As the game became more and more lopsided, Kasey Hill (6'1''-G-93) looked up at the scoreboard and wondered if Florida could stretch it to 30. Against Kentucky, no less. "It was one of our goals," Hill later admitted. "We didn't let it be known, but we were trying to do it." Hill matched a career high with 21 points, Devin Robinson (6'8''-F-95) added 16 and No. 24 Florida beat eighth-ranked Kentucky 88-66 Saturday night, giving second-year coach Mike White the breakthrough win he wanted. "I didn't know it was going to be like that," Robinson said. "But we knew we were going to win." The Gators (18-5, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) ended a five-game losing streak in the series and picked up their first win in four tries against ranked teams this season. Florida improved to 2-10 against ranked teams under White, winning for the first time since upsetting West Virginia in January 2016. The most telling stat: Florida outrebounded Kentucky 54-29. But the biggest difference was Hill, who sliced through Kentucky's zone and made things happen for the Gators. He added five rebounds and six assists in one of the most complete games of his four-year career. "He made shots, he got in the lane, one of the quickest guards in the country," said guard De'Aaron Fox (6'4''-G-97),, who returned from missing a game with an illness and led Kentucky with 19 points. "The big part was he was making jumpers, and when he's making jumpers, it's extremely hard to stop him." Hill made five in a row at one point. "That happens against us," coach John Calipari said. "Guys have beer muscles. All of a sudden they're better than they are." Florida led from the opening tip and really pulled away with a 13-0 spurt in the second half that had the packed O'Connell Center rocking like it was 2007. Robinson started the run with a 3-pointer from the wing, and John Egbunu (6'11''-C) followed with a powerful dunk. Chris Chiozza (6'0''-PG) and Hill then combined on the play of the night. Chiozza stripped the ball on one end and hit Hill in stride some 70 feet away for the kind of long-distance pass that had to make retired football coach Steve Spurrier, who was sitting courtside, smile. By the time the run was over, the Gators were up 75-52 and had many wondering whether they would end up with another 30-point victory. Florida beat its last three opponents - LSU, Oklahoma and Missouri - by at least 30 points. That tied a school record set in 2004 and matched in 2006 - both by teams that included future NBA lottery picks Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah. The Gators didn't make it four in a row, but they surely enjoyed this one more than any of the others. Courtesy of: azcentral.com
Mika leads BYU to upset of No. 1 Gonzaga 79-71 - 2 hours ago
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Top-ranked Gonzaga's quest to go undefeated this season ended under a barrage of baskets by BYU's Eric Mika (6'10''-F) on Saturday night. Mika had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and BYU upset Gonzaga 79-71. It was the Cougars' first victory ever over a No. 1 team, after four losses, and spoiled the Bulldogs' perfect record in their last regular season game. The sophomore center made 10 of 14 shots from the floor and 9 of 13 free throws. His biggest basket put BYU ahead 73-71 with a minute lef... [read more]
Top-ranked Gonzaga's quest to go undefeated this season ended under a barrage of baskets by BYU's Eric Mika (6'10''-F) on Saturday night. Mika had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and BYU upset Gonzaga 79-71. It was the Cougars' first victory ever over a No. 1 team, after four losses, and spoiled the Bulldogs' perfect record in their last regular season game. The sophomore center made 10 of 14 shots from the floor and 9 of 13 free throws. His biggest basket put BYU ahead 73-71 with a minute left in the game. Gonzaga lost the ball on its next two possessions, and then Corbin Kaufusi (6'10''-C) had a putback and Mika hit two free throws to put the game out of reach. Gonzaga ended a string of 15 consecutive games where it didn't trail in the second half. "They haven't had anyone have a lead on them in the second half for quite a while," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "I thought that would be a really big emotional thing for us, and an emotional thing for them to have to respond. "You beat the No. 1 team on the road the last weekend of the season, it's good for a lot of reasons," Rose added. The Cougars rallied from an early 16-point deficit, and Mika said the team never wavered in its belief it could win. "I think all of us did and that was a big thing," Mika said. "I don't think a lot of teams, especially in our conference, believe 100 