It was another massive week for the Australian men in college basketball with the big names delivering in spades, while some first year phenoms continued their emergence on the NCAA Division I national stage.
Senior centre Jock Landale had another very big week for Saint Mary's in two straight wins. In a very good win against California, Landale compiled 13 points (5-8 FG) with 6 rebounds in a game where he was limited by foul trouble. Emmett Naar again stepped up with 13 points and 8 assists, while Tanner Krebs pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds as the Gaels recorded a 74-63 win.
After a subdued outing against the Bears, Landale took it out on a hapless Sacramento State. Landale registered career highs in points and rebounds, racking up 37 points and 18 rebounds in a 54-70 win. He was simply unstoppable and at his efficient best, going 14-20 from the field and 9-10 from the foul line in a showing that would intrigue NBA scouts. Landale has continued his improvement in his senior season, and is now averaging 21.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Naar was also effective yet again, chipping in 7 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds.
6'6 forward Chima Moneke continued to impress for UC Davis, helping his side to a three-game winning streak over the past week. In the Aggie's 51-56 win over Northern Colorado, Moneke amassed a huge 17 point and 16 rebound double-double. He backed it up with another double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds as he helped guide his side to very good 81-67 victory against Washington State. It was a first loss of the season for the Cougars who had just returned home from winning the Wooden Legacy Tournament, including a win against then #21 ranked Saint Mary's.
Pacific proved to be UC Davis' next victim, with the Aggie's prevailing 67-71 in a tight contest. Moneke was 1 rebound shy of a sixth double-double for the season, contributing a game-high 20 points with 9 rebounds in another eye-catching display. He has scored 17 or more in each game this season, and leads all Australian's in scoring with 21.3 points per game alongside averages of 11.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals.
For his outstanding play, Moneke was named Lou Henson National Player of the Week honours.
#16 ranked Baylor took on the #6 ranked Wichita State, and although putting up a great fight, fell short 62-69. Despite going scoreless in the first half, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr stepped up after the main break to add 13 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out in the final 30 seconds. The Shockers beat the Bears' zone with some impressive three-point shooting.
Sam Houston State proved no match for Baylor next up, with the Bears recording a comprehensive 56-84 victory. Lual-Acuil Jr was again impressive, collecting an equal team-high 15 points that included 7-9 from the line. He further added 11 rebounds and 2 steals to register his fourth double-double of the season.
Xavier Cooks has continued to go from strength to strength for Winthrop, coming up with some big performances in the past week. He started things off with a commanding 24 points on 11-17 shooting with 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks as the Eagles accounted for Furman 93-74. The 6'8 senior forward then recorded his first career triple-double in a dominant 107-76 win against Reinhardt. He posted 11 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists in an impressive all-round display. His most recent performance may have been his best, a new career-high 31 point explosion as Winthrop dropped a tough one to Georgia 82-87. Cooks went 11-24 from the field and 8-10 from the charity stripe, but was unable to haul his side to a fourth straight win.
Cooks did however pick up the Big South Conference Player of the Week award for his outstanding play. The versatile forward is almost averaging a double-double, good for 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4 assists per game.
Cooks also received great support over the past week from compatriot Kyle Zunic who has been impressing in his freshman season. Zunic added 15 points (6-11 FG) including three triples in just 20 minutes in the win against Reinhardt. This outing backed up his 9 points and 2 assists in the victory against Furman. He then added 8 points and 3 assists in the narrow loss to Georgia.
For the seventh straight game, Sam McDaniel scored in double figures for Louisiana Monroe as the Warhawks lost at the buzzer 65-68 to Stephen F Austin. He posted 14 points including 2-3 from long-range with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals before fouling out in 33 minutes. He is now averaging 14.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the 3-4 Warhawks.
The NBA Draft prospects of Deng Adel remain strong with the junior wing enjoying a solid individual performance in #17 ranked Louisville's narrow 77-79 loss to Seton Hall. Adel fired in a team-best 20 points on 7-12 shooting with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks but could not hep get the Cardinal over the line. Adel scored a tough leaner with 29 seconds left to tie the game, only for the Pirates to steal it at the buzzer. Next, Louisville was far too good for Siena, cruising to a 60-86 win. With the minutes spread in the second half, Adel gathered 9 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes on court. Louisville's next game is against Indiana on Sunday Australian time, and Adel will be looking for a big performance to build upon his 16 points per game in front of a national television audience.
Sharpshooter Dejan Vasiljevic enjoyed a big week as #10 ranked Miami advanced their unbeaten start to 8-0. Against #12 ranked Minnesota, Vasiljevic played just 18 minutes but went 4-6 from the field and 3-5 from beyond the arc for 11 points and 2 rebounds in an impressive 86-81 road win. Princeton then proved no match for the Hurricanes who blew them off the court 52-80. Vasiljevic exploded for a new career-high 20 points on a red-hot 7-9 shooting that included 5-7 from downtown. In fact, Miami shot 14-25 from three-point territory for their best output from beyond the arc in three years and just 1 shy of a team record.
Vasiljevic kept firing in Miami's next victory, a 54-69 result against Boston University. This time the sophomore guard landed 3-6 triples on his way to collecting 15 points alongside 5 rebounds. The Hurricanes have yet to trail in a second half this season, and will look to defend their unbeaten start when they next take on George Washington.
Jonah Antonio's emergence continued with Mount St Mary's, recording his sixth straight game for double figures in points. He logged a herculean 44 minutes in their thrilling 75-80 overtime win against Loyola (MD), landed 4-8 treys in notching up 14 points and 6 rebounds. The 6'5 guard backed up with another solid outing, this time in another overtime thriller. Taking on Pittsburgh, the West Australian drained 4-7 from beyond the arc for a further 14 points, this time in 42 minutes. However this time the Mountaineers found themselves on the wrong end of the result, going down 78-82. Despite the loss, the Mountaineers are expected to be contenders in the Northeast Conference this season with freshman Antonio playing a key role.
A number of other Aussie men delivered noteworthy performances across the past week.
Isaac White drained 5-10 three-pointers on his way to recording 17 points in Stanford's 78-76 loss to Long Beach State.
Freshman Jacob Rigoni broke out for a new career-high 20 points in Quinnipiac's 89-87 win over Columbia. He came off the bench to make 7-11 from the field including 4-6 on triples with 4 rebounds in just 21 minutes.
Kouat Noi has continued to shine for the undefeated #23 ranked TCU. The freshman put up 16 points in 17 minutes in their latest win, a 94-83 result over SMU.
Bosko Kostur racked up a big 24 points haul in Bryant's 67-84 loss to Yale. He was sizzling hot, going 9-11 from the field including 6-8 from downtown, but could not prevent a Bulldogs loss.