Around the Top 25 MBB: No. 13 UCLA gets two top 25 victories, No. 3 Houston earns the biggest road victory of the year

12/1/22 MBB vs Oklahoma State by Erin Knapp. UConn’s Men’s Basketball team takes on Oklahoma State in an energy filled game at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 1, 2022. The UConn Huskies defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 74-64 after a slow start for the #8 Huskies.

While everyone was focusing on their final exams, college basketball was loaded with great matchups from all over the country. On Saturday, there were five top 25 games, including a top-5 game in Charlottesville with Houston and Virginia. Let’s take a recap of all the top 25 games from the past week.

Top 25 Matchups

No. 16 UCLA stomps No. 20 Maryland on the road, 87-60

Playing in College Park is a tough atmosphere, but UCLA separated themselves from the Terrapins early in the game, beginning the game with a 26-7 lead with 8:18 left in the first half. The Bruins shot 55.6% from the floor and 41.7% from three-point range. A major contributor to UCLA’s scoring was guard David Singleton (Sr.), who had 18 points and four 3-pointers in the blowout victory. Mick Cronin and his coaching staff did an excellent job scouting the key players on Maryland, as they held leading scorer Jahmir Young to just three points with no field goals made.

No. 8 Kansas routs No. 14 Indiana, 84-62

This game was highly anticipated with stars on both teams. However, it’s no easy task to get a win in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has a record of 836-116 inside the Phog. Guard Gradey Dick has looked like one of the best freshmen in the country and led the Jayhawks to victory with 20 points and four 3-pointers. Dajuan Harris Jr. (Jr.) looked like a true point guard, recording a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. The game didn’t seem to close the entire way, with a 44-29 halftime score. Indiana’s star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (Sr.) didn’t shine in front of a sold-out crowd, putting up just 13 points.

No. 15 Gonzaga knocks off No. 4 Alabama in Birmingham, 100-90

It was a high-scoring game including two of college basketball’s best players: Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (Sr.) and Alabama forward Brandon Miller (Fr.). Without guard Nimari Burnett, the Crimson Tide were at a disadvantage, despite a semi-home game in Birmingham. The first half was full of back-and-forth action, with no team getting out in front. Alabama led by as many as nine points in the first half, while Gonzaga had a ten-point lead in the first 20 minutes. With 10:20 remaining, the Zags took the lead that would remain for the remainder of the game. The Bulldogs were led by senior forwards Timme and Anton Watson. Even though Miller had a strong performance in Saturday’s game, it wasn’t enough to come out victorious in a high-scoring battle.

No. 5 Houston upsets No. 2 Virginia on the road, 69-61

Virginia’s star guard Reece Beekman (Jr.) was not 100% healthy, but started in his team’s game against Houston. He couldn’t contribute as he had in previous games, finishing the game with just four points. Surprisingly, it wasn’t star guard Marcus Sasser (Sr.) leading the way for Houston – it was forward Jarace Walker (Fr.) guiding the Cougars to a huge road victory, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds. Houston took a 21-19 lead with 6:18 left in the first half. They never lost the lead after that, ahead by as many as 11 points in the second half. Despite an efficient 16-point performance by Virginia forward Kadin Shedrick (Jr.), the Cavaliers could not come out victorious.

No. 16 UCLA continues to impress, beating No. 13 Kentucky, 63-53

The AP Poll surprised me this week by not putting UCLA in the top 10 after they handled Maryland and Kentucky. The Bruins were led by trusty guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Sr.), who had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the outing. Even though neither team shot well from three-point range, UCLA’s win was due to a huge run in the first half, leading by as many as 13 points. Kentucky came back in the second half, but the ten-point margin was due to the Wildcats being unable to score for the final 4:29. Forward Oscar Tshiebwe (Sr.), the defending Wooden Award winner, was only held to eight points but had an impressive night on the boards, recording 16 rebounds.

No. 9 Arizona defeats No. 6 Tennessee, 75-70

There were plenty of stars on the floor in Tucson late Saturday night, including Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi (Sr.), and the twin tower duo of forward Azuolas Tubelis (Jr.) and center Oumar Ballo (Jr.). The duo lived up to their hype, with a combined 37 points and 17 rebounds. Vescovi was quiet, shooting a dismal 2-for-12 from the floor and only had nine points. Tennessee went over three minutes without scoring midway through the second half. The Volunteers were led by guard Zakai Zeigler (So.), who had 21 points off the bench. Despite shooting 20.8% from behind the arc, the Wildcats came out victorious.

Best Performances

Adama Sanogo, F, UConn (at Butler: 27 pts, 14 reb, 13-21 FG)

In a game where the offense struggled, Sanogo showed out to keep the Huskies undefeated. Not only has he shown to be one of the best players in the Big East, but he’s also making a case as an All-American, which head coach Dan Hurley said to FOX Sports analyst Nick Bahe after the game. Sanogo has shot 62% from the field this season, averaging 19 points per game.

Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga (vs. Alabama: 29 pts, 10 reb, 12-18 FG)

Drew Timme is one of the best players in the country and brought the Bulldogs a much-needed boost in their resumé in their win over No. 4 Alabama. His 21.3 points per game is a career-high for a season average, as well as 8.1 rebounds per game. He has been excellent at scoring the basketball, shooting 62.6% from the floor.

Brandon Miller, F, Alabama (vs. Gonzaga: 36 pts, 12-22 FG, 6-11 3pt)

Despite the loss, Miller put the Crimson Tide on his back with 36 points, boosting his NBA Draft stock. In my opinion, he’s the best freshman in the country, averaging 20.1 points per game. 36 points was a career-high for Miller.

Zach Edey, C, Purdue (vs. Davidson: 29 pts, 16 reb, 9-11 FG)

No one has had a more impressive first 11 games of the season than Zach Edey, who averages 22.6 points per game, ranked fifth in the country. He leads the country in rebounds, with 13.9 per game. Edey is a double-double machine, with nine so far this season.

Azuolas Tubelis, F, Arizona (vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: 20 pts, 13 reb, 3 stl, 9-16 FG)

Tubelis looks like an All-American in a year where bigs have been the best players in the country. He averages 20.1 points per game, shooting 60.8% so far this season. He could end up being the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Alongside him is center Oumar Ballo, who also could contend for that award. Together, they represent possibly the best frontcourt in America.

Top 25 Games this Week

No. 6 Virginia at No. 22 Miami (FL) (8 p.m., ACC Network)

Because of the holidays, there’s only one top 25 matchup this week. Virginia looks to get back in the win column tonight against Miami, a team that has talented guard Isaiah Wong leading the way.

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