percent that they're going to come in and do that." The Cougars scored 44 points in the second half and made nine 3-pointers to just three for Gonzaga. Nigel Williams-Goss (6'3''-G-94) scored 19 points for Gonzaga (29-1, 17-1 West Coast), which was seeking to become the first team since Kentucky in 2014-15 to finish the regular season without a loss. "Obviously, it didn't go as we hoped," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We missed a lot of free throws and turned the ball over too much to be able to win a close game like that." Gonzaga missed 13 of its 29 free throws and had 16 turnovers but still led most of the game. "The season isn't over," Gonzaga guard Jordan Mathews (6'4''-G-94) said. "It is a great season. We'd love to be 30-0, but we are 29-1." T.J. Haws added 17 points and Elijah Bryant 14 for BYU (21-10, 12-6). The last team to finish the entire season undefeated was Indiana in 1975-76. Gonzaga came out fired up and jumped to an 18-2 lead in the first five minutes, making 7 of 10 shots. The Zags cooled off, and three consecutive 3-pointers by BYU's Haws cut Gonzaga's lead to 26-22. Mika's basket cut Gonzaga's lead to one point before the Bulldogs closed with a 10-5 run to take a 41-35 lead at halftime. Zach Collins (7'0''-F-97)' putback gave Gonzaga a 58-46 lead midway through the second. A technical foul on Gonzaga helped BYU cut its deficit to 58-53 and seemed to spark the Cougars. A pair of 3-pointers by Nick Emery (6'2''-G) cut Gonzaga's lead to one, and Mika's basket gave the Cougars their first lead at 61-60. The teams traded baskets until Mika put the Cougars ahead for good. Courtesy of: abcnews.com
Behind a double-double from Jae'Sean Tate (6'4''-F) and hot shooting nights from C.J. Jackson (6'1''-PG) and Jaquan Lyle (6'5''-G-96), Ohio State handled No. 16 Wisconsin, 83-73, in head coach Thad Matta 's Ohio State-record 457th game at the helm of the Buckeyes Thursday at Value City Arena. Tate went for 15 points and 12 boards for his second-consecutive double-double while Jackson went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc en route to a team-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds, four as... [read more]
Behind a double-double from Jae'Sean Tate (6'4''-F) and hot shooting nights from C.J. Jackson (6'1''-PG) and Jaquan Lyle (6'5''-G-96), Ohio State handled No. 16 Wisconsin, 83-73, in head coach Thad Matta 's Ohio State-record 457th game at the helm of the Buckeyes Thursday at Value City Arena. Tate went for 15 points and 12 boards for his second-consecutive double-double while Jackson went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc en route to a team-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Lyle added 17 points, including all 10 from the charity stripe, while also tacking on four helpers for the Buckeyes (16-13, 6-10 Big Ten). Bronson Koenig (6'4''-G) led all scorers with 27 for the Badgers (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten). After a Koenig 3-pointer gave Wisconsin a 6-4 lead just over two minutes into the game, the Buckeyes used a 9-0 run to take a 13-6 advantage with 14:40 remaining in the half. The Buckeyes then got hot from the field, turning it into a 44-31 halftime lead. For the half, Ohio State shot 51.6 percent while connecting on five shots from behind the arc. Tate turned in a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards in 17 first-half minutes while Jackson added nine points and three assists. Koenig kept the Badgers in it with 14 in the first half, including four 3-pointers. The Badgers had the Buckeyes lead trimmed to nine at 56-47 with 11:00 remaining but back-to-back 3-pointers by Lyle and Jackson pushed the Ohio State advantage up to 15 at 62-47 with 9:19 left to play. Wisconsin was unable to get within 13 until the final minute of play as the Buckeyes hit on 5 of 6 3-pointers after the half. Courtesy of: mariononline.com
San Diego, CA - Jenny Craig Pavilion had never hosted the No. 1 team in the country before Gonzaga showed up on Thursday night. The top ranked Bulldogs (29-0) came in and systematically dismantled the University of San Diego (12-17) 96-38, recording the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 1 team on the road. Gonzaga jumped out to an 11-0 lead while USD missed its first nine shots and pushed that lead to 28 at halftime despite nine turnovers and 50 percent shooting from the foul line. [read more]
San Diego, CA - Jenny Craig Pavilion had never hosted the No. 1 team in the country before Gonzaga showed up on Thursday night. The top ranked Bulldogs (29-0) came in and systematically dismantled the University of San Diego (12-17) 96-38, recording the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 1 team on the road.
