SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Michael Carter-Willimas #1 of the Syracuse Orange passes the ball as teamates Baye Moussa-Keita #12 and C.J. Fair #5 look on against Moses Ayegba #32 and Otto Porter Jr. #22 of the Georgetown Hoyas during the game at the Carrier Dome on February 23, 2013 in Syracuse, New York. (credit: Nate Shron/Getty Images)
By: Andrew Kahn
There wasn’t an abundance of wild finishes this weekend, but there were some incredible individual performances (see below). Memphis, mentioned in this week’s column, is one of five teams unbeaten in conference; another, Gonzaga, has won its last six games by an average of 24 points. In the Big Ten, Ohio State protected its home court against Michigan State in a battle of top-20 teams.
Basketball is a team game, but it’s hard to deny that Otto Porter, Jr. single-handedly beat Syracuse. The Georgetown sophomore forward scored 33 points on Saturday — a whopping 58 percent of his team’s points — in a 57-46 victory over No. 8 Syracuse. Porter played all 40 minutes, shot 12-of-19 from the field and grabbed eight boards, helping the No. 11 Hoyas pull off the upset. Syracuse had held the nation’s longest home winning streak at 38 games. Porter’s performance spoiled the afternoon for most of the 35,012 fans, the most ever to attend a college basketball game on a school campus.
Kendall Williams scores 46 for New Mexico
Porter wasn’t the only player to carry his team on Saturday in a tough road environment. New Mexico’s Kendall Williams scored 46 points in a 91-82 victory at No. 22 Colorado State. With his team trailing late, Williams scored 18 in the final 4:45 to end Colorado State’s 27-game home winning streak. The junior guard hit 12-of-16 from the field and a Mountain West record 10 three-pointers. Saturday’s win gave the No. 16 Lobos a season sweep of the Rams and a two-game lead on them in the conference.
Miami gets a Wake up call
The No. 2 Hurricanes had been playing with fire: one-point wins against Boston College and N.C. State; more recently a two-point win against Clemson and a four-point win against Virginia. Miami was 13-0 in the ACC, but far from dominant. On Saturday the ’Canes were crushed 80-65 by Wake Forest, a team that had just four conference wins. The Deacs shot 54 percent and hit 7-of-12 threes. Senior C.J. Harris scored 23 and drained all five of his three-point attempts.
Earlier this month, Kansas scored just 12 points in the first half against TCU, and the Horned Frogs went on to secure one of the biggest upsets of the season. On Saturday in Lawrence, the Jayhawks got revenge, holding TCU to just nine first-half points and winning 74-48. Ben McLemore scored 10 by himself in the first half, the last two on a thunderous dunk in the final seconds. He caught the ball on the left wing near the three-point line, took two hard dribbles with his left hand and then threw it down with his right over a defender.
Memphis claims conference crown
Somewhat quietly, Memphis has moved to 13-0 in Conference USA, beating second-place Southern Mississippi 89-73 on Saturday to win the league title. The Tigers are solid defensively and very balanced offensively: five players scored between 12-19 points on Saturday. Memphis has several high-level athletes and could be a dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament. We’ll have a better idea of where they stand after Tuesday’s game at Xavier.
Andrew Kahn is a contributor to CBS Local who has written for ESPN the Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.