The Allen factor
Lavoy Allen had 19 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. Over the last three games, Allen has shot 22-for-37, scored 50 points and grabbed 41 rebounds. Now, that is how you head for the finish line of your senior season and one of the great all-around careers in school history.
Back to Washington
Temple is putting itself in a great spot to open NCAA play a few miles from GW's Smith Center at the Verizon Center.
GW coach Karl Hobbs called Temple "the best team we've played."
Villanova has not been the same since that late-game meltdown at Rutgers. It is not just that the Wildcats have lost four of six, it is how they are losing. Too many fouls at the wrong time, too many defensive mistakes, too little solid offense, too many unforced turnovers at bad moments, too many key rebounds not grabbed, and now the Wildcats are even missing free throws.
The Wildcats' toughness kept them in the game at the Wells Fargo Center against St. John's. But they faded at the finish and lost, 81-68.
Villanova (21-8, 9-7 Big East) trailed, 18-4, and fought all the way back to 65-64 with 4 minutes left. But that was it. St. John's (19-9, 11-5) got a career-best 34 points from Dwight Hardy, who is playing as well as anybody east of Jimmer Fredette.
Corey Stokes (6-for-10 from three) had 20 for 'Nova. Maalik Wayns had 19. Still not enough.
The Red Storm typically makes four three-pointers per game. They were 10-for-22 against the 'Cats, the kind of thing that happens to teams that are in a funk.
It gets no easier for 'Nova. Its final games are at the top two teams in the league, Notre Dame tonight and Pittsburgh on Saturday. A few weeks ago, Villanova was looking at a double-bye in the Big East Tournament and a top-three seed in the NCAA. Now, the 'Cats may be looking at a Tuesday/no-bye start in New York and an NCAA seed that will make even the first-round game difficult.
It was in this space a week ago I touted Corey Fisher as Big 5 Player of the Year. Sorry for the jinx, Corey. Fisher was 30-for-58 (51.7 percent) from the arc in Big East games entering the week.
He was 0-for-8 from three against Syracuse Monday and 0-for-8 against St. John's. That would be 0-for-16, a number I would have thought impossible.
Another brutal loss
Penn has specialized in hard-to-believe endgames this season. And part of the problem is that the Quakers often start so badly they are in position to lose games they might otherwise have won.
Penn lost to Cornell, 74-72, at the Palestra, but the score did not tell the story. The Quakers (12-13, 6-5 Ivy) trailed 46-31 with 15 minutes left and 63-53 with 7 minutes left. Then, they led 69-68 with 36 seconds left. Cornell (8-18, 4-8) had the ball out of bounds with 1 second on the shot clock. Mark Courty scored at the shot-clock buzzer, which changed everything down the stretch.
After a crazy few seconds of back and forth, Penn got the ball back with 3 seconds left and rushed it down the court. Tyler Bernardini got off a three just before the buzzer. It was short.
Penn guards Miles Cartwright (23) and Zack Rosen (22) combined for 45 points. But Cornell shot 51.9 percent and finished off a season sweep of Penn.
Hawks backcourt goes off
If Saint Joseph's is going to find its way back, it may happen with its young backcourt, freshman Langston Galloway and sophomore Tay Jones.
Galloway had a season-best 27 points in a 79-65 win over St. Bonaventure at Hagan Arena. He was 8-for-13 overall, 5-for-7 from the arc, and 6-for-6 from the foul line. Jones had 20. Freshman shot-blocking sensation C.J. Aiken had a season-best 14 points as the Hawks (8-20, 3-11 A-10) shot 24-for-39 (61.5 percent).
The Bonnies (15-12, 7-7) got 28 from their terrific big man Andrew Nicholson.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
San Diego State was not going to let Jimmer Fredette score 43 against them again. So the BYU star turned passer. He beat many of the double- and sometimes triple-teams with brilliant vision and sharp passes. It also helped that his teammates hardly missed an open shot.
The Pullen show
Not sure what was going on with Kansas State's Jacob Pullen early in the season, other than it was not good. Well, Pullen is very good now. He had 24 in an 80-70 win over Missouri and now has 2,017 in his career.
In his last four games, Pullen has scored 116 points and shot 15-for-23 from the arc.
The No. 1 seeds
It is going back and forth with just about every game, but, if it were today, it likely would be Ohio State in the East, Pittsburgh, Duke or Texas in the South, Kansas in the Midwest and BYU in the West.
DICK JERARDI'S TOP 15
1. Ohio State (27-2): Crushed Indiana yesterday, 82-61. Only two losses were on road to Wisconsin and Purdue, places where nobody has won all season.
2. Kansas (27-2): Morris twins went for 42 points and 19 rebounds in 82-70 win at Oklahoma. KU has won 27 or more each of the last five seasons.
3. BYU (27-2): Jimmer (25 points, 9 assists) was great again in 80-67 win at San Diego State. So were his teammates; Cougars were 14-for-24 from the arc and blocked seven shots.
4. San Diego State (27-2): Well, the Aztecs are 27-0 against everybody else. Just seemed too excited for the most important home game in school history.
5. Duke (26-3): Faded badly down the stretch and lost, 64-60, at Virginia Tech. Shot just 4-for-20 from the arc. Teams combined for only 10 turnovers.
6. Texas (24-5): Gave up a 22-point lead and lost at Colorado, 91-89. Buffs went for 58 points in the second half as star Alec Burks had 33.
7. Pittsburgh (25-4): Lost at Louisville yesterday, 62-59, in OT. Brad Wanamaker had 13 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks.
8. Notre Dame (23-5): Trailed by nine in the first half, but overwhelmed Seton Hall in the second half and won, 60-48.
9. Louisville (22-7): Cardinals are in play for a very high seed after yesterday's win over Pitt. Rick Pitino may be doing his best coaching job.
10. Florida (22-6): Lost, 76-68, at Kentucky. Nobody wins there anymore. Coach Cal is 33-0 at Rupp and just won his 500th game. Gators had won six straight and nine of 10.
11. Purdue (24-5): Romped yesterday at Michigan State, 67-47. JaJuan Johnson (20 points, 17 rebounds 7 blocks) dominated.
12. Vanderbilt (21-7): Shot 54.4 percent and won at LSU, 90-69. This team can really score.
13. Xavier (22-6): Tu Holloway had 26 points in yesterday's 66-62 win at Dayton.
14. Temple (22-6): Owls are peaking. Won 57-41 at George Washington. A real shame the injuries happened, but team is still balling.
15. Utah State (26-3): Crushed Idaho, 84-68. Shot 50 percent from the field and 26-for-30 from the foul line. Really good team without any really good wins.