Gonzaga jumped out to an 11-0 lead while USD missed its first nine shots and pushed that lead to 28 at halftime despite nine turnovers and 50 percent shooting from the foul line. The Zags came out even more focused in the second half and shot an astounding 74 percent from the field including 8-of-11 from 3-point range. Gonzaga hit 13 3's on the night while USD managed just 14 made buckets, a recipe for disaster. The Zags imposed their will defensively challenging every shot and staying solid. Combine that effort with smart play and you get that type of performance as they only committed 12 fouls in the game.
Every night it can be one of several players leading the way for the Zags and on this night the first standout was Johnathan Williams III (6'9''-F-95). The 6-9 junior transfer from Missouri made his presence known early on both ends of the floor. USD was determined to quickly double Przemek Karnowski on every touch and he was more than willing to pass out of the traps. Williams found himself on the receiving end of passes out of the rotations resulting in 10 first half points despite missing 4-of-6 free throws. He was more dominant on the defensive end grabbing 13 first half rebounds while USD only grabbed eight as a team. Williams was aggressive and used his size and athleticism to attack everything coming off the rim. His performance allowed the guards to leak out in transition and push the pace offensively leading to several of those open 3-point looks. Williams finished the night with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 19 rebounds. He is now shooting 61 percent from the floor on the year.
The Tritons came out determined not to let the 7-1 Karnowski beat them and he was held to just three field goal attempts notching just five points and three rebounds. But he became a facilitator in successfully passing out of the post and initiating the offensive attack. It has been the calling card all year long of the unselfish Bulldogs who made it look easy all night long in shooting 66 percent for the game.
Leading scorer 6-5 junior Nigel Williams-Goss had a typical game for him with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. The player of the year candidate is averaging 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He is always in control, is a vocal leader on the floor and plays extremely hard on the defensive end. He had the ability to get to the rim whenever he wanted yet he displayed patience by working the offense and finding even easier shots for his teammates. Many of those open looks went to Josh Perkins and Zach Collins. Perkins (6-3 soph.) knocked down 5-of-8 from 3-point range and seemed to be unguarded all night long. He also chipped in five rebounds and led the team with six assists, which shows he was not forcing shots up.
The Bulldogs also have the luxury of bringing a 7-foot McDonald's All-American off the bench in freshman Collins. Collins is third on the team in scoring at 10.7 per game despite only playing 17 minutes per game. He has the look of a future lottery pick written all over him. He has a great combination of size and athleticism to go along with polished post moves and a soft touch. He can score on either block with either hand. He made one play where he caught the ball at the high post in a high-low set, saw the pass was not there then took one hard dribble to his left and finished it left handed like a guard. He is also a good defender and has 3-point range (43.8%).
There were not many bright spots for USD on a night where they shot just 24 percent, which was not their worst performance of the year on their home court (19 percent vs. St. Mary's). Sophomore 6-2 guard Olin Carter was the only player in double figures for the Tritons finishing with 15 on 6-of-16 shooting. He worked hard offensively trying to find cracks in the Bulldog defense but mostly had to settle for contested jump shots. When given good looks he can knock down shots consistently, but those opportunities were rare on this night. Brett Bailey leads the team averaging 15.6 points but he was held in check tonight. The 6-6 forward out of Spokane could not find his stroke going just 3-of-11 for seven points. He created a few scoring opportunities using his ability to put the ball on the floor against the bigger defenders but was unable to finish around the rim.
The Bulldogs proved once again that they are in the national title hunt with this dominating performance. According to Synergy Stats they are No. 2 in offensive points per possession and No. 1 in defensive points per possession. They are big, athletic, deep, unselfish and play with poise and purpose on both ends of the floor. They are going to be a tough out in March. Gonzaga will host BYU on Saturday and try and finish the regular season undefeated. San Diego will host Portland, also on Saturday.
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