College Basketball Nation: Portland

Behind the box scores: Wednesday's games

March, 1, 2012
A scan of the college basketball box scores each night guarantees all kinds of statistical oddities and standout performances. Here are some we found from Wednesday.

Portland 74, Santa Clara 70
Santa Clara committed just one turnover, the fewest by any team in a loss this season. The Broncos committed the lone turnover down two points with seven seconds left in the game. The previous team to commit no more than one turnover in a loss was Fairfield on Feb. 12, 2009 against Marist.

Cincinnati 72, Marquette 61
Cincinnati’s Justin Jackson blocked seven shots in 13 minutes off the Bearcats’ bench. That’s tied for the second-most blocks by a substitute this season, but Jackson did it in the fewest minutes played. The last player to block seven shots in 13 minutes played was Rutgers’ Hamady N’Diaye on Feb. 10, 2007 against Cincinnati.

UNC 88, Maryland 64
UNC’s Tyler Zeller made 20 of 23 free throw attempts in the victory, tying him with Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham and Oklahoma State’s Keiton Page for the most made free throws in a game this season. Zeller broke Tyler Hansbrough’s Smith Center record with the 20 makes, which was also one shy of both UNC’s and the ACC’s all-time record.

Seattle 111, Longwood 74
Seattle’s Sterling Carter scored 28 points in only 16 minutes of action. The last player to score that many points in that few minutes played was North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside on Nov. 18, 2008 (also 28 points in 16 minutes).

Mercer 61, Lipscomb 53
Lipscomb’s Deonte Alexander shot 4-for-22 from the field (18.2 percent) in the loss. That’s the worst shooting performance this season for a player with at least 20 attempts.

Lehigh 70, Colgate 57
Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum recorded seven steals in the win, tied for the third-most takeaways by a player this season.
The Morning After is our semi-daily recap of the night's best action. Thought for the morning: Even if you have to work on Saturday, Friday still feels awesome. That never goes away. Why is that? What's so special about this day? Anyway, per the usual, try not to make it awkward.

No. 7 Purdue 78, Indiana 75: It's hard to say when Indiana fans are going to start feeling discouraged by games like Thursday night's loss to highly ranked and obviously superior rival Purdue, when they won't be able to take moral victories away from losses like this, when their patience will eventually run out. It isn't happening yet, and it shouldn't -- and last night's game proved why. Sure, the Hoosiers didn't pull out the victory. But for a team that started last year's season with one returning player, and is relying on freshmen and sophomores and two transfers, lost its high scorer and most promising youngster Maurice Creek to a kneecap fracture in late December, to stay with Purdue up to a last-second Verdell Jones three that hit the front rim, well, that's an accomplishment. The Hoosiers played hard. They never gave up. The crowd was rocking. For a moment, you could forget the Hoosiers were still in rebuilding mode; the team and the arena and everyone else seemed to forget it too. It was just Purdue-Indiana, just like the good old days. That this was even possible is a testament to the job Tom Crean has done at IU. He hasn't been perfect, to be sure, but if teams take on the personality of their coaches, Crean is one hard-working, thorough, and determined dude -- and IU will be back in the top 20 sooner rather than later.

Give some credit to the Boilermakers, too. It's not easy to win in Assembly Hall, even when the team there isn't vintage Indiana. This year's Boilermakers are the first team to do so since 1999. How'd they do it? They kept up with a torrid Hoosiers offense with buckets of their own, and they took advantage of their size and athleticism by getting to the rim and getting fouled. (Purdue posted a 50 percent free throw rate. Shooting this many free throws is helpful.) It was an impressive win, the Boilermakers' fifth in a row.

No. 9 Duke 86, No. 19 Georgia Tech 67: Take a good long look at Duke's four factors output from last night's blowout win over Georgia Tech. It's crazy. A 55.4 FG percentage. An 18.2 percent turnover rate. A 45.9 percent offensive rebounding rate. A 64.3 percent (!!) free throw rate. Do any one of these things, and your offense should be in good shape; do all three of them, and you can chalk up 1.3 points per trip, which is what the Dukies somewhat insanely did last night. No wonder Pomeroy's numbers still love this team so much: They are efficient. Whether they can put together these sorts of performances on the road is a different question. Andy Katz made a good point last night: Duke, despite being a less talented team than Kansas, never seems to get pushed the same way Kansas does at home. That's a huge home court advantage; no wonder Coach K didn't schedule any real non-conference road games other than the one required by Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Kansas can take its show on the road this year. Duke hasn't. The Dukies are 14-0 in Cameron Indoor Stadium and 1-4 outside it. Do the Crazies really matter that much? Are Duke's shooters just that used to Cameron's rims? Duke is an awfully good team, but it's weird they can't prove it off-campus.

