AROUND THE CITY
WRONG NUMBERS, RIGHT RESULT
Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli could not have imagined his team beating Temple if the Hawks were outscored from the three-point line, 33-12. Probably did not think much of their chances when they trailed, 61-52, with barely 5 minutes left at Hagan Arena.
But senior Tay Jones hit the two biggest shots of his career, a pair of threes in 25 seconds, as the Hawks came back to win a terrific game, 70-69.
THE WINNING NUMBERS
SJU (13-7, 4-3 Atlantic 10) won it by dominating the play at the basket, with the great post/lob passes of Halil Kanacevic (12 points, nine assists, eight rebounds) and amazing finishes of Ron Roberts (18 points, 12 rebounds) and C.J. Aiken (16 points). Lost count of all the lob dunks. They had four and ones in the first half, with the ball regularly going to the rim as Temple's interior defense was under a game-long assault. Temple (14-7, 3-4) had just five turnovers and was outscoring SJU from the arc, 30-6 until Jones (16 points) hit those late treys. All those threes nearly got the Owls home. The new math nearly decided it until the Hawks old-school game won it.
BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Temple's Khalif Wyatt was in range when he crossed midcourt and made shots from everywhere, getting a career-best 34 points and nearly stealing it from the Hawks on the final possession. He needed some more help. He was 11-for-24. His teammates were 14-for-41.
WINNING LIKE A GOOD TEAM
La Salle had that great week and then lost in the final seconds at home to Massachusetts. If this was as serious a team as it has looked, they would go to George Washington and leave no doubts. They left no doubts.
The Explorers (15-6, 5-3) led all the way, winning 80-71. As a reward, they get the week off before playing Fordham at home Saturday.
THE WINNING NUMBERS
The teams made the same amount of baskets (26). La Salle had eight more misses than GW (10-10, 4-3), but the Explorers also had six fewer turnovers and eight more threes, winning the Battle of the Arc, 33-9.
La Salle did not have a player score more than 15 points, but had six in double figures. They led 64-44 with 9 minutes left before cruising to the finish line.
NEARLY AN IVY SWEEP
With 13 minutes left at the Palestra, Penn was in great shape for a weekend league sweep, leading Cornell by 10. But the Quakers quickly gave up the lead, trailed by six with 5 minutes left, regained the lead in the final moments before losing 71-69 after a Galal Cancer jumper with 10 seconds left.
Penn (4-16, 1-2 Ivy) shot 50 percent overall and from the arc, making 12 threes. Those really looked like winning numbers until Penn had turnovers on their final three possessions.
Cornell (10-11, 2-2) shot 50.9 percent and made the last play.
It did not help Penn when leading scorer Fran Dougherty, playing just his second game after missing eight games with mono, left early in the second half with an arm injury.
DRAGONS MAKE NO SHOTS
Drexel overcame a terrible start at Northeastern (trailed 10-0) to get a dead heat by halftime, but when the Dragons two best players, Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat shoot 5-for-22, they are not going to win. And they did not, losing 59-52.
Drexel (9-13, 5-5 CAA) shot just 35.2 percent. Northeastern (14-8, 9-1) was not great, but did not need to be. They won it from the foul line, shooting 21 of 23.
ACROSS THE NATION
GAME OF THE YEAR, SORT OF
You could feel the Indiana-Michigan game through the TV. It would have been even better if the only thing heard was the crowd noise.
Loved the start, but, after that, I thought the game descended into hero ball, with the exception of Cody Zeller who missed just two shots on the way to 19 points and 10 rebounds in the Hoosiers' win.
IU played wild, with 16 turnovers, but made every big play when it had to make it.
Michigan point guard Trey Burke did get 25 points and eight assists, but he is better than he played. He seemed to be trying to win the game on every possession when he would have been more effective if he had spent more time probing and less time launching those 24 shots.
DJ'S TOP 15
1. Florida (18-2): The Gators are not just winning, they are dominating. They beat Ole Miss, 78-64, and lead nation in defensive efficiency (.802 points per possession), second in offense (1.236 PPP).
2. Indiana (20-2): Got off to a flying start, shot 52 percent and held off soon to be former No. 1 Michigan, 81-73. All five starters scored double figures for Hoosiers.
3. Michigan (20-2): Playing a lot of freshmen and it showed. Too many loose possessions on both ends of the court. Skill still unquestioned.
4. Gonzaga (21-2): Barely survived trip to San Diego, winning, 65-63, and not looking very good doing it.
5. Duke (19-2): Went to Florida State and blew the game open instantly, shooting 60.8 percent and making 11 threes in 79-60 win that was never that close. Led 38-12 and 50-22.
5. Kansas (19-2): Been playing poorly for 3 weeks, according to coach Bill Self. Caught up with them in rare home loss to Oklahoma State, 85-80.
6. Michigan State (18-4): Off the weekend. Third best team in the best league is going to be a very tough out in March.
7. Arizona (19-2): Mark Lyons (20) and Solomon Hill (18) combined for nearly half of the team's points in 79-65 win at Washington State.
8. Miami (17-3): Remained unbeaten in ACC play after 79-78 win at North Carolina State on Reggie Johnson's tip just before the buzzer.
9. Syracuse (18-3): Jim Boeheim called Pittsburgh by far the best team the Orange has played after the Panthers' 65-55 victory.
10. Louisville (18-4): Easily handled Marquette, 70-51.
11. Butler (18-4): Came home to beat Rhode Island, 75-68, after getting blasted Thursday night at Saint Louis. Teams combined to make 48 of 55 free throws.
12. Creighton (20-3): Had 48-point second half in 75-58 win over Bradley. Doug McDermott had 25 points on 15 shots. Team shot 51 percent.
13. New Mexico (19-3): Shot 56 percent and had just seven turnovers in 75-62 win over Nevada. A cool 15,346 appeared at the Pit.
14. Kansas State (17-4): Won 52-50 at Oklahoma. Not at all pretty, but any road win is a good win.
15. Chester (16-3): Finally lost a few national games, but nobody locally has given them a game yet. Gearing up for a AAAA threepeat.