AROUND THE CITY
GAME OF THE DAY
Penn did not lead all game until the second overtime at the Palestra. The Quakers trailed by 18 points with 15 1/2 minutes left in the regulation. They had a one-point lead with 15 seconds remaining in the second OT. Then, Harvard's Oliver McNally hit just his second shot of the night, the game-winner with 11.5 seconds left, and Harvard won a classic, 83-82.
It won't go in the left hand column, but the message should be clear. Penn is back in the game. A lesser team would have given up when down so much with so little time left. The Quakers had nothing for quite a long time against a very good team. And then they had almost everything.
Penn (9-9, 3-1 Ivy) got 23 points from Jack Eggleston. Zack Rosen (19 points, career-best 13 assists) made two free throws late in regulation to tie it and then tied it again at the buzzer of the first overtime. The Quakers finally got a lead after 46 minutes, but Harvard (16-4, 5-1) would not go away.
There were 6,283 at the Palestra to see it. They saw a classic that had everything but the ending almost all of them wanted.
Gets no easier
Princeton is now the only unbeaten team in Ivy play. Penn is at Princeton tomorrow night. If Penn wins it, there will be three teams with one loss. Harvard, however, would have a bit of an edge because it has already played Penn and Princeton on the road and has those two at home the first weekend of March. If Princeton wins it, Penn will be two games behind with nine to play.
Shot 'em from distance
West Virginia entered its game against Villanova holding teams to 27 percent from the three-point arc, second nationally. The Wildcats got such good shots that they were 7-for-14 from the arc in their 66-50 win.
And the defense
West Virginia (15-7, 6-4 Big East) is not any kind of pretty on offense. But the Mountaineers did not miss 19 of 25 shots in the first half without any help. Villanova (19-4, 7-3) made everything hard.
The Wildcats shot 25-for-46 (54.3 percent) for the game against a team that rarely gives up anything easily. The Mountaineers could not guard Corey Fisher or Maalik Wayns. They combined for 33 points.
Anybody see LeBron James make his first 11 shots against the Magic on Thursday? Well, Temple's Scootie Randall was doing his best LeBron imitation against Rhode Island at the Liacouras Center on Saturday. In the first half, he was 7-for-7, including 5-for-5 from the arc, on his way to 19 points. He made another to start the second half before finally missing. He finished with 27 points in Temple's 80-67 win.
The Juan Factor
Temple point guard Juan Fernandez has not recaptured the form from his sophomore season. He was 0-for-6 against URI. He has had knee issues recently, but hasn't shot well all season.
It will be interesting to see how coach Fran Dunphy plays it down the stretch. Clearly, he is blessed with a lot of talented wing players so he has options. Still, Fernandez was so good in the 2010 Atlantic 10 Tournament that it's hard to forget that.
Randall was the star for Temple (17-5, 7-2 Atlantic 10). When the Owls shoot 53.2 percent for a game, they will almost never lose because their defense is so solid. Lavoy Allen had 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Rams (14-9, 5-4).
Microcosm of the season
La Salle trailed Dayton by 14 points in the first half at Gola Arena and led by three by halftime. The Explorers missed 13 of their first 14 second-half shots, fell behind by 17 points, got within two in the final seconds and lost, 85-81. You can't make this stuff up.
In fact, you really can't make this up. La Salle (11-13, 3-6 A-10) has three double-figure scorers - Aaric Murray, Jerrell Williams and Ruben Guillandeaux. Murray appeared disinterested and played just 11 minutes. Williams and Guillandeaux were a combined 1-for-16.
So, how did La Salle almost pull off an impossible comeback? Well, they went small and their full-court pressure was suffocating. Earl Pettis (career-best 24 points) was terrific. Freshman Cole Stefan (15 points) was firing in long shots from everywhere.
Dayton (17-7, 5-4) won it because they had high-flying Chris Wright (27 points, six blocks) and the game ended just in time.
A win for the Hawks
Well, not much else could go wrong after Saint Joseph's leading scorer Tay Jones sprained his ankle Thursday. The Hawks had not won a game in 2011. So, playing without Jones, St. Joe's got a 13-point lead against Massachusetts with 8 minutes left at Hagan Arena and held on to win, 67-64.
Jones will now have a week to rest as the Hawks (6-17, 1-8 A-10) do not play until Sunday against Fordham.
St. Joe's needed somebody to score big against UMass (13-9, 5-4 A-10)). Freshman Langston Galloway was very big. He shot 8-for-12, including 6-for-6 from the arc, for a season-best 25 points.
Dragons sweep Delaware
It was 42-42 with 5 minutes left at the Bob Carpenter Center. Drexel outscored Delaware, 14-4, down the stretch and won it, 58-48. The Dragons (16-7, 8-5 CAA) are moving up in the league. Delaware (11-12, 6-7) has been competitive all season, but may be running out of healthy bodies. Chris Fouch had 23 for Drexel. Delaware shot just 15-for-51 (29.4 percent).
ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Arizona beat Cal, 107-105, in three overtimes. The teams combined to attempt 143 shots from the field and another 73 from the foul line.
Jimmer Fredette now has 2,194 points, most in the Mountain West history.
St. John's coach Steve Lavin brought his team to Pauley Pavilion, where he used to coach UCLA. The Bruins won it, 66-59. UCLA shot 41 free throws; St. John's shot seven.
DICK JERARDI'S TOP 15
1. Ohio State (24-0): Stayed perfect with 82-69 win over Minnesota yesterday.
2. Kansas (22-1): Shot 13-for-24 from the arc and won easily at Nebraska, 86-66. Morris twins were 11-for-13 and combined for 33 points.
3. San Diego State (23-1): Less than stellar in 60-53 home win over TCU. They all can't be pretty.
4. Pittsburgh (21-2): Ashton Gibbs did not miss in five tries from the arc and tied his career high with 25 points as the Panthers beat Cincinnati, 71-59.
5. Duke (21-2): Game was over before halftime as Blue Devils crushed NC State, 76-52. Nolan Smith on target to become the first player to lead ACC in scoring and assists in same season.
6. Texas (20-3): Nobody is playing any better than the Longhorns. Had Texas Tech down 16 at the half and won 76-60. Shot 50 percent and played its usual strong defense.
7. BYU (22-2): Jimmer was 16-for-16 from the foul line and had 29 in 78-64 win over UNLV. Teams combined to shoot 46-for-51 from the foul line.
8. Notre Dame (18-4): Overcame slow start for 76-69 win over Rutgers.
9. Villanova (19-4): Shot 54.3 percent against a really good defensive team in West Virginia and won, 66-50, at the Wells Fargo Center.
10. Connecticut (18-4): Trailed by 13 with 10 1/2 minutes left at Seton Hall before winning, 61-59. Hall missed 15 of 16 during UConn's "rally."
11. Arizona (20-4): Controls the Pac-10 race after crazy, 107-105, triple-overtime win over California.
12. Utah State (22-2): Shot 64.3 percent in 77-49 blowout of Boise State. When does football season start in Boise?
13. Florida (18-5): Outlasted Kentucky, 70-68, in a late-night game with serious athletes all over the court.
14. Georgetown (18-5): Led by 18 in the second half and held on to beat Providence, 83-81, as Marshon Brooks went off for 43 for the Friars.
15. Louisville (18-5): Ugly 61-57 win over DePaul.