Not a whole lot of high-quality action to talk about from Thursday, but the one good game we did get was really good.
Yeah, that's the best lead-in I could think of. I don't know what to say. I should have slept more, but Lake Placid 2 was on SyFy and, well, you can connect the dots.
TOP 25 SCORES
No. 12 Indiana 73, No. 16 Michigan 71
No. 17 UNLV 89, Cal-State Bakersfield 57
No. 24 San Diego State 83, San Diego Christian 52
No. 25 Gonzaga 73, Pepperdine 45
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Indiana 73, Michigan 71
I've been fighting the "Indiana is back" movement ever since the Hoosiers upset Kentucky, but the undeniable fact of the matter right now is that Indiana is, indeed, back. I'm still not sure that they're back in terms of being a legitimate national title contender, but they're certainly one of the ten best teams in the country right now, which absolutely signifies a return to national prominence.
The latest example is a 73-71 win over No. 16 Michigan Thursday night in a game where Indiana never trailed. Christian Watford scored a game-high 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting while freshman center Cody Zeller added 18 on 8-of-10 shooting. That's a combined 16-of-21 from the field from IU's top guns. That's pretty good.
Still, Michigan was able to stay in the game via a 10-of-24 performance from beyond the arc. The Wolverines went on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 68 with 3:06 to play, but ultimately lost the chess match when Zack Novak's potential game-winning heave fell well short at the buzzer.
The Hoosiers moved to 11-0 at home and have now defeated three top 20 teams at Assembly Hall. No one's sure whether or not IU can win on the road, but honestly, so what? If you're good enough to beat the top teams in the country at home then you're good enough to beat them on a neutral floor in the NCAA Tournament. Indiana can play with anybody.
UPSET OF THE NIGHT: DePaul 84, Pittsburgh 81
We have officially passed the point of panic for this Panther squad (alliteration, y'all).
DePaul's Brandon Young scored the game's final seven points - including a three-point play with 1.3 seconds left to put DU in front - as the Blue Demons sent Pitt to 0-3 in Big East play with an 84-81 loss. The Panthers, who began the season ranked in the top ten, have now lost four straight games for the first time under head coach Jamie Dixon.
DePaul had lost 53 of its previous 55 Big East games. Pitt, meanwhile, was playing as an unranked team for the first time in two years. Yeah, both of those makes this about ten times worse.
Khem!....Come back, Khem!
PLAYER OF THE NIGHT: Tony Mitchell, North Texas
The freshman recorded a career-high 34 points and 16 rebounds to lead North Texas past South Alabama 78-73 in overtime. He shot 78.5 percent (11 of 14) from the field, 81.1 percent (9 of 11) from the free-throw line and knocked down all three of his 3-point attempts. Well done, young man.
Devoe Joseph, Oregon - Coming off a 1-for-13 shooting performance against Washington, Joseph scored a career-high 30 points to lead Oregon past Stanford 78-67.
Brandon Young, DePaul - Scored 26 points, including the game's final seven, as DePaul beat Pittsburgh 84-81.
Rob Jones, Saint Mary's - Scored a career-high 31 points and had 12 rebounds to lead the Gaels to a 78-72 victory over San Diego.
Damian Lillard, Weber State - The nation's leading scorer dropped 30 in a 76-69 win over Eastern Washington.
Jamal Olasewere, Long Island - Scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as LIU beat Sacred Heart 87-81.
IMAGE OF THE NIGHT:
Worrel Clahar should really DePaulogize for his overly-aggressive behavior. And no, I'll never DePaulogize for that joke. It wasn't that DePaulful.
TEN TO END:
1. In news that's already garnered some fairly significant national attention, Louisiana-Lafayette beat Western Kentucky by scoring on the final play of overtime...with six players on the court. You're only allowed to have five. Here's the video. The loss dropped the Hilltoppers to 1-2 in Sun Belt play while Lafayette moved to 2-0.
2. South Florida won at Villanova...by 17. There are now three Big East teams sitting at 0-3 in conference play, and two of them are Pittsburgh and Villanova.
3. Things just got even worse for 5-9 Arizona State, which suspended three players - including leading scorer Kaela King - on Thursday.
4. Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss decided to see the Sun Devils' suspension and raise by dismissing leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson and reserve Jamal Jones. Nelson was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia on Wednesday.
5. Damian Lillard improved his lead in the race for the national scoring title by dropping 30 in Weber State's win over Eastern Washington. Lillard (25.5 ppg) now owns a 1.6 ppg advantage over Creighton's Doug McDermott.
6. Purdue lost by 20 to the same Penn State team that Kentucky beat by 38 earlier this season. The Boilermakers shot a season-low 31% from the field in their first Big Ten defeat.
7. UCLA notched its first Pac-12 win of the season by taking down Arizona 65-58 in the John Wooden Classic. Kind of weird to target a league game as a night for a special event, but whatever, it's your world, Bruins. The Wear twins combined for 34 points to lead the way.
8. George Mason improved to 3-0 in the CAA by finally winning at Old Dominion, 63-54. The Patriots had lost their last seven games at ODU.
9. It's hard to understand exactly what has happened to an Oakland squad that many believed would win the Summit League. The Golden Grizzlies are now 2-4 in conference play after an 81-71 loss to a Western illinois team it had beaten ten straight times.
10. And finally, congratulations to Utah, which notched its first conference victory as a member of the Pac-12 by beating Washington State 62-60 in overtime on Thursday. Josh Watkins scored 20 points and hit the game-winning jumper.