Tuesday Headlines: Florida Atlantic Stuns Ohio State, A Pair of 40-Point Performances, Navy’s Massive Comeback, and More

Nick Rutherford banked in a jumper in the closing seconds of overtime, sending the Florida Atlantic Owls to the stunning upset over Ohio State on the road, 79-77. (Source: USA Today Sports)
Nick Rutherford banked in a jumper in the closing seconds of overtime, sending the Florida Atlantic Owls to the stunning upset over Ohio State on the road, 79-77. (Source: USA Today Sports) (Header Photo: Richard Drummond, Jr. – Central Michigan Life)

The folks over at Mid-Major Madness summed up Tuesday night’s theatrics with one simple headline.

Early Dose of March Madness Arrives…”

Tuesday night’s action had a little bit of everything. From stunning road upsets, to a double-overtime thriller, to a pair of 40-point performances across the country, college basketball fans everywhere were treated to a fantastic night of action.

Here are the top headlines from an action-packed Tuesday.

Florida Atlantic Stuns Ohio State with Last-Second Jumper

It’s only December, but March was in the air on Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio.

On paper, the Ohio State Buckeyes should have rolled past the Florida Atlantic Owls. They entered the game with a perfect 6-0 record at home, were 7-1 on the year, and were 20.5-point favourites at tip-off.

When all was said and done, the Owls were the ones celebrating a massive win.

After rallying from an 11-point deficit in the second half to force overtime, the Owls weren’t going to let the win slip away. Nick Rutherford banked in a jumper with a second left on the clock in the extra frame to give Florida Atlantic the 79-77 win.

Senior guard Adonis Filer had himself quite the night off the bench for the Owls. He scored a game-high 23 points, while making 5 three pointers. Balance on offense kept the Owls in sync, and led them to victory. Four of their five starters also scored in double figures in the win.

Ohio State also had five players score in double-figures, led by forward Trevor Thompson‘s team-best 16 points. As a team, the Buckeyes shot just 20.0% (4-of-20) from three point range in the loss.

Pair of 40-Point Performances Lead Teams to Thrilling Home Victories

Forty-point games are rare in the NCAA, but not uncommon. On Tuesday night, we witnessed not one, but two 40-point games that led to thrilling home victories.

The first came from the nation’s top scorer, Marcus Keene. The junior guard for the Central Michigan Chippewas is the only player in the country who is averaging more than 30 points per contest.

Against the Green Bay Phoenix, Keene exploded for a career-best 40 points in the Chippewas’ 107-97 victory. It was his eight game with 30 points or more this season, and he has scored in double-figures in all 10 games.

The Chippewas are now 8-2 on the year.

Not to be outdone, Tiwian Kendley put together his own impressive performance for the Morgan State Bears on Tuesday night. The Bears took on the Manhattan Jaspers at home, and found themselves in a dog fight that needed double-overtime before it was all settled.

In his first season with the Bears, Kendley has made quite the impression Tuesday was his best performance to date in a Morgan State uniform, as he recorded his first double-double in the Bears’ 85-82 win over the Jaspers in double overtime.

Kendley recorded 40 points, on 12-of-23 shooting from the field, and 10 rebounds to lead the way. He was also 11-of-13 from the free throw line.

Two big time performances led to two big wins on Tuesday night.

Navy Overcomes 25-Point Deficit at Halftime to Take Down Bryant

It was a range of emotions for fans of the Navy Midshipmen on Tuesday night.

At halftime against the Bryant Bulldogs, the Midshipmen found themselves down by 25 points on their home floor, trailing 49-24.

When all was said and done, Navy scored the 76-74 win, sending their fans home happy in the process. The Midshipmen opened the second half on a 25-5 run that got them to within five points with over 12 minutes to play.

They didn’t take their first lead of the game until the final minute of the game. A basket from Tom Lacey gave the Midshipmen a 73-72 lead with 38 seconds left. After Bryant retook the lead, Shawn Anderson gave Navy the lead for good, and sealed the win with a free throw with 12 seconds to go.

It was the largest comeback in Navy history, and it was the second-largest halftime deficit overcome to win a game in NCAA history.

Impressive night for the Midshipmen, indeed.

Other Notes from Tuesday:

  • In Central Michigan’s win over Green Bay, senior guard Braylon Rayson also set a new career-high for scoring, adding 30 points in the Chippewas’ 10-point win.
  • The top-ranked Villanova Wildcats avoided an upset at the hands of the La Salle Explorers, coming away with the 89-79 win on the road. Jalen Brunson scored 26 points to lead the way for the Wildcats.
  • With their win over the Fort Wayne Mastodons, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are now a perfect 9-0 on the season, which is the best start for the team under head coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame and Villanova square off on Saturday.
  • Forward Amadou Sibide recorded his fifth-straight double-double for the Fairfield Stags, recording 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Stags’ 75-64 loss to the Bucknell Bison.

– T. Bennett