Ranking Best Single-Game Performances Thus Far in 2022-23 Men's College Basketball

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 2022

Ranking Best Single-Game Performances Thus Far in 2022-23 Men's College Basketball

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    Purdue's Zach Edey
    Purdue's Zach EdeyMichael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Already in the 2022-23 men's college basketball season, we have been treated to eight 40-point performances, four 20-rebound outbursts, a 20-assist gem, a 13-steal extravaganza and several substantial block parties.

    Trying to rank those games and the many, many other impressive individual performances through the first six weeks of the regular season was no easy task, but we gave it a go.

    Opponent was a major factor in the ranking process, as scoring 20 against a top-20 defense is more noteworthy than dropping 40 on a defense made of Swiss cheese. Generally speaking, though, in the ocean of data from more than 2,000 games played, the biggest numbers stood out the best.

    One last note before diving in: We've imposed a maximum of one game per player. Got to spread the love around the country rather than spend half this article gushing about Zach Edey's 11 MVP performances.

    Honorable Mentions:
    New Hampshire's Clarence Daniels (34 points, 14 rebounds) vs. Boston College
    Arizona's Oumar Ballo (30 points, 13 rebounds) vs. Creighton
    Nebraska's Sam Griesel (18 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) vs. Creighton
    Vanderbilt's Liam Robbins (20 points, eight blocks, seven rebounds) vs. Fresno State
    Gonzaga's Drew Timme (22 points, 13 rebounds, four assists) vs. Michigan State
    St. Francis (Pa.)'s Josh Cohen (40 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) vs. Hawai'i

The Triple-Double Tier

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    Connecticut's Tristen Newton
    Connecticut's Tristen NewtonMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    Men's college basketball has seen 16 triple-doubles this season. All of them were impressive, and all of them came in victories, but some were more impressive than others. Here's our ranking of the top seven.

    No. 7: Bethune-Cookman's Marcus Garrett vs. Trinity Baptist (10 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds)—It came against a non-Division I opponent, but he pulled it off in just 22 minutes. Garrett became only the third person since 2010-11 to record a triple-double in 22 minutes or fewer.

    No. 6: Penn State's Jalen Pickett vs. Butler (15 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds)—Pickett is a nightly triple-double threat, boasting six games with at least nine points, six rebounds and six assists, but he finished the fight, if you will, against Butler. Bold prediction: If Penn State makes the tournament, Pickett becomes the 10th entrant on this list.

    No. 5: Illinois' Coleman Hawkins vs. Syracuse (15 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds)—Best way to beat the 2-3 zone? Feed the big man at the elbow and run the offense from there. Illinois banged that drum hard with Hawkins in a 29-point victory over Syracuse.

    No. 4: Oregon's Will Richardson vs. Nevada (19 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds)—Richardson's triple-double Dec. 10 came darn near on the 20-year anniversary of Oregon's last one—Luke Jackson on Dec. 20, 2002. Richardson played all 40 minutes and needed every last one of them, grabbing his 10th rebound on the final field-goal attempt of the game.

    No. 3: Arizona's Kerr Kriisa vs. Southern (14 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds)—There have been 16 triple-doubles, but this is the only one with at least 11 in each category. And it only took Kriisa 30 minutes to do it. He also had a triple-double against Utah in February.

    No. 2: Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis vs. Xavier (12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, three blocks, three steals)—The last few minutes were rough to watch, as both TJD and Indiana were clearly aware of how many assists he needed to make history. But he got there and became the only player in the past 13 seasons to record at least three steals and three blocks in a points/assists/rebounds triple-double.

    No. 1: UConn's Tristen Newton vs. Buffalo (22 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, four steals)—We knew the combo guard from East Carolina would be critical to the success of UConn, but who knew he'd have a triple-double barely a week into the season? Newton did the bulk of his scoring (14 points) from the free-throw line as the Huskies routed the Bulls. He's the only player this season to score 20 in a triple-double.

Nos. 25-22: Nelson Phillips, Marques Warrick, Oso Ighodaro and Cason Wallace

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    Kentucky's Cason Wallace
    Kentucky's Cason WallaceAP Photo/James Crisp

    No. 25: Nelson Phillips, Troy (Nov. 23 vs. Southern-New Orleans)
    22 points, 13 steals, eight rebounds, eight assists

    We're putting this at the bottom of the list because it came in a 57-point blowout against an NAIA school, but holy moly, did Phillips have himself a day. He only played 27 minutes too, which is a shame. He came just two rebounds and two assists shy of joining Lester Hudson III as the only D-I men's basketball player to record a quadruple-double.

    No. 24: Marques Warrick, Northern Kