. Wisconsin ran off 15 straight and the Buckeyes seemed powerless to stop it.

It was BYU's Jimmer Fredette against San Diego State when he went off to knock out another unbeaten team.

Bo Ryan's team is just about unbeatable at Kohl Center, but not nearly as imposing when it leaves town. As good as the Badgers looked against Ohio State, keep that in mind when you fill your NCAA bracket.

The performance

Cleveland State senior point guard Norris Cole is having a terrific season. Still, who saw this coming? He had 41 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists against Youngstown State. Look for him in the NBA next season.

The streak

The nation's longest winning streak? Coastal Carolina, of the Big South. CC is 24-2 with 22 consecutive wins. It is one of three teams unbeaten in conference play, along with Texas and Princeton.

DICK JERARDI'S TOP 15

1. Ohio State (24-1): You don't get demoted in this poll for losing at Wisconsin, where hardly anybody wins. Badgers were unconscious from deep, overcame a 15-point deficit to win, 71-67.

2. Kansas (24-1): Morris twins combined for 30 points and 22 rebounds in 89-66 win over Iowa State. Each twin had a double-double.

3. San Diego State (25-1): Gave up the lead late and then got it back at UNLV to win, 63-57. If you don't think this team can play, you haven't seen it.

4. Pittsburgh (23-2): Won at West Virginia and then at Villanova last week, the equivalent of winning a regional. Just super tough, even without Ashton Gibbs.

5. Texas (22-3): Beat Baylor, 69-60, first non-double-digit win in 10 Big 12 games.

6. Duke (23-2): Won last night at Miami, 81-71.

7. BYU (24-2): Jimmer went off in second half of 72-59 win over Utah, school's 104th win in his four seasons.

8. Notre Dame (21-4): Scored 22 straight early in the game and blew away South Florida, 78-55. Going to be very dangerous in the NCAA.

9. Arizona (21-4): Defeated Arizona State, 62-52, last night.

10. Florida (20-5): Erving Walker's late layup gave Gators a 61-60 win over Tennessee in a high-quality game.

11. Georgetown (20-5): Beat Marquette, 69-60, yesterday. Has won eight straight in brutal Big East.

12. Louisville (19-6): Held on to beat Syracuse, 73-69. Has won seven straight vs. 'Cuse. Shot 13-for-27 from the arc.

13. Vanderbilt (18-6): ohn Jenkins, one of America's best shooters, went off for a career-best 32 points in 81-77 against Kentucky. Wildcats just 1-5 on SEC road.

14. Wisconsin (19-5): Played at an incredible level after falling behind Ohio State by 15 points. Could not miss.

15. Villanova (19-6): Just could not put the ball in the basket in 57-54 loss to Pittsburgh, but never stopped competing.

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