College Basketball Awards: Aden, Cohen, Snaer, Kansas
A review of the week that was in college basketball focusing on the best (and worst) performances. Check in every Monday morning for our weekly awards.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Faisal Aden, Washington State Senior Guard: Aden came off of the Washington State bench to lead the Cougars to wins over two of the Pac-12’s top two teams with a combined 57 points.
In an 81-69 victory over Stanford on Thursday, Aden made 10-of-17 shots and all 13 of his free throws for 33 points. He also had five rebounds and two assists.
On Saturday, the Cougars upset league-leading Cal, 77-75 behind 24 points, two rebounds and a steal from Aden. In the victory, Aden hit nine of his 12 field goal attempts and was 6-of-7 from the foul line.
“He had a great weekend,” Washington State Ken Bone said. “He obviously played extremely confident. He was outstanding on the offensive end. Most coaches would start him.”
For the season, Aden is averaging 15.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals while shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 90 percent from the charity stripe.
Last week's winner was Matthew Dellavedova of Saint Mary's.
MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jake Cohen, Davidson Junior Forward: Cohen helped Davidson to a pair of Southern Conference with 29- and 20-point performances last week.
On Thursday, Cohen scored 29 points and grabbed 14 boards in the Wildcats’ 87-69 win over the College of Charleston. He connected on 9-of-17 field goals, including 2-of-5 from the 3-point line, and all nine of his free throws.
The junior forward then made eight of his 11 field goal attempts and 4-of-7 free throws for 20 points as Davidson blew out The Citadel 80-51 on Saturday. Cohen also had four rebounds, three blocks and two steals as the Wildcats improved to 14-4 overall and 8-0 in league play.
“I think Jake Cohen is playing at an unprecedented level for a front court player for us,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “He’s doing just about everything we’re asking of him.”
For the season, Cohen is averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. He’s shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 90.5 from the foul line.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Kansas: The No. 7 Jayhawks earned their two best wins of the season last week.
First, they knocked off previously-unbeaten and third-ranked Baylor 92-74 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas shot 57.4 percent from the floor, 54.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc and out-rebounded the Bears 36-21. Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey each earned double-doubles. Robinson had 27 points and 14 rebounds, while Withey had 10 and 10, including nine offensive boards. Tyshawn Taylor had a game-high 28 points and handed out six assists, and all five Jayhawks scored in double-figures in the win.
“I think we made a big statement tonight,” Taylor said. “I don’t know if people are sleeping on us. They know we’re good. But I don’t know if people knew what we could do.”
On Saturday, Kansas earned a big 69-66 road win at Texas. The Jayhawks led 46-34 with 15 minutes to play despite a poor shooting night. Taylor finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists in the victory.
“This is the best win we have had all year,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
With the two wins, Kansas improved to 16-3 overall and 6-0 in the Big 12.
SINGLE-GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Colt Ryan, Evansville Junior Guard: Ryan had the best performance of his career with 39 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in the Aces’ 90-67 Missouri Valley triumph over Bradley.
Ryan, who had 20 points and five rebounds in Saturday’s win over Illinois State, was 12 for 21 from the field, including 8-of-14 from deep, and 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the win over the Braves.
Ryan is sixth in the nation with a 21.1 scoring average. He’s shooting 44.8 from the floor, 45.3 from the 3-point line and 85.3 at the foul line. He’s also averaging 4.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals per contest for the 10-9 Aces.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Notre Dame 67, Syracuse 58: The 12-8 Irish took an 11-2 lead and never looked back. They led as much as 35-17 late in the first half and handed the top-rated Orange their first loss of the season.
“I can’t even describe this,” said Notre Dame junior center Jack Cooley, who had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win. “They were 20-0. I can’t put into words how amazing this is.”
Syracuse – playing without Fab Melo, who is dealing with an unspecified academic issue – shot 34 percent from the field, including 7-of-23 3-pointers, and were out-rebounded 37-24, allowing Cooley six offensive rebounds.
The Orange stay on the road tonight when they will try to avoid their first losing streak against 15-5 Cincinnati.
WIN OF THE WEEK
Missouri 89, Baylor 88: Most prognosticators figured Baylor would dominate inside and Missouri would have to hit perimeter shots to have a chance in Waco.
The Tigers and senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe had a different idea. Ratliffe hit 11-of-14 shots and grabbed eight rebounds – six on the offensive end – to help Missouri to a critical 89-88 road Big 12 road win.
The Tigers shot 54.5 percent from the field and made 10-of-12 free throws in the final minute to improve to 18-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12.
“Obviously, this was a great win for us,” Tiger first-year coach Frank Haith said. “Our guys showed tremendous poise down the stretch. Throughout the game, we played with great toughness.”
Missouri, which also got 18 points, seven assists and six steal from Flip Pressey, overcame a 29-point performance by Bears freshman Quincy Miller.
LOSS OF THE WEEK
Tennessee 60, Connecticut 57: The defending national champions dropped a pair of 3-point decisions this week, including a 60-57 loss to 9-10 Tennessee on Saturday.
The Huskies, who were playing without freshman point guard Ryan Boatright for the second straight game, made just 20 of 55 shots and got exactly zero points from their bench.
The Volunteers didn’t shoot much better at 42.3 percent, but freshman Jernell Stokes, who joined the squad following the first semester, had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the first start of his career.
“They made some big plays and defended us pretty well,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “Mainly, they just dug, scratched and clawed. They played harder than we did. That’s how they won the game.”
The Huskies are now 14-5 overall. They are 4-3 in the Big East and returned to league play at home against Notre Dame next Sunday.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Snaer’s 3 silences Cameron: Snaer, who banked in a 3-pointer from the corner to end the first half and made a floater in the lane to give the Seminoles the lead just 55 seconds earlier, sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Seminoles a 76-73 road victory over Duke, snapping the Blue Devils’ 45-game winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
After Austin Rivers hit a layup to tie the game at 73-apiece with 4.9 seconds left, Luke Loucks found a wide open Snaer, who drained the 3 to give Florida State its fourth straight win.
“When it went in, I didn’t know what to think,” Snaer said. “It was amazing.”
“The kid hit a beautiful shot,” Devils’ coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Snaer, who leads the Seminoles at 13.5 points per game, had 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal as Florida State knocked off ACC powers North Carolina and Duke in a 7-day span. The Blue Devils and Seminoles are now tied atop the league standings, a half-game ahead of North Carolina and North Carolina State.