Basketball's a team game of course.. but ultimately games are won and lost due to the impact of individuals. Here's a look at the best and worst.. or at least most important individual performances of another fun Saturday.
Mario Boggan (Oklahoma State) - Apparently Boggan saves himself for really close, multiple overtime games. 3 weeks back, Boggan had the huge 37 point, 20 rebound effort in the Cowboys epic 105-103 win over Texas in triple-OT. In the five games after that, OSU went just 2-3 and Boggan averaged a pedestrian 16 points and 7 boards. He was back to his epic ways yesterday with 35 points and 14 boards in a big double-OT win over Texas Tech.
Chase Budinger (Arizona) - Coming off the worst game of his career (4 points and 1 board in 29 minutes), Budinger exploded for 30 and 10 in a big win over Oregon. The Ducks upset the Cats in Tucson a month back (the game that started Arizona's free fall) and Budinger did nothing in that game (4 points and 3 boards). With the worst games of his life clearly on his mind, the heralded freshman clearly was out to prove something yesterday.
Derrick Caracter (Louisville) - After sitting out the past six games, and having played only 8 games overall, Caracter poured in 16 points and 10 boards in an easy win over South Florida. Caracter was a consensus top 15 prospect but lets say he's been hindered by character issues. It will be interesting to see if Caracter can consistently contribute the rest of the way.
Darren Collison (UCLA) - Collison hurt his shoulder at the end of UCLA's win over USC during the week.. and its no surprise the Bruins lost yesterday without him. A random winter trip to West Virginia is tough enough already. Arron Afflalo (27 and 9) had his best game of the season, but it wasn't enough without their point guard leader.
AJ Graves (Butler) - Butler's leading scorer had his worst game of the season as the Bulldogs lost to surprising Wright State. He was just 3 of 16 from the floor and 1 for 9 from three. See more about this game in the Dahaun Wood capsule.
Josh Heytvelt (Gonzaga) - Worst performance of the day goes to the sophomore forward who was arrested for possession of marijuana and shrooms. Heytvelt and Theo Davis will be suspended for the rest of the season, and the inconsistent Zags will obviously miss him. Its possible he could be reinstated depending on what happens.. but this is a big ouch.
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) - Georgetown obviously is known for its great big man lineage.. and Hibbert's been putting up Ewing like numbers over the past 2 weeks. He had 23 and 11 in yesterday's win over Marquette. 20 and 11 against Louisville, and then 26 and 11 two games before against Cincy. You often never know which Hibbert will show up.. the 20 and 10 guy? or the 2 and 3 guy (see Villanova on 1/8)? The way and he and Jeff Green are playing right now, the Hoyas will be a tough out against anybody.
Ron Lewis & Daequan Cook (OSU) - The Buckeyes have won 9 straight, but it seems like they've struggled at times and still aren't playing up to their championship-caliber potential. The play of Lewis and Cook is a big reason why. Pre-Oden, these guys were both consistently scoring in the 15 ppg range and occasionaly popping in 20 or more. Since November 29th, Lewis hasn't scored more than 14, and Cook hasn't scored more than 13 since December 30th. The two combined for 13 yesterday on just 4 of 13 shooting. Ohio State should put away teams at home, but they can't put anyone away unless those guys are scoring the ball.
Matt Shaw (Southern Illinois) - Kind of like Roy Hibbert above, you never know what you're going to get out of the Salukis junior forward. Most games Shaw is content to rebound, play D, and be a solid contributor. But every few weeks Shaw has a game like last night where he scored 25 points in a big home win over Creighton. The Salukis are now alone in first place in the MVC with an 12-3 record.
Dashaun Wood (Wright State) - The Raiders upset #10 Butler yesterday and are one of the hottest and most surprising teams in the country. Wood is Wright State's best player and they needed every one of his 30 points, 7 boards, and 6 assists to beat Butler. WSU is now tied with Butler atop the Horizon League standings with just 2 regular season conference games left.
Julian Wright (Kansas) - The sophomore forward had a career day with 33 points and 12 boards in a win over Missouri. Despite the gaudy numbers, Wright's best game of the season still might be the 21 and 10 he added in a much more competitive and meaningful win over Florida.
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