Inside the numbers behind Thursday’s top performances:
1. On Wednesday, Marshon Brooks became the first player with 20 field goals against a D-I team since Lee Nailon in 1997. On Thursday, Bryant’s Alex Francis made it two days in a row. Francis shot 20-for-27 from the field on his way to 43 points, though Bryant fell to Long Island 94-85. It’s the most by a Bryant player since moving to Division I, and third most in school history. It comes one game after he scored just one point against Sacred Heart. There are a couple of other things that made this performance particularly interesting. First, Francis is just a freshman. His 43 points are the most by a freshman since Michael Beasley scored 44 against Baylor in 2008. But Francis also came off the bench in this one, although he did play 34 minutes. His performance is tied for the second-most points off the bench against a D-I team in the past 15 seasons.
2. Centenary finally picked up its first win of the season on Thursday, beating Western Illinois 73-60. With the win, the Gentlemen snapped a 33-game losing streak, improved to 1-28, and picked up their first win in more than a year. Centenary’s last win was on Feb. 6, 2010, over IPFW. It also marked the first win in Adam Walsh’s D-I coaching career. It means that Towson now owns the longest active losing streak in the nation. The Tigers have dropped 17 straight after starting 4-7. Most importantly, this win allows us to use the transitive property of winning. Centenary > Western Illinois > North Dakota State > UMKC > IUPUI > Oakland > Tennessee > Villanova > Louisville > St. John’s > Duke.
3. Arizona only had two assists in a 65-57 loss to USC that snapped an eight-game win streak. It marked the fewest assists for the Wildcats in the past 15 seasons. The previous low was three against Ole Miss in the 2001 NCAA tournament. The Wildcats came into the game averaging 14.6 assists and hadn’t had fewer than nine in a game. Lamont Jones was the only Wildcats starter with an assist, and his didn’t come until nearly eight minutes into the second half.
4. Marquette on Thursday picked up a much-needed win against a ranked team, topping Connecticut 74-67 in overtime. Marquette was playing its 12th game against an AP Top 25 team. No other team has played more than 10. The Golden Eagles entered the game 14-2 against unranked teams and 2-9 against ranked foes. Darius Johnson-Odom outscored the entire Huskies team in overtime, scoring nine of his 17 points. He was 0-for-7 from 3-point range, but hit 7-for-9 inside the arc. Marquette’s 37.1 field goal percentage is its lowest in the past 15 years when beating a ranked team on the road.
5. Pittsburgh’s bid for a No. 1 seed got even stronger on Thursday after defeating West Virginia 71-58. Pittsburgh improved to 7-2 against the RPI Top 25, the most such wins in the nation. Georgetown, Notre Dame and St. John’s are next with six each. West Virginia’s starting lineup combined to go 10-for-36 (27.8 percent) from the field in the loss. Pittsburgh controlled the second half, shooting 65.2 percent compared to just 26.1 percent for the Mountaineers.