- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Morning After is our semi-daily recap of the night's best hoops action. It wishes it had some Cheerios in the house. Or at least some Kix.
No. 2 Ohio State 75, IUPUI 64: This wasn't the biggest or most exciting game of the night -- though IUPUI made things much closer than could be considered comfortable for the Buckeyes -- but it featured the night's biggest performance from one Mr. Jared Sullinger. Sullinger, who dedicated the game to his recently deceased uncle, scored 40 points. I'm just going to stop that sentence there, because yes, 40 points. In a 40-minute game. Sullinger shot 16-of-23, added 13 rebounds, and put his name in the ring alongside Terrence Jones for the nation's best freshmen. And one of its best players, period.
Temple 68, No. 10 Georgetown 65: First of all, Temple fans, you guys were ranked in the top 25 to start the season, and you never trailed to Georgetown once on Thursday night. And you storm the court! For shame, people. For shame.
Anyway, how did Temple finish this one off? By maintaining its always-impressive defense and doing just enough on offense -- shooting at the same clip as Georgetown while turning the ball over on far fewer possessions -- to hold the Hoyas back. This is something of a blueprint for Fran Dunphy's team. Temple's never going to be an offensive powerhouse. But if you can establish stifling defense as your baseline performance, and can add a smart, low-turnover offensive style on top of it, you're going to win games against good teams like the Hoyas. That simple.
Xavier 51, Butler 49: How ugly was Butler's two-point, Ronald Nored-yielded, last-minute-free-throw-sealing loss to Xavier Thursday night. Let's count the ways: Butler and Xavier combined for 5-of-36 from beyond the arc. Xavier went 2-for-18. (Or, more accurately, Tu-for-18. Holloway was 2-for-11 from the field.) The teams averaged 50 points in a 63-possession game; both hovered around the .80 points per trip mark, which is, you know, really bad. In the end, it was an uphill battle at the finish for Butler because Xavier rebounded many more of their own misses -- 35.1 percent -- than the Bulldogs. And just as Butler needed one stop to give itself a chance at overtime and a win, Ronald Nored left his feet trying to steal the inbounds pass, landed on Mark Lyons, and gave away the one-and-one situation that would seal Butler's fate and send it to 4-4 on the season. Xavier has not been Xavier so far this season, so the loss probably pulls Butler out of the at-large bid discussion until the Bulldogs can notch a quality win somewhere along the line. If that doesn't happen, your national title runners-up -- with most of the same experienced players from last season's team -- will be reduced to winning the Horizon League conference tournament to guarantee its postseason access. 2010 has not ended as well as it began.
Everywhere else: Alex Tyus had a big game as Florida easily handled Kent State ... BU blew a 12-point lead in the first half and watched La Salle make 8-of-12 free throws down the stretch in an 84-81 home loss ... ODU crushed Maryland-Eastern Shore ... Oklahoma got to .500 on the season with a home win over Gardner-Webb ... Army beat New Hampshire ... and Keion Bell had 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists in Pepperdine's win over Redlands. "Pepperdine" and "Redlands" both sound like places I want to be. Why didn't I go to school on the West Coast?