In The Paint

SI.com's All-American Hoops Blog

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Blake Griffin will hurt you. (AP)

Blake Griffin's headache is gone, but he's creating one for his opponents.

The Oklahoma big man and top NBA prospect returned after sustaining a concussion last weekend to put a big hurt on Texas Tech this weekend. After watching from the bench as his team - once on the brink of claiming the No. 1 ranking - fell twice, to Texas and then Kansas, Griffin came back in full-force today.

He dominated in the paint, he chased down loose balls ... he put up a double-double. Shocking, right?

As the countdown to March Madness builds up steam (only a couple more weeks until all office production goes to hell and Bracketology will inevitably consume your life!), and as the top teams continue to play musical chairs with the top spot, Griffin's re-emergence is certainly unsettling to Oklahoma foes. Few, if any, can contain him down low, and now that his owee is gone, that will remain the case as tourney time arrives.

And so, I bring you my ever-insightful weekend observations.

 

  • Wait, I wasn't quite finished talking about Griffin. That full-force bit I mentioned earlier? To clarify, that would be a "20-point, 19-rebound" full-force that helped the Sooners knock off Texas Tech 78-63. His older brother, Taylor, had 22 points and eight boards. And their parents gave their usual appearance on the big screen. 
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • Don't even act surprised. In the uber competitive Big East, upsets have to be expected. And today, 10th-ranked Villanova was the team to fall as the Wildcats lost to Georgetown 56-54.  In an all-out defensive war, the Hoyas won on both ends on the floor, forcing Villanova to turn the ball over 20 times while shooting 48.9 percent from the floor on the other end. The two teams neck and neck the entire way, Georgetown led 52-51 with 1:15 remaining before Chris Wright layed in a crucial bucket and knocked in a pair of foul shots in the final 48 seconds for the win. Wright finished with 13, while teammate and 6-foot-8 forward DaJuan Summers added 16 points.
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • Despite all of his critics - a freelance journalist, a couple of Democratic legislators - Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun was loved at Gampel Pavilion today, receiving two standing ovations and leaving with his team's 15th consecutive home victory: a 72-65 win over Notre Dame. In his final home game as a Husky, Jeff Adrien led all scorers with 25 points and nine rebounds, while big man Hasheem Thabeet had 16 points and a key play in the waning seconds. UConn led 66-65 with 42 seconds remaining when A.J. Price threw Thabeet a lob pass. Notre Dame's Kyle McAlarney shoved Thabeet to the floor and forced Calhoun to send Craig Austrie to the line in his place. He hits both, Huskies hold on to win, fans chant "Number One."
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • The No. 4 Tar Heels returned after a week layover since their overtime loss to Maryland to face the worst team in the ACC, Georgia Tech. And it looks like those seven days of brewing over the loss did UNC some good because the Heels dominated the Yellow Jackets 104-74. En route to scoring 28 points and grabbing 10 boards, Psycho T set the NCAA's career free-throw shooting mark with 907, surpassing Dickie Hemric's mark of 905. Danny Green added 23 points and Ty Lawson had 11 assists in the win. Order is restored at Chapel Thrill.
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • Though it wasn't the prettiest of sights, it was still a "W" for Wake Forest. Thanks to a clutch 3-pointer by Jeff Teague, the Demon Deacons defeated conference foe Virginia 70-60 on the Cavaliers' home court. Still, Wake's top scorers hardly played up to par as Teague and Al-Farouq Aminu had 12 points apiece, while James Johnson, who had 20-plus-point performances in his previous three outings, only put up eight points. Virginia's zone defense proved troublesome for Wake's shooting, but it more than made up for its outside game with rebounds, putbacks, dunks and cuts to the hoop.
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • After hanging on to beat Maryland earlier in the week, the No. 7 Blue Devils managed to keep Virginia Tech off their back for a 72-65 win today. But, like the Maryland win, it didn't come easy. V-Tech went on a 15-4 run in the second half to rally back from a 11-point deficit and tie it up with six minutes remaining. But Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson each hit a pair of free throws to snap the tie and lead Duke to victory. They both finished with 21 points, while Virginia Tech senior A.D.Vassallo, who scored all 15 of those points in the Hokies' run, had 26 points and 10 rebounds.
    RECAP  |  BOX SCORE

  • While Villanova fell in the Big East, it was No. 12 Clemson who took the fall in the ACC. The No. 12 Tigers lost to No. 23 Florida State 73-66 in Tallahassee. Junior guard Toney Douglas, the second-leading scorer in the league (20.5 ppg), had 23 in the win, including six free thows in the final three minutes to fend off a Clemson rally. Plus, the Seminoles forced 23 turnovers by Clemson (Douglas is No. 23 ... are you seeing a trend here?)
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • Two games in less than two days? No problemo. Not even 48 hours removed from its victory over UAB, Memphis handed it to Southern Mississippi, 58-42. Robert Dozier dropped 18 points and pulled down seven boards, and the 5th-ranked Tigers extended their nation-leading win streak to 20 games.
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • It's about time. After going 23 years without a conference title, No. 21 Washington claimed a share of the Pac-10 crown. Behind Jon Brockman's 19 points and 11 rebounds, the Huskies defeated Arizona 83-78 to reign atop the conference. Despite Jordan Hill's 27-point, 10-rebound showing, Arizona retained its label of Home Court Heroes as it has failed to get a win on the road against a team ranked in the top 100 of the RPI.
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • The Horizon League crowned its regular-season champion today. No. 24 Butler defeated Cleveland State 58-56, thanks to a couple of underclassmen ... because there are only underclassmen on Butler's squad. Junior Willie Veasley had a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds, while frosh Ronald Nored scored the final three points to cap a Butler rally. The Bulldogs seemed uncharacteristically shaky though, turning the ball over 16 times, shooting just 2-for-12 from the charity stripe in the second half and going 9-for-20 from the floor in the last 20 minutes. A picture-perfect win? No. Does it matter? Not really. It was the Butler's third-straight regular-season title. 
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

  • Washington State gets the nod for most thrilling win of the day. Taylor Rochestie drained a long 3-pointer with just 2.3 seconds to lead the unranked Cougars past No. 14 Arizona State, 51-49. When ASU's Ty Abbott tried to return the favor as the seconds ticked off the clock, his 40-footer bounced off the rim. Washington State's freshman guard Klay Thompson led all scorers with 17 points, while the Sun Devils' sharp-shooter James Harden finished with 13. But for Rochestie, a fifth-year senior and the team's leading scorer, this day was nothing short of a fairy tale. In 2007, despite leading the team in minutes, he volunteered to give up his scholarship to make room for another recruit. Today, on Senior Day, he drained the game-winning bucket -- a 25-footer in the final seconds. I'm tearing up. 
    RECAP  BOX SCORE

 

 

 

 

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