Five things to know from Thursday's action:
1. Tasmin Mitchell continued his torrid stretch with 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting in LSU’s 63-60 squeaker over Nicholls State. This marked the fourth straight game that Mitchell has scored 24 or more points. In the month of December, he’s averaging 25.3 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Only Morgan State’s Reggie Holmes (28.0 ppg) has a higher scoring average this month. By the way, Mitchell also played the full 40 minutes without committing a turnover.
2. For a year and a half, Denzel Bowles toiled on the bench for Texas A&M. Last December, the Virginia native transferred closer to home and picked James Madison. Suiting up for the Dukes for just the second time on Thursday, Bowles scored more in that one game (37) than he did in 17 career games for the Aggies (29). He finished with 37 points (17-of-25 FG) and added 15 rebounds in the Dukes’ win at Gardner-Webb. His point total is the eighth-best in school history and no JMU player has scored more in a game since 1993. Bowles is the first D-I player with 35+ points and 15+ rebounds in a game this season.
3. Watch out, ACC fans. Something in Solomon Alabi has clicked. He entered the month having never scored more than 17 points in a game. After Thursday, he has gone over 20 points in three of the last four games. On Thursday, Alabi tied a career-high with 22 points in Florida State’s 76-72 win over Auburn. He entered the month averaging 9.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg. In the four games since the start of December, he’s averaging 19.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg, while shooting 71.8 percent from the field. The 7-foot-1 Nigerian is also shooting 85.4 percent from the free throw stripe, good enough for fifth in the ACC.
4. Brandon Fields knocked down the game-winning trey in Nevada’s 73-70 win over Eastern Washington, but the game was yet another showcase for sophomore Luke Babbitt. He finished with a season-high 29 points, falling just a point shy of his career-high. Babbitt (19.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg) is one of only seven D-I players averaging at least 19 points and 10 rebounds. Of his 43 collegiate games, he has scored in double figures in 40 of them. With 747 career points, no active sophomore has more points than Babbitt.
5. Paul George does more for Fresno State than Paul and George did for the Beatles. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but the Bulldogs sophomore fills up the stat sheet on a nightly basis. In Thursday’s 68-57 win over UC Davis, George finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals and a block. He even added 8 turnovers and 4 personal fouls. No zeros in the box score for this guy. George leads Fresno State in scoring, rebounding, steals, turnovers, personal fouls, minutes, 3-point field goals, free throws and free throw percentage. He’s currently on pace to be the first player to average 8-plus rebounds, 3-plus assists, and 3-plus steals since Charlotte’s Eddie Basden in 2004-05.