Everywhere else: In other "road conference games are hard to win" news, Tennessee hit a drought at the wrong time Thursday night, scoring a mere seven points in the last eight minutes at LSU but avoiding the upset all the same, winning 59-54. ... Portland can call itself a victim of scheduling: The Pilots are a solid team capable of upsetting Gonzaga, but not right after a Gonzaga loss. ... Butler went to 12-0 in the Horizon with a hard-fought home win over Detroit. Gordon Hayward led with 18 points and 10 boards. ... Florida continues to get the benefit of buzzer-beating shots. Erving Walker's jumper with 11 seconds left lifted the Gators to a one-point win at Alabama. ... It might be time to pay attention to Maryland again. The Terps went on the road for their latest ACC win, topping Florida State in Tallahassee, and are 5-2 in the conference, and one game behind rival Duke, which should make Feb. 13's trip to Cameron Indoor mighty interesting. ... Notre Dame beat Cincinnati handily in South Bend. ... For more on last night's Pac-10 results, check out Diamond and Andy's posts early this morning.

Saddle Up: Time to test Tech

February, 4, 2010
Saddle Up is our nightly preview of the hoops your TV wants you to watch. Oh, come on. You can always record the new "Parks and Recreation." Catch it after the games! Anyway, here's Thursday night's rundown.

No. 19 Georgia Tech at No. 9 Duke, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2: Purdue's rivalry showdown with Indiana will be on the main network tonight, but those of you unconcerned with Midwestern hoops provincialism will probably be more interested in this. It's a good one: Georgia Tech toppled Duke back before Duke's road woes were an apparent problem, back when Duke's record matched its gaudy efficiency numbers. Since then, Georgia Tech has become even more confusing: Is this the team that loses at Virginia? Or the team that wins at UNC? And what does a tight road loss at Florida State, followed by an all-cylinders-pumping home blowout of Wake Forest really mean? I have no idea. Georgia Tech is an enigma -- a dynamic squad with enough young talent (look no further than freshman Derrick Favors here) to compete for the ACC title, but who has put it all together once or twice thus far. Tonight's a legitimate chance for the Jackets to show us who they really are. Win at Duke, and the rest is gravy.

No. 7 Purdue at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: You've already heard plenty about What It All Means, what the rivalry says about the state of Indiana, and why, despite the Hoosiers' post-Kelvin Sampson morass, this is still a hot ticket in the Midwest. You'll no doubt hear plenty more of it tonight. For now, let's focus on the hoops. Since dropping three in a row to start the Big Ten season, Purdue has rattled off four straight wins. Much has been made of Purdue's lack of a "true" point guard, but the Boilermakers' best quality is that they never turn the ball over; they're the No. 7 team in the country in that all-important tally.

Purdue is also more than capable at turning other teams over, and that just so happens to be Indiana's worst quality -- the Hoosiers give the ball away on 22.3 percent of their possessions. Indiana is not as incapable of upset wins as last year. If the Hoosiers keep turnovers low and make enough shots to keep Purdue within striking distance, they have a chance. And hey, the home crowd never hurts; Indiana is much better in Assembly Hall than it is away from it. Still no one would expect Indiana to win this game, and the numbers back that up. The Boilermakers are tough, physical, and experienced, all qualities IU is still figuring out. This is a great rivalry, to be sure. Whether this year's version will live up to that history is less certain.

Everywhere else: You would have been forgiven for thinking Tennessee's season was effectively over after the Tyler Smith fiasco; you, me, and everyone else would have been wrong. The Vols are still in the Top 25, still fighting for the SEC title and still a viable NCAA tourney team. They'll try to keep their surprising run going with a visit to LSU, which has a chance to prove its not actually the worst major conference team in the country. ... Portland is one of Gonzaga's few fellow contenders in the WCC; pity for the Pilots they're stuck playing Gonzaga just after the Zags dropped their first conference game of the year. ... Butler welcomes a surprisingly tough Detroit team to Indianapolis; the return of former Indiana characters Eli Holman (who famously threw a potted plant in Tom Crean's office) and coach Ray McCallum should be interesting. ... Maryland will try to get back to its early ACC form with a tough road visit to Florida State. ... How could it possibly get any worse for UNC? Losing to Virginia Tech and going to 2-5 in the ACC would be a start. ... Finally, in the Pac-10, Cal will travel to USC and attempt to get a game up on Arizona in the conference standings; meanwhile, Arizona will have a daunting task at Washington.