Player of the weekend: Brandon Paul, Illinois Fighting Illini
Paul scored 35 points to power Illinois to an 85-74 win at Gonzaga. It takes a performance like that to beat Gonzaga in Spokane. Last year, it was Draymond Green’s 34 points for Michigan State.
Prior to Paul’s performance, Green had scored the most points for an opponent in a win at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Then again, it’s just Gonzaga's eighth loss there since the arena opened in 2003.
Following his 43-point performance last season, Paul is the only active player from a major conference with multiple 35-point scoring efforts in his career.
Stat sheet stuffer: Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State Sun Devils
Bachynski recorded the first triple-double in school history in Arizona State’s 87-76 win over Cal State Northridge. The junior center finished with 13 points, 12 blocks and 12 rebounds.
Over the past 15 years, the only other major conference player to have those totals in a game was Jeff Withey, who did it two weeks ago. The last two Pac-12 players with points-rebounds-blocks triple-doubles were Brook Lopez (2007) and Loren Woods (2001).
Passer of the weekend: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange
Carter-Williams put up 15 points and 16 assists in Syracuse’s 108-56 win over Monmouth. It’s the third-most assists in school history, and the most since Sherman Douglas’ D-I record 22 in 1989.
He’s joins Georgetown’s Kevin Braswell (2002) and Providence’s Vincent Council (2010) as the only Big East players with a 15-point, 15-assist game over the past 15 years. Carter-Williams also threw in five steals and four blocks. Not surprisingly, he’s the only player to post such a 15-15-5-4 line in at least the past 15 seasons.
Freshman of the weekend: Anthony Bennett, UNLV Rebels
Quintrell Thomas had the game winner, but it was Bennett who did the bulk of the damage in UNLV’s 76-75 squeaker over California. With Mike Moser suffering an injury just five minutes into the game, Bennett finished with a career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds.
He now leads all freshmen with 19.5 points per game, and is on track to be the first freshman to average 19 points and 8 rebounds per game since Michael Beasley (2008) and Kevin Durant (2007). The last UNLV player in any class to average 19 and 8 was Isaiah Rider in 1993.
Winning ugly of the weekend: Georgetown Hoyas
Look away if you are a fan of scoring. The Hoyas shot just 29.2 percent in their 46-40 win over Towson. That is the lowest for Georgetown in a win since 2000 against Louisville. Georgetown has now held three straight opponents below 42 points for the first time since the 1942-43 season.