NCAA Men: Cooks does it all for Winthrop

Xavier Cooks | Credit: Winthrop University Athletics

As we near the end of January, a number of Australian’s continue to stand out while others are starting to step up.

The New Year has been one to celebrate so far for Winthrop, with the Eagles winning all six of their games behind the stellar play of Xavier Cooks. The 6’8 forward has been like a Swiss-army knife and doing it all for the Eagles. In their 72-63 win over Campbell, Cooks added 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks. Against UNC-Asheville, he cooked up a 19 point and 13 rebound double-double, also tipping in 3 assist and 2 blocks in a standout performance. Behind that output, the Eagles were able to overcome a halftime deficit to steal a 76-73 win.

 

Thanks to a commanding 26-15 opening half, Winthrop held on to defeat second placed Liberty 61-48. Cooks radar was off, going a cold 1-of-9 from the field (0-of-4 3PT) to only add 4 points, but he contributed in other ways. He was able to gather 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block to once against demonstrate that Winthrop’s success this season will be determined by the play of their star Aussie forward.

Cardinals duo Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang combined for 30 points in #12 Louisville’s big 92-60 demolition of Clemson. Adel was in great form, shooting 6-of-9 from the field (3-of-5 3PT) for an equal game-high 18 points with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Mathiang provided the energy in coming off the bench, contributing 12 points (6-of-9 FG) alongside 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 22 minutes. It was Louisville’s first game without the injured Quentin Snider and Adel stepped up with a big performance in his place, matching his career-high scoring mark.

 

With little time to prepare before taking on #10 Florida State on the road, the Cardinals were not able to get it done when the game was there to be won down the stretch. While Adel was solid in providing 12 points and 6 rebounds, his shot was off as he managed just 4-of-13 shooting from the field. As he has done many times before, Mathiang helped step up to shoulder some of the responsibility, delivered an important 13 points and 13 rebounds double-double with 2 blocked shots. Yet it was the Seminole’s seniors who came up with the big plays to seal the Cardinals fate and a final 73-68 score, to halt the Cardinals winning streak at 4, a streak that included a win over #7 Duke.

 

After a tough 56-79 loss to #5 Gonzaga, the #21 Saint Mary’s Gaels recovered nicely to win their next two games in which 6’11 center Jock Landale delivered back-to-back double-doubles. In their low-scoring 62-50 win against Pacific, Landale tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in another very good showing. Emmett Naar, whose numbers have been down of late, adding 5 points and 6 assists.

 

Pepperdine proved no match for the Gaels, being out-muscled by Saint Mary’s big men. Landale posted 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists as he dominated in the post, while Naar had 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Dane Pineau came off the pine for 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting alongside 6 rebounds and 2 steals to help seal the 85-65 victory.

 

After a quiet game by his standards in UC Davis’ narrow 68-71 loss to Cal State Northridge, Chima Moneke erupted for a career-high 26 points in the Aggie’s close 76-70 win against Hawaii.  UC Davis made 5-of-8 free throws in the final 49 seconds to withstand Hawaii’s challenge, with Moneke recording a big double-double. Moneke was brilliant, connecting on 8-of-13 from the field and 10-of-15 from the free throw line while also pulling down 13 rebounds and blocking 2 shots. For Hawaii, Jack Purchase added 3 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists, while Matt Owies came off the bench for 3 points in 7 minutes.

In the midst of a 5 game losing streak, Louisiana State are struggling to find a way to win despite the encouraging play of junior forward Duop Reath. Reath has posted double-digit scoring in each of the Tigers’ last three games. Against Alabama, Reath generated 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks, while in their 4 point loss to Auburn, he would compile 13 points (6-of-8 FG), 6 rebounds and 2 assists. His best outing was in LSU’s 86-99 loss to Arkansas where he was good for 17 points, 7 rebound and 2 blocks. Defensively, the Tigers have been terrible. If they are to turn their season around, it all starts at that end of the floor.

