By Andrew Kahn
There were no major upsets this weekend, but there were plenty of impressive victories, exciting finishes, and highlight-worthy plays. UNLV moved to 7-1 but will be without one of its stars for an undetermined amount of time, while Illinois notched another notable win.
Put-back beats the buzzer
What turned out to be the game-winning play didn’t look so good at first. UNLV’s Anthony Marshall picked up his dribble and forced a difficult fadeaway shot with just a few seconds left and his team down one. But Quintrell Thomas snatched the airball and put it in for a layup to give No. 21 UNLV a 76-75 victory over California on Sunday. Freshman Anthony Bennett had 25 points and 13 rebounds and is an early favorite for national Freshman of the Year. It wasn’t all good news for the Runnin’ Rebels, however, as leading rebounder Mike Moser dislocated his elbow.
Illinois wins top-15 battle
As bad as the Big Ten performed this football season, the conference has looked excellent so far in hoops. The latest impressive victory for the league came on Saturday when No. 13 Illinois improved to 10-0 with an 85-74 win at No. 10 Gonzaga. Senior guard Brandon Paul hit 10 of 16 shots en route to 35 points for the Illini.
Dunk clinic for No. 1 Hoosiers
Victor Oladipo is one of the most athletic players in the country, but the dunk at the start of the highlight below is impressive even for him. The junior was one of five Indiana players in double digits on Saturday in a rout of Central Connecticut State, and had a vicious and-one throwdown midway through the first half. It was one of several highlight-reel dunks for Oladipo in the game.
Thompson soars and slams
Staying in the Big Ten to show another ridiculous dunk, check out Sam Thompson’s alley-oop for Ohio State (at the :33 mark) on Saturday. The 6’7” sophomore seems to hang in the air for minutes waiting for the ball to reach him. When it finally does, he reaches back to his left and throws it down with two hands. The No. 7 Buckeyes won easily over Long Beach State.
Monster dunk for Monmouth player
It’s not always the big boys that make the highlights. Sure, No. 4 Syracuse dominated Monmouth on Saturday 108-56. But 6’5” Monmouth senior Gary Cox won’t forget his left-handed slam on 6’9” Rakeem Christmas. Cox had a two-on-one but chose to keep it himself, unfazed by Christmas’ challenge at the hoop.
Andrew Kahn is a contributor to CBS Local who has written for ESPN the Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.