An inside look at the numbers behind Monday’s top performances:
1. Notre Dame topped Pittsburgh 56-51 in the slowest-paced game of the season. The Irish only had 47 possessions, the fewest in a D-I game this season. Meanwhile, Pitt’s 49 possessions are tied with Northwestern’s performance Sunday against Wisconsin for the second-fewest. According to bbstate.com, Notre Dame had the fewest possessions in a win since Wisconsin beat Michigan last February (46). The Irish have managed to dictate the pace of play lately, keeping each of their last three games below 60 possessions. The key to winning those games? A far more efficient offense. In Notre Dame’s first six Big East games, it averaged 66.0 possessions, but just 0.98 points per possession. In the last three, the Irish are averaging 1.23 PPP in 54.7 possessions per game.
2. After falling out of the top 25, Kansas State picked up a much-needed win over Baylor 69-61. While the result is not necessarily a surprise, how the Wildcats won certainly is. K-State hit 25 of 31 free throws (80.6 percent). That included a 9-for-9 performance at line from reserve freshman Will Spradling. Why is it a surprise? KSU came into the game shooting 59.3 percent at the line, which ranked 341st out of 346 Division I teams.
3. Charles Jenkins scored 35 points in Hofstra’s 92-90 overtime win over James Madison. It’s the fourth career 35-point game for Jenkins, the nation’s active leader in career points. At 2,241 career points, he moved into second in school history, trailing Antoine Agudio by just 35. Jenkins added five assists, and is now averaging 5.0 apg to go with 23.7 ppg. It’s the highest scoring average for a player averaging five or more assists since Stephen Curry’s 28.6 ppg in 2008-09.
4. North Carolina Central’s C.J. Wilkerson is getting it done on the road. He scored 41 points in an overtime win Monday at North Carolina A&T. A big part of that was connecting on all 15 of his free throws, tying the second-best free throw performance of the season. However, Wilkerson is the first player to go 15-for-15 or better from the line in a road game since Cal Poly’s Lorenzo Keeler last season. Wilkerson’s 41 points are tied for the fifth-most in a true road game this season. Over his last three road games, Wilkerson is averaging 31.3 ppg and has led the Eagles to a pair of wins.
5. Drexel held Georgia State to only 33 points, tied for the second-fewest by a Division I team this season. It marked the fewest points in the school’s D-I history, “beating out” a 38-point performance against Utah in 2003. For Drexel, it marked the fewest points it has ever given up to a D-I opponent. Georgia State shot 29.2 percent from the field. While certainly not good, that’s not even one of the 150 worst games this season. So what happened? The Panthers only made one free throw on just four attempts.