Five things to know from Thursday’s action:
Courtney Fortson scored 33 of his career-high 35 points in the second half in Arkansas’ win over Mississippi State. Coming into the game a 32.6-percent shooter, Fortson was 9-for-17 from the field and 14-for-18 from the line. With two SEC wins, the Razorbacks have matched their total from a season ago. For Fortson, who sat out the first 14 games of the season, it was just the fourth win in the last 22 games in which he has appeared.
Don’t look now, but South Florida has won back-to-back Big East games (and three of four) for the first time since joining the conference. The Bulls are a win away from matching last season’s total of four conference wins, their most since joining the Big East. After beating Seton Hall Thursday, the Bulls have won back-to-back overtime games by a combined six points. This comes after being 1-16 all-time in Big East games decided by five points or fewer. The biggest reason is Dominique Jones. The junior played every minute in both OT games and is averaging 28.6 ppg over his last seven.
Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried became the seventh player this season to register a 20-point, 20-rebound game in a win at Tennessee State. Morehead State has now won 11-straight games, the second longest active win streak in the nation. Over that span, Faried has registered at least 12 rebounds in every game and is averaging 17.4 ppg and 15.5 rpg. He is the nation’s leading rebounder at 13.7 rpg playing on a team that ranks fourth in the nation in rebounding differential.
After crushing Duquesne 86-50, Xavier has won 28-straight conference home games, the second longest streak in A-10 history. For the Dukes, it was the same old story, shooting just 4-for-24 from 3-point range. Duquesne is the worst 3-point shooting team in the nation at just 24.8 percent. The Dukes have only shot better than 30 percent from long distance five times this season, and they are 5-0 in those games. Yet, Duquesne is still averaging over 20 attempts per game, and every player in the starting lineup in averaging at least two attempts. To make matters worse, the Dukes are also the seventh worst free throw shooting team in the nation.
Not too long ago Arizona State was 4-2 in the Pac-10 heading into a three-game homestand that could have separated them from the pack. But after losing to California, the Sun Devils have lost their first two games of the homestand, as their notoriously strong defense has failed them. Prior to this losing streak, Arizona State had the nation’s top scoring defense, allowing only 54.7 ppg. They’ve since given up 77 and 78 in back-to-back games where their opponent shot over 50 percent. It hasn’t all been their fault though. Arizona and Cal combined to shoot 90.5 percent from the line in those games.