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
Brandon Davies, BYU Junior Forward: Davies scored 63 points and grabbed 42 rebounds during the Cougars’ 2-1 week.
In Tuesday’s win over Cal State-San Marcos, he finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. In Thursday’s 98-82 loss to St. Mary’s, Davies added 28 points, seven rebounds, five steals and a block.
The junior forward saved his finest performance for Saturday when he put up 21 points and ripped down 22 boards in BYU’s 88-52 victory over San Diego. The 22 rebounds was the most by a Cougar since Steve Trumbo’s 23 in January of 1982. His 20-20 performance was BYU’s first since 1974-75.
“His mindset is to help the team win any way he can, and when he’s playing that, we are hard to beat,” Cougar senior Charles Abuou said.
MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
C.J. McCollum, Lehigh Junior Guard: McCollum – one of the nation’s best rebounding guards – earned his 14th-career double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the Mountain Hawks’ 76-67 at St. Peter’s on Wednesday. He also had 5 assists and two steals as Lehigh improved to 10-4.
On Saturday, McCollum exploded for 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting, 3-of-7 from 3-point range and 5-of-5 from the foul line. McCollum, who had five rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win, scored 20 of the Mountain Hawks’ 37 first-half points.
For the season, the 6-3 guard is averaging 20 points, six rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.3 steals per contest.
SINGLE-GAME PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Moe Harkless, St. John’s Freshman Forward: Harkless gave Red Storm fans a glimpse of the future with an eyebrow-raising 32-point, 13-rebound performance in Monday’s 91-67 win over Providence in Monday’s Big East opener. The St. John’s freshman made 14 of his 17 field goal attempts and added four assists and four steals.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Cincinnati: The Bearcats went unbeaten without Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbody and Octavius Ellis, including this week’s victories over Oklahoma (56-55) and at Pittsburgh (66-63) in their Big East opener.
Using a four-guard offense for much of the six games, Cincinnati shot nearly 47 percent from the field.
Sean Kilpatrick, Dion Dixon, Cashmere Wright and Jaquon Parker, who had 21 points in the win over Pitt, have each taken turns carrying the Bearcats during the winning streak.
“I’m just proud of my team,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. “They give extreme effort at all times. They are very easy to coach right now.”
“This is what UC basketball is all about,” Kilpatrick said. “We ground out wins any way we can. We scrap and we just run. That’s what we’re all about.”
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Princeton 75, Florida State 73, 3OT: Ian Hummer and Douglas Davis each scored 25 points as the Tigers went into Tallahassee and came away with a big road victory.
Princeton led 27-10 at the half and the game went into overtime at 47-aside. The Tigers then outscored the heavily-favored Seminoles 15-13 in the third overtime to improve to 7-7.
“The first half was crucial,” said Hammer, who also had 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. “I think it really shows the character of our team to come in on the road against a very good ACC team. To withstand a triple overtime win, it shows a lot of character. Hopefully we bring that into league play.”
WIN OF THE WEEK
Missouri State 77, Creighton 65: The defending Missouri Valley regular-season champions knocked off this year’s league favorite in both teams’ MVC openers.
The Bears beat Creighton twice a year ago, including a 67-66 victory on a Kyle Weems last-second shot in their second meeting. Weems was the culprit again this year. The reigning MVC Player of the year poured in a career-high 31 points to help down the No. 19 Blue Jays.
“Anybody who watched (the game), it’s clear the tougher team won,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “They were first to the floor. They were more aggressive on both ends of the floor. They knew where they wanted to get the ball, and they got it there, and we didn’t do much to fight it.”
LOSS OF THE WEEK
Cincinnati 66, Pittsburgh 63: Sunday’s loss was Pitt’s third straight, including two Big East games and two at home, where the Panthers have been nearly unbeatable in the past.
“We can’t make excuses,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon told the Associated Press. “We need to find a way. We have the guys to get it done.”
The Panthers, who are 11-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play, have lost three times at the Peterson Events Center, where they were 166-13 all-time heading into this season.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Stanford’s Josh Huestis’ block of Lazeric Jones in the final seconds of the Cardinal’s 60-59 win: UCLA had 12 chances to take the lead in the second half Thursday against Stanford – and failed on all 12 tries.
Huestis made certain the Bruins didn’t take their first lead in the waning seconds. The Cardinal sophomore swatted Jones’ free throw line jumper with three seconds left to lift Stanford to a 60-59 win in its Pac-12 opener.
“All I can say is it was an unbelievable finish for us,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “I thought that the last possession, Josh Huestis came up as big as a young man could come up in that situation.”
“That’s a memorable one,” Huestis told the Associated Press. “Having that power to know that you can stop someone from taking the game-winning shot is a great feeling.”
Jones led all scorers with 26 points.
THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL LIST
THE NATION’S BEST UNHERALDED PLAYERS
Players who will never be All-Americans but make their teams better simply by stepping on the floor:
1. Brian Conklin, St. Louis PF (Sr.): Conklin is a college basketball coach’s dream. He shows up every night, shoots high percentages, plays defense and is clutch. He has nearly doubled his career scoring average (15.4 ppg this season), is shooting 66 percent from the field and 86 percent from the line. Conklin has only shot below 50 percent twice this season.
2. Lewis Jackson, Purdue PG (Sr.): Jackson rarely lights up the scoreboard, but he’s a great college basketball player in every other way. He penetrates and passes as well as about any other point guard in the country, and he may be the best on-ball defender for a point guard in the Big Ten. Yes, that includes Ohio State’s Aaron Craft.
3. Larry Anderson, Long Beach State SG (Sr.): Casper Ware and T.J. Robinson get the headlines, but the 49ers would not have beaten Pitt and Xavier without Anderson. The senior only takes good shots and makes them. He’s also a stellar passer and rebounder. Anderson ranks in the top 3 in scoring (15.1 ppg), rebounding (4.5), assists (3.5), steals (1.5), blocks (0.5) and leads the team in field goal percentage (53.5) and 3-point percentage (44.9).
4. Joe Burton, Oregon State PF (Jr.): Burton doesn’t look like a great basketball player and he doesn’t score a lot, but the Beaver junior does all of the little things. He rebounds hard (6.5 per game), plays defense (1.4 spg) and may be the nation’s best passing big man (a team-best 3.7 apg).
5. Romero Osby, Oklahoma SF (Jr.): Like Conklin, Osby is having a breakout season. At 10.8 points per game, he is more than doubling his career scoring averaging after transferring from Mississippi State. He is a rebounding machine, grabbing at least 10 boards in seven games this season, including an 18-rebound performance in the Sooners’ win over South Carolina State. Osby is averaging a team-best 8.8 rebounds for the 10-2 Sooners.