An inside look at the numbers behind Tuesday's top performances:
1. St. John’s just keeps getting it done. On Tuesday, it was an 80-68 road win against Marquette. The Red Storm has now won five of its last six, including wins over Duke and Connecticut and road wins over Marquette and Cincinnati. No one has played a bigger role than Dwight Hardy. After 28 points last night, the senior is averaging 25.3 over his last six games. Having played the second-toughest schedule in the nation, St. John’s is now 15th in the InsideRPI. With DePaul, Seton Hall and South Florida still to come, 11 wins in the Big East is well within reach.
2. Villanova’s James Bell almost doubled his season scoring total in Tuesday’s 60-57 win at Seton Hall. The freshman scored 21 points after entering the game with just 31 on the season. Connecting on 4-of-6 from 3-point range, he more than doubled his previous career-high of 10. Prior to this, he’d only appeared in nine Big East games thus far, totaling 12 points. With Corey Stokes injured, Bell was a surprise candidate to pick up the scoring load. However, the Wildcats received a sloppy game from guards Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns, who combined for 12 of their season-high 22 turnovers.
3. With 12-3 VCU hosting 13-2 George Mason, Tuesday’s CAA matchup was one of the most highly anticipated games of the night. That is, until VCU forgot to show up at home. The Rams shot just 29.6 percent in the first half, ultimately losing 71-51. VCU’s starters combined to score only 22 points on 22.6 percent from the field. Meanwhile, George Mason set a school record with its 12th straight win, the longest active streak in the nation. For a player who didn’t hit a field goal, Luke Hancock had a great all-around game. Though 0-for-5 from the field, he went 10-for-10 from the line. He finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
4. Michigan State came up short against Ohio State despite a great shooting night. The Spartans shot a season-best 57.4 percent from the field, but still lost. In fact, it’s their highest shooting percentage in a loss in the past 15 seasons. They are now 69-3 when shooting over 55 percent in those years. It’s the second time this season that Ohio State has withstood a great shooting night for a win. Back in November, Florida shot 61.2 percent but still lost by 18 points.
5. Several players put up career-best scoring games to carry their teams on Tuesday. Denzel Bowles scored 40 points as James Madison handed Towson its 15th straight loss. He’s just the seventh player in school history to reach that total. VMI came up with a big conference win over Liberty thanks to 39 from Austin Kenon, who was 8-for-16 from 3-point range. Adrian Oliver’s 35 against Montana State wasn’t a career-high, but it did lead San Jose State to a 77-73 win. Oliver is averaging 28.3 ppg in four games this month.