 

Nicholl’s Liam Thomas went agonisingly close to recording a triple-double in the Colonel’s 62-59 win over Abilene Christian. The 7’1 center from Sydney who is currently leading the nation in blocked shots with 4.1 per game, stuffed the stats sheet with 8 points, 13 rebounds and a staggering 9 blocked shots! He tied his career-best for blocks and is showing he is more than capable at both ends of the floor when given an opportunity.

#6 Baylor has bounced back strongly after their first loss of the season, winning three straight games including a 77-68 win against #24 Kansas State, a 10 point win against Texas, and a 62-53 road win over TCU. For Jo Lual-Acuil Jr, arguably his best outing was against the Horned Frogs, with the 7’0 center delivering 11 points, 5 rebounds and 1 blocked shot. He also drained a nice-looking triple to demonstrate the athletic big man can stretch defenses and keep them honest.

 

Junior Forward Fabijan Krslovic has enjoyed a purple patch of form for Montana across their past three games. In the Grizzlies’ 76-70 win against North Dakota, Krslovic was  a model of efficiency in scoring 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting with 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes. Fellow Aussie Jack Lopez was also good, adding 13 points and 3 rebounds in the close win. Krslovic was even more impressive in their contest against Portland State, exploding for 24 points (11-of-15 FG) with 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Despite his efforts in driving a late Grizzlies run, they would fall short 79-88.

Montana lost their second straight when they were outplayed by Sacramento State 83-92. Krslovic was again efficiently good, adding 10 points, but his side allowed the Hornets to open with a 20-7 run and from there they were never seriously challenged.  Lopez had 6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in the loss.

In a tough 85-94 overtime loss to Milwaukee, Matt Donlan added 11 points including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc for Youngstown State. Donlan came off the bench to provide an offensive spark, also adding 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. It was a game the Penguins let slip, leading by as many as 9 points with 6:36 left to play in regulation, with Milwaukee finishing fast with a 13-4 run.

All he needed was an opportunity, and when it was presented, Jayden Hodgson made the most of it. Hodgson would compile 16 points that included 4-of-7 three-pointers in Bradley’s tough 62-76 loss to Missouri State.  In his 35 minutes off the bench, the 6’3 freshman guard also chimed in with 4 rebounds in an encouraging performance.

Jamaal Robateau excited Gardner Webb Bulldogs fans with a 22 point outing in helping guide his side to an 85-79 win against Longwood. He landed 3 treys and pulled down 8 rebounds with 3 steals in a very good display. However in his next two games he would score a combined 13 points and 9 rebounds in a loss to Liberty and a win against Presbyterian.

In landing 4-of-8 three-pointers, senior forward Felix Von Hofe helped Eastern Washington win their third game across their last four contests in an 83-68 win against Southern Utah. While Von Hofe added 12 points, Mason Peatling started and compiled 7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 29 minutes, as the Eagles improved to 5-2 in the Big Sky.

Darcy Malone delivered one of his best games of the season in Cal State Fullerton’s 63-71 loss to UC Riverside. The 7’0 center came off the bench to compile 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in 19 minutes but could not prevent the Titans from dropping their third contest across their last four games.

In leading Grand Canyon, Gerard Martin has been quietly going about his own business and doing a very good job of it. In helping guide the Antelopes to 8 wins in their last ten games, Martin has been in good, solid form. In his latest outing, a thrilling 61-59 win against Seattle, the guard gathered 3 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists with just 1 turnover.

After a few lean games, Sam McDaniel returned to form in Louisiana Monroe’s 57-62 loss to Texas State. McDaniel shot 5-of-11 from the field for 14 points to go alongside 9 rebounds, however his output was not enough to prevent the Warhawks from losing their seventh straight game.

Damian Arsenis

Written by

A patriotic and passionate follower of all things #AussieHoops. With a Master of Marketing, I am a Life Member of the Warrandyte Basketball Association, Level 2 qualified coach and referee, podcaster, and proud father of three girls.

Share your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.