Daily Dribble: 12/06
The difference as usual for LSU in their win over #6 Texas A&M was that they had Glen Davis, while their opponent didn't. Lost in Florida's championship, Tyler Hansbrough's Player of the Year hype, and this year's stellar class, is that Davis just might be the country's best player. Big Baby had 24 points and 9 rebounds to key the win. And this isn't one of those 24 point efforts in an up and down game where both teams are scoring into the 80's or beyond. This is 24 points in a game featuring two tight defenses, limited possessions, and where Davis' 9 field goals were almost half of LSU's 20. A&M was led by Antanas Kavaliauskas who is quietly becoming a major offensive player for Billy Gillispie. The big Lithuanian added 18 points a game after setting a career high with 23 against Pacific.
Impressive 77-67 win by Washington State over #18 Gonzaga. The Cougars are now 8-1, off to their best start in a decade.. and should improve to 10-1 with winnable games against Idaho and CS Northridge coming up. But lets not forget WSU started 9-3 last year including a win over #12 Washington.. before freefalling to a 2-14 finish.
The key for WSU is simply scoring the ball.. my quick research shows that WSU has lost only 1 game since the beginning of the 03-04 season when they've scored 70+ points. That one game was in January of 2005 against UCLA.
Out in New York City, the Jimmy V Classic featured two entertaining games and 4 entertaining teams. In the first game, Oklahoma State barely held on to what was a 13 point lead with just a few minutes to go. Mario Boggan led the 10-0 Cowboys with 21 points, but it was JamesOn Curry (18 points) that hit a big three in the final minute to lock up the win. A sick Eric Devendorf missed the 2nd half, but hot shooting Demetris Nichols and freshman Paul Harris keyed the comeback. Harris only finished with 11 points on 2 of 7 shooting, but he showed flashes of the physical strength and agressiveness that make him a special talent.
In the 2nd game, #15 Arizona handled Louisville comfortably behind 22 and 13 from Ivan Radenovic. Radenovic, averaging 19 ppg now while shooting almost 50% from three, is certainly improving his NBA Draft stock daily. The NBA salivates over big men who can shoot the ball like he can. For Louisville, the big news despite the loss was that Derrick Caracter finally played. The heralded big man ended up with 6 points and 7 boards in 11 minutes before fouling out. Forgetting the fouling issue.. Caracter looked amazing physically. He's supposedly down to 267 pounds, and easily looked in the best shape that I've ever seen him. Don't forget, this is a guy who just a couple of years back was THE player in this class.. and he still has the talent to make a major impact.
The other ranked teams in action were #1 UCLA and #20 Marquette. UCLA struggled early, but eventually cruised to a 78-54 win over CS Fullerton. Marquette cruised to a 17 point win over Delaware State.
Northern Iowa looked lost early against 4-5 Iowa, but eventually came back for an important 57-55 victory, their first ever in Iowa City. Eric Coleman scored 21 for the Panthers, who have now swept in-state rivals Iowa State and Iowa. UNI doesn't play a BCS team the rest of the year, so this was a big win for their potential at-large hopes. Their 7-1 record is solid, and the lone loss at Washington is nothing to be ashamed of.
Not to be outdone by Oklahoma State, Clemson blew out Wofford to join the Cowboys with a 10-0 record. The Tigers are still probably a couple weeks away from playing a loseable game..
After starting 0-2, Temple has quietly bounced back by winning 3 in a row. Dustin Salisbery exploded for a career high 34 points in the Owls win over Western Michigan. The senuior's previous high was 27 points, which he set back in his freshmen year against Dayton. Salisery and Dionte Christmas have done a nice job picking up the scoring slack with Mark Tyndale still ineligible for 10 more days due to academic issues.
He might not get the publicity of a Greg Oden and his team doesn't get the name recognition of a Michigan State.. but Purdue's Carl Landry might be making a run at Big Ten Player of the Year. Alando Tucker's still doing his thing for Wisconsin to the tune of 19 points per game.. but Landry's averages of 19 points and 8 boards for 7-1 Purdue are equally impressive. The Boilermakers cruised to a 78-62 win over Loyola Chicago and are now just 2 wins away from last year's total of 9.
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