For the first time all season, the men's basketball schedule served us up a steaming hot plate of action. There were eight games from around the Pac-12 Conference, with the league dropping only one on a neutral court against the #10 ranked team in the nation.
USC 72, Drexel 70: Despite their best efforts to not win it seems, the Trojans somehow found a way to hang on late. They would trail by a dozen at the half and Drexel's Damion Lee would score 32 points, including knocking down eight threes.
The only obvious reason USC held on was due to the turnover margin. While the Trojans would give it up only nine times, the Dragons gave the ball away on 21 occasions. Even with that, Lee's step-back three at the buzzer went begging, giving USC the slim victory over...Drexel?!?!?
Oregon 78, Toledo 68: This was a workman-like victory for the Ducks who had a bit more of a challenge than I'm sure they expected. They would only lead the Rockets by two at the break before pulling away in the second half.
It would be all about Joseph Young on the scoring side, who poured in 24 points and seemed as if he could have gotten a lot more. He did take only 13 shots after all. The Ducks frontcourt also tore it up with double-doubles from Elgin Cook would had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Dwayne Benjamin, who added 11 points and 12 rebounds-six of which came on the offensive glass.
Stanford 89, UNLV 60: There were a handful of close Pac-12 contests on Friday, with this not being one of them. The Cardinal were all over the Runnin' Rebels who seem so far removed from being a nationally prominent team just a few seasons ago when they had eventual number one pick Anthony Bennett in town.
Chasson Randle found the three-point line early and often. In fact, the only shots he would take all game would be from behind the arc, knocking down 6-of-10 en route to an 18-point night that would tie for the team lead in scoring. Joining him was backcourt mate Anthony Brown, who would have the best game of any Cardinal on the night. Finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists in just 27 minutes of play, Brown would also drill home 4-of-5 from three.
#10 Texas 71, California 55: After a drubbing of the Syracuse Orange on Thursday, there was a bit of a let down for the Golden Bears from Cal. Even without star point guard Isaiah Taylor, the Longhorns controlled the tempo and managed to outpace the dapper looking Bears.
To be frank, this contest was not for the weak at heart. Cal would finish the night shooting 31 percent from the field, but Texas was not much better, ending at 38 percent, despite not even making 20 field goals. The Longhorns feasted from the line, going an absurd 30-of-37 from the stripe, led by Jonathan Holmes who went 8-of-10, while adding a game-high 21 points.
After going nuts against the Orange, freshman Jabari Bird came back down to earth a bit with just a five-point performance against Texas.
Once again, the Cal bench did next to nothing in terms of scoring. Four players on the bench got a combined 67 minutes, yet managed to score only three points, all from Kingsley Okoroh.
#25 Utah 88, UC Riverside 42: Utah angry. Utah smash.
While that pretty much would serve the purpose of the game, I'll provide just a bit more insight. Freshman forward Kyle Kuzma went nuts off the bench. He scored nearly as many points as minutes played, as he dropped 19 points in just 20 minutes of action, draining three threes and missing only one shot.
This seemed like the type of game where Delon Wright could just lose his mind and do whatever he pleased. Needless to say, I was disappointed when he refused to pull up from the parking lot every time down the court and let it fly from Jimmer range. Although, his 13 points and two made threes were quite efficient.
As you could imagine, this was not pretty. The Utes virtually demolished the Highlanders in every aspect of the game. It was a good way to take out the frustrations from the loss in San Diego.
Washington State 80, Idaho State 68: Wazzou is on the board! Never mind that they lost by twenty-seven to TCU last week. Yes, that TCU who went winless in the Big-12 last season. I'm not sure if that automatically disqualifies the Cougars from some type of postseason play, but it should.
Thankfully, Josh Hawkinson went crazy on Friday. In fact, if he played in the...(looks up what conference Idaho State even plays in) Big Sky! every game, he'd be a fringe All-American. The big man had a huge line of 26 points and 15 rebounds, dominating the game in every way imaginable.
It's not often that two 25+-point scorers cancel each other out, but that's precisely what Chris Hansen and DaVonte Lacy did. At that point, Washington State was able to hang on and pick up their first victory of the season.
Oregon State 55, Oral Roberts 42: Anytime the Beavers can win with Gary Payton II having a mild night, they're in a good place. Say what you will about their defense, but the fact that the Golden Eagles made only nine shots all game is putrid. Something about shooting 20.9% from the field makes this win even uglier than it already was.
Leading the way offensively was Olaf Schaftenaar, because that's what 6'10" stretch forwards from the Netherlands do. He would knock home two threes on the way to being the game's leading scorer with 12 points.
Washington 63, Seattle U 48: Kudos to the Huskies for going on the road for this one when they could have easily demanded the Redhawks come to their place to be slaughtered.
Then they took the court and it wasn't a slaughtering whatsoever. In fact, Seattle led 21-20 at the break. Then, Shawn Kemp Jr. started dunking on people. He'd tie for the team lead in both points and rebounds, finishing with 12 and seven, respectively.
Runs of 8-0 to start the half, and 9-0 a few minutes in, sealed the fate of Seattle. The Huskies came on the road and took care of business with a convincing win.