College basketball scores, winners and losers: Marquette, Texas and Creighton survive in spectacular finishes

There’s always drama in college basketball. Thanks to March Madness the descriptor has become virtually synonymous with the game. But This much Drama? In a day of non-tournament action? This rarely happens.

Which is why Saturday will have completely knocked your socks off. It was a full day of mayhem that captured everything we love about the game.

Texas was hitting a buzzer-beater to defeat in-state foe No. 9 Baylor. Syracuse was Miami hits 3-pointer at the horn to escape, No. 17 Marquette was on the receiving end of a last-second shot as St. John’s missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Oh, but there was more. No. 18 Creighton defeated Seton Hall in a triple-overtime (!!) thriller.

And the mid-majors also joined this part. Lafayette survived in OT after Bucknell missed a 3-pointer in double-OT. Same for Morgan State, which forced an airball at the buzzer in OT for an 89-86 win over Coppin State.

And that was just a handful of games.

There are always surprises in sports, but Saturday was especially dramatic. Let’s take a look at the rest of the scenario and find out the winners and losers from that dramatic day.

Loser: Kansas can’t win basketball

No. 3 Kansas gave up three offensive rebounds on a single possession while trailing in the final minutes of a 91-85 loss at West Virginia. The Jayhawks began the possession trailing only 82–81, with plenty of time left for a stoppage and a potential go-ahead lead. But by the time they got the basketball back with 33 seconds remaining after three Quinn Slazinski free throws, the deficit was 85–81. Kansas had many other problems in its second Big 12 loss, but what was most troubling was its inability to get the basketball when it mattered most. — cob

Winner: Persistent Kentucky fans got their wish

Kentucky coach John Calipari called Wildcats fans “crazy” this week when they learned they had raised enough money to put up a billboard near the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis with the words “Free Big Z” — a slogan and governing Appealing to help clear the body of big man Zvonimir Ivicic so he can play.

It was probably crazy, but it worked.

Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart tweeted Saturday that Ivicic’s eligibility was officially cleared just hours before the Georgia game. Then on Saturday, Big Z performed with 13 points, five rebounds, three blocks and a pair of assists in 16 minutes of action in No. 8 UK’s 105–96 win versus Georgia.

“It probably worked out,” Calipari said postgame to Billboard . “He’s aggressive.” , boone

Loser: Rhode Island’s Miller plays defense

Former Dayton coach Archie Miller took his Rhode Island Rams to his old stomping grounds on Saturday and walked away with two L’s on the same court. The first and most obvious: Dayton destroyed its Rams 96-62 and improved to 15-2 overall and 5-10 in Atlantic 10 play. Miller’s second defeat on the court came before the final whistle, as he was caught red-handed playing defense as his team’s sixth man.

Look at this screenshot! And he too was easily let off by just giving a warning.

Coaches roaming the court and in the line of fire this season has been an unfortunate trend that won’t go away. Shaka Smart and Travis Ford have been among the violators this season, and it’s a trend that will hopefully be addressed for all the obvious reasons. Needed should be removed. — Boon

Winner: Creighton’s Shearman shows resilience

Creighton had three players play 53 or more minutes in the No. 18 Bluejays’ 97-94 triple-overtime win at Seton Hall. The Marathon was led by wing Baylor Scheierman, who played all 55 minutes of the game without committing any fouls. Creighton isn’t deep, but it is one of the best in the country at avoiding fouls, which allows coach Greg McDermott to keep his rotation short. Seton Hall had two players foul out, but Creighton’s marathon players went the distance without any problems. It seems as if they were relieved rather than happy after the results came out — cob

Loser: Bus has flat tires

Arkansas’s collapse remains one of the most perplexing storylines of this season. The Razorbacks were picked to finish third in the SEC, but are 1–4 in conference play after a 77–64 home loss to South Carolina. With just a 10-8 record overall and a 1-5 record in Quad 1 games, Arkansas is well out of the NCAA Tournament picture as the season enters late January. Fifth-year coach Eric Musselman often does his best work late in the season. But the tires on the 2024 model of the bus are flat, and it looks like the engine is about to catch fire. This smokestack will need some rocket fuel to get back into the race. — cob

Loser: Alabama still hasn’t beaten anyone

Metrics such as KenPom.com and NET rankings consider Alabama a top-10 team. But you would think that such a great team would actually have a resume by now. Instead, the Crimson Tide continue to struggle against quality opposition. Alabama fell 91–71 at No. 6 Tennessee, dropping its record against ranked opponents to 0–5. The Crimson Tide is just 2-5 in Quad 1 games, and wins against Mississippi State and Indiana State aren’t particularly awe-inspiring. Advanced metrics are necessary and useful, but it appears they are misleading us about what Alabama is capable of achieving. — cob

Winner: Boise State headed for big win

Boise State led San Diego State by nine points with two minutes remaining in the battle of the Mountain West. When the dust settled, the Broncos held on for a 67–66 victory. But greater stress will not diminish the importance of better results. Boise State entered CBS Sports’ bracketology that day as the No. 8 seed for the NCAA Tournament and would go nowhere else after defeating the defending league champions. The win improved Boise State to 4-2 in Quad 1 games and underlined how competitive the MWC is this season. — cob

Loser: USC’s tournament hopes are (largely) over

USC’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament via an at-large berth are gone. The only way the Trojans can make the Big Dance is if they win the Pac-12 Tournament, which is becoming less and less likely.

USC fell to 8–11 overall and a disappointing 2–6 in conference play with an 82–67 loss to Arizona State on the road. Sure, the Trojans didn’t have Isaiah Collier or Boogie Ellis, but for a team that had aspirations of making a deep tournament run in the preseason, that’s a collective failure. Just like in football a few months ago – USC is tracking to be one of the most disappointing teams in the game unless something changes quickly. If the past month has shown us anything, it’s that even that seems unlikely. — Salerno

Winner: Texas Tech makes a comeback

No. 25 Texas Tech battled back from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 20 BYU 85–78 and improve to 4–1 in Big 12 play under first-year coach Grant McCasland. After a blowout loss at No. 5 Houston on Wednesday, the Red Raiders suffered their first consecutive losses of the season before a memorable second half. The Red Raiders shot 63% from the floor and made 6 of 9 attempts from 3-point range after the break. Pop Isaac led the way with 23 of his game-high 32 points in the second half. The Red Raiders also increased the defensive intensity, holding BYU to 3 of 19 shooting after the Cougars shot 10 of 20 in the first half. — cob

Loser: UCF turns in historically poor shooting performance

Texas coach Rodney Terry called UCF players “classless” this week. UCF players on Saturday? Well, he looked indifferent on the court. In a 57–42 loss against a fifth-ranked Cougars team, the Knights scored their fewest points of the season and shot 15.9% from the field in the process – setting a record for the worst shooting performance in Big 12 history. It was the lowest-scoring outing for UCF since February 6, 2018, when it lost 77–40 to Cincinnati – at a time when Big 12 teams were still in the AAC. , boone

The last month of the season has been quite a mystery for Arizona. At times, the Wildcats look like one of the best teams in the country, but after a few days… it feels like they’re headed for an early exit from the NCAA Tournament. For the first 30 minutes against UCLA, the latter certainly looked that way until the No. 12 Wildcats erased a 19-point deficit for a 77–71 victory. This could be the spark Arizona needed to climb back to the top of the Pac-12 standings for good. — Salerno

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