Thursday night’s college basketball session provided three top 10 teams that put their conference lead on the line. All three teams were at home. In the AAC, Cincinnati used a second half surge to slip past UCONN to win 15 straight.
Everybody was wondering how the Arizona Wildcats would fare without Brandon Ashley for the rest of the season. So far, so good. Arizona continued to play stout defense with numerous stops late in the game.
Game of The Day
Arizona 67- Oregon 65
The Arizona Wildcats survived their first game without Brandon Ashley on Thursday night. In a hotly contested game with the Oregon Ducks, Arizona’s defense and timely shot making came through once again for the number two Wildcats.
Nick Johsnon led Arizona with 18 points, but it was his backcourt mate who hit the biggest shot of the game. T.J. McConnell had a terrible night from the field, yet he was poised enough to hit the go ahead three point with 1:30 on the clock.
The fill-in for Ashley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson contributed a 14 point 10 rebound double-double to secure the front court play. No matter who is on the court, Arizona will be one of the better defensive teams in the country.
Game of the Day II
Cincinnati 63- UCONN 58
Nobody in their wildest dreams would have guessed that Cincinnati would have a 15 game winning streak this deep into the season. However, the #7 Bearcats just followed Sean Kilpatrick’s lead to a five point victory over the hungry Huskies. Kilpatrick finished the game with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists. He played all 40 minutes and shot over 50 percent from the field.
UCONN almost pulled off the upset to keep their conference hopes alive, but that fourth loss has the Huskies way back in the pack. Shabazz Napier led three Huskies in double figures with 16.
Cincinnati is (11-0) in the AAC and they have a 2.5 game lead over twice beaten Louisville.
Michigan State 82- Penn State 67
The oft-injured Spartans kept the train rolling as star forward Adreian Payne returned from a month long hiatus. Still, Michigan State wasn’t at full strength on Thursday. Point guard, Keith Appling sat out his first game of the season, and Coach Izzo said that he’s not sure if Appling will be ready to play on Sunday night.
Payne scored 12 points in his first game back and he played 18 minutes. The star of the game was Denzel Valentine. He has another phenomenal all around game for Michigan State. With 11 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, Valentine has filled in nicely as a starter.
Michigan State was led by Kenny Kaminski’s career high 19 points.
Teams on a roll
VCU has quietly put together another solid season. At (19-4), the Rams are in the thick of the Atlantic 10 conference race with St. Louis.
SMU is getting closer to being a lock in the field of 68 this March. They blew out Temple by 23 points and have moved their record to (18-5).
Georgia State moved to (10-0) in the Sun Belt with a victory over UALR.
Belmont beat Murray State in a potential Ohio Valley conference tournament showdown. The 99-96 win gave Belmont 18 wins on the season.
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