The NBA All-Star break brought sports, mostly, to a screeching halt, so last night we were left with precious few colleges games, men’s and women, and some NHLing. Here are the highlights of what you missed.
Notre Dame beat Pittsburgh, somehow.
Notre Dame trailed 17-3 – in basketball – with 6:06 left in the first half to Pittsburgh. That’s when head coach Mike Brey earned himself one of those techs-for-show, hoping to fire up his guys to, well, score. Whether or not we can establish a causal link between Brey’s tirade and the Fighting Irish’s late first half turnaround, Notre Dame did turn it around. By the end of the first half they trailed 22-19, and by game’s end they had dominated Pitt on the road 51-42. But that beginning, woah was that bad. The Fighting Irish missed 18 of their first 19 shots – many of which were open looks. They didn’t make a field goal until the 10:46 mark. Then Brey summoned his theatrics and things straightened out. Still: Pittsburgh only managed a 19-3 lead before Notre Dame snapped out of its funk. And that in itself is particularly remarkable, that Notre Dame remained defensively engaged despite its offensive ineptitude. Jack Cooley, the Big East’s leading rebounder, finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds, and Notre Dame slid ahead of Pitt for 4th in the Big East – the all-important 4th seed, because it earns them a double bye in next month’s conference tournament.
Brittney Griner scored her 3,000th point in route to beating No. 3 UConn.
That No. 1 Baylor held off No. 3 UConn in one of women’s college basketball’s best matchups of the year is a story in itself. Brittney Griner, after only scoring 4 points on 2-9 shooting in the first half, exploded for 21 points on 8-12 field goals in the second and propelled her team to victory. And on the way, she picked up her 3,000th career point, only the 8th woman in women’s college basketball history to achieve distinction.
Baylor has already locked up the Big 12 title, and the win moved them to 25-1 on the season while keeping them atop the rankings. Last season, as you may remember, Baylor won the national title with a 40-0 season; this year, the win streak was put to an end by Stanford in Hawaii. Still, Baylor is the clear favorite to win it all again.