PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Drew Gordon, New Mexico Senior Forward: Gordon scored 17 points and snatched 17 boards in Wednesday’s 77-67 upset win at No. 13 San Diego State on Wednesday – and that wasn’t even his best performance of the week.
On Saturday, Gordon led the Lobos to a 65-45 win over No. 11 UNLV – and a 2-game lead in the Mountain West Conference – with 27 points and 20 rebounds. Gordon, who went 13-for-20 from the field, scored 10 straight points during as 16-1 run as New Mexico outscored the Rebels 29-9 in the final 12 minutes.
“He put on a performance that hasn’t been seen in this place in a long time, if ever,” New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. “He was 27-20 against not just a team, but a team in the top-15 in the country. That’s pretty special.”
In the victory, Gordon became the fifth player in the last 20 years to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds against a ranked team. For the season, the senior forward is averaging 12.7 points (on 51.7 percent shooting), 11.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.
MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State Junior Guard: Wolters continued his impressive season with two more incredible all-around performances in a pair of Jackrabbit wins last week.
On Wednesday, Wolters hit 14 of his 18 field goal attempts and went for 30 points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals in South Dakota State’s 80-57 Summit League win over rival North Dakota State.
“Nate’s a great player,” SDSU coach Scott Nagy said. “If he’s making jump shots, he’s nearly impossible to guard.”
Wolters then had a 22-point, 8-assist, 6-rebound performance as the Jackrabbits ripped Buffalo, 86-65 as part of the BracketBuster. Wolters is averaging 21.8 points, 6.1 assists, five rebounds and 1.6 steals this season.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Wichita State: The Shockers ended last week with a 21-point romp over rival Creighton to take over first place in the Missouri Valley.
WSU then clinched at least a share of the MVC regular-season championship with a 73-58 win over Missouri State on Wednesday, then shot 64 percent from the field in a road victory over Southern Conference leader Davidson on Saturday for its sixth straight win.
“This gives us a quality win and will enable us to move up, if not (into) the top-15, then the top-20,” Shockers junior Demetric Williams told the Associated Press.
Joe Ragland scored 30 points – on 11-of-14 shooting – and grabbed seven boards in Saturday’s win.
“How about 30 points on 14 shots?” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall asked. “You talk about efficiency.”
The Shockers, who have also won 14 of their last 15, can clinch the outright league title with a win at Illinois State on Wednesday.
SINGLE-GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Doug McDermott, Creighton Sophomore Forward: McDermott led a BracketBuster comeback 81-79 win over Long Beach State on Saturday.
The Blue Jays trailed 76-69 with five minutes left. McDermott didn’t miss a shot from the field or the foul line in the second half, leading Creighton back during his 36-point, 11 rebound performance. Antoine Young capped the rally with a game-winning shot with one second left as Creighton improved to 23-5 on the season.
“Doug was on a mission tonight,” Creighton coach and Doug’s father, Greg McDermott said. “I felt his effort on the backboards fueled the rest of his game. Doug went and got some offensive rebounds and was able to finish plays.”
McDermott, who is second in the nation at 23.2 points per game, hit 14 of his 20 field goal attempts in the win. For the season, he’s shooting 61.7 percent from the field, 48.9 from the 3-point line and 83.3 from the foul line. He’s also averaging 8.3 rebounds.
WIN OF THE WEEK
Murray State 65, Saint Mary’s 51: Three days after clinching the Ohio Valley regular-season championship with a 75-66 win at Southeast Missouri, the 14th-ranked Racers left little doubt that it would be a factor in March with a 14-point win over the No. 16 Gaels on Saturday.
“This is definitely a confidence-builder,” MSU senior Jewuan Long told the AP. “It’s a ranked team, so it lets you know that you are as good as the rankings say you are. It gives us confidence to know we can play with other teams in bigger conferences, so we definitely have more confidence.”
Isaiah Canaan scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half and the Racers shot 58 percent from the floor, including 9-of-17 from the 3-point line in Saturday’s win.
The OVC champions have a chance to avenge their only loss of the season on Thursday when they travel to Tennessee State, which defeated the Racers 72-68 on Feb. 9.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Kansas State 57, Baylor 56: Kansas State was in need of a big win – and it got it Saturday. Jordan Henriquez hit a layup with 1:55 to go and the Wildcats held Baylor scoreless the rest of the way, surviving a Quincy Miller 5-footer in the final seconds.
Kansas State, which had lost to Baylor in the final seconds in a 75-73 game on Jan. 10, evened its record at 7-7 in the Big 12 with the win, putting the Wildcats in a fifth-place tie with Texas.
Freshman Angel Rodriguez led the Wildcats with 15 points, six assists, four steals and a rebound in the win. The loss was Baylor’s first against an unranked team this season.
LOSS OF THE WEEK
Duke 78, North Carolina State 73: The Wolfpack had a chance to get a signature road win, but they couldn’t hold onto a 20 points lead in the final 12 minutes.
Duke had late 13-0 and 20-3 runs to erase the NC State lead and remain on top of the ACC. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack, who were later blown out at home by Florida State on Saturday, are fighting for their NCAA lives at 7-5 in league play.
“Well, I would say a tough night for us … a tough finish,” NC State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We have to be better late in games.”
PLAY OF THE WEEK
McCollum’s shot gets Lehigh back in Patriot League race: With his team tied with Bucknell tied at 53, there was no doubt who was going to take the shot for Lehigh.
McCollum, who led the Mountain Hawks in scoring (15), rebounding (7), assists (3), steals (3) and blocked shots (1), controlled the ball for the final 15 seconds. The junior guard, who is averaging 21.5 points and 6.7 rebounds, let the 3-point shot fly over Bucknell’s Cameron Ayers and found nothing but net with a half-second remaining to draw the Hawks within a game of the Bison in the Patriot League.
“I knew I was going to take the last shot,” McCollum said. “I just tried to make a play and luckily it went in.”