Houston tops Oregon State, reaches 1st Final Four since '84
Yes, Houston is going back to the Final Four for the first time since the famed “Phi Slama Jama” era after Monday night's 67-61 win against Oregon State. And Houston knocked down enough free throws late while holding Oregon State without a basket during a critical 3 1/2 minutes. Fittingly, it was DeJon Jarreau — the American Athletic Conference's defensive player of the year who led the effort that stymied Oregon State star Ethan Thompson — who was named the most outstanding player of the Midwest Region. “It was right there within our grasp with the effort we showed in the second half,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. They held the Beavers to 35% shooting in the first half before Oregon State found some openings.
Houston locks in on defense, beats Syracuse 62-46 in NCAAs
Now it's taken coach Kelvin Sampson's team somewhere new: the program's deepest NCAA Tournament run since the days of Olajuwon, Drexler and the famed “Phi Slama Jama." That sent the second-seeded Cougars through to their first regional final in 37 years, earning a matchup with No. Houston (27-3) came in holding opponents to a national-low 37.3% shooting, and then harassed Syracuse (18-10) into just 28% (14 for 50). “It’s the best defense that that we’ve seen this year and they deserved to win,” coach Jim Boeheim said. Syracuse had shot at least 52% each time while making 29 3-pointers — but there would be no repeat of that unexpected 2016 Final Four run thanks to Houston's defense.
Gardner, East Carolina upset No. 5 Houston 82-73
(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)GREENVILLE, N.C. – Jayden Gardner had 21 points and 15 rebounds to help East Carolina stun fifth-ranked Houston 82-73 on Wednesday night, securing the Pirates' first win against a ranked opponent in nearly two decades. Tremont Robinson-White added 17 points for East Carolina, which defied season-long offensive struggles against one of the nation's top defensive teams. East Carolina shot 47% and made 11 of 24 3-pointers — and more impressively, the Pirates led for the last 12-plus minutes against a Houston team that struggled to make much of anything after halftime. East Carolina (8-6, 2-6 American Athletic Conference) hadn't won a game in more than a month between five straight losses and three postponements. AdECU: East Carolina hadn't won since beating Tulane at home on Dec. 22.
No. 1 Zags: Gonzaga begins season atop Top 25 for first time
FILE - Gonzaga players celebrate after defeating Saint Mary's in an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the West Coast Conference men's tournament in Las Vegas, in this Tuesday, March 10, 2020, file photo. Gonzaga will begin the college basketball season No. 1 for the first time after coach Mark Few's bunch earned 28 first-place votes in the preseason AP Top 25 poll released Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
No. 1 Zags: Gonzaga begins season atop Top 25 for first time
Iowa was picked fifth behind national player of the year front-runner Luka Garza, its highest preseason ranking in school history. The Bears, who also have their highest preseason ranking, spent five weeks at No. THE REST OF THE POLLCreighton lost Ty-Shon Alexander to the NBA and Davion Mintz to Kentucky but still landed the highest preseason ranking in school history at No. 17, its highest preseason ranking since the final Phi Slama Jama team of Hakeem Olajuwon began the 1983-84 season at No. 6 in the final poll last season but losing Mountain West player of the year Malachi Flynn and two other elite producers.
AP source: Antetokounmpo wins 2nd straight NBA MVP award
ESPN first reported that Antetokounmpo won the award. Jordan won both the MVP and Defensive Player in 1987-88 and Olajuwon won both in 1993-94. Antetokounmpo came close to joining the club last season by winning MVP and finishing second in the Defensive Player balloting. Kawhi Leonard was second in the MVP race and won Defensive Player in 2015-16, just as Dwight Howard was in 2010-11 and Alonzo Mourning in 1998-99. LeBron James won MVP and was second in Defensive Player voting in 2008-09 and 2012-13, and Shaquille O’Neal did so in 1999-2000.
Harden has 49 to lead Rockets over Mavericks 153-149 in OT
Harden made 1 of 2 free throws before Trey Burke made a 3-pointer to get the Mavericks within 3 with about 15 seconds left in OT. Harden made 1 of 2 free throws after that, Burke missed a 3, and Harden got the rebound to secure the victory. Houston scored the next eight points, with the last five from Harden, to take a 147-143 lead. Harden cut the lead again seconds later with a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to go. Covington got the Rockets within two points with two free throws.
Ewing out of hospital after being treated for COVID-19
FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, file photo, Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Seton Hall, in Washington. In a statement issued by Georgetown on Friday, May 22, 2020, Ewing has tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)Georgetown basketball coach and former NBA great Patrick Ewing has been released from the hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home, his son said Monday. Patrick Ewing Jr. said three days later on Twitter that his father was getting better after receiving treatment and thanked the doctors and nurses who looked after him during his hospital stay. During his four years playing, Georgetown went 121-23, a winning percentage of .840.
Ex-Hoya, ex-Knick, current Georgetown coach Ewing has COVID
FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, file photo, Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing yells to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, in Philadelphia. In a statement issued by Georgetown on Friday, May 22, 2020, Ewing has tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)WASHINGTON Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated at a hospital. As a player, the 7-foot Ewing helped Georgetown win the 1984 NCAA mens basketball championship and reach two other title games. ___More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25