#4 Kansas clinched their eighth consecutive Big 12 title with a wild 87-86 overtime win over #3 Missouri, placing head coach Bill Self in some esteemed company. Here are today's "Quick Hitters":
Late offensive fouls and the foul line made the difference in the first meeting between #5 Kansas (23-5, 13-2) and #3 Missouri (25-3, 12-3), with the Tigers gaining the edge in both categories and ultimately winning 74-71. There's a lot more on the line in the rematch as the Jayhawks can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title with a win, but a Missouri win would not only move the Tigers into a tie for first but also give them the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker.
After winning their first three MAAC games (two of which were played in December), Sydney Johnson's Fairfield (17-11, 12-4) Stags lost three straight league games and looked to be anything but a contender for the regular season title. Well the players have looked more comfortable with their first-year head coach, and sure enough here are the Stags sitting just a game out of first place heading into the final weekend of league play.
In the game of the night Duke rode the hot shooting of Andre Dawkins and the playmaking of Austin Rivers to avenge an earlier loss to Florida State, winning 74-66 in Tallahassee.
With their three most important big men all in foul trouble in the first half, #4 Duke could have been in some trouble at #16 Florida State on Thursday night. But Florida State was unable to take advantage of this offensively, and the Seminoles were unable to corral Andre Dawkins or Austin Rivers either. Dawkins was on fire in the first half as he knocked down five of seven three-pointers (18 points) on his way to a 22-point night and Rivers added 20 in Duke's 74-66 victory.
There's the perception that the trip to Tallahassee has been a nightmare for #4 Duke (23-4, 10-2) in recent years, but while it is a tough trip the Blue Devils hadn't lost there since 2006 before their 66-61 loss last January. On the line tonight is a share of first place (with North Carolina), a position few expected #16 Florida State (19-7, 10-2) to be in as they were struggling in November and December.
In the big game of the night #18 Notre Dame continued their run with a 71-44 beating of West Virginia in South Bend.
In the first meeting between #18 Notre Dame and West Virginia the Fighting Irish didn't get going until late, when three three-pointers pushed them past the Mountaineers in Morgantown. Mike Brey's team got going offensively much sooner in the rematch, as a two-point lead at the half turned into a 71-44 whipping, moving their win streak to nine. This marks the first time in school history that the Irish have won nine straight Big East games, and by the game this young team has the look of a group that can make some noise next month.
This eight-day stretch for Colorado State has the potential to be a season-defining on as Tim Miles' team faces all three of the teams ahead of them in the Mountain West standings. Thanks to Pierce Hornung the Rams are off to a good start, as the senior accounted for 13 points, 15 rebounds and four steals in the 71-63 win at Moby Arena. About a month ago the Lobos embarrassed Colorado State at The Pit, doing whatever they pleased in an 85-52 laugher that was part of a 2-5 stretch for the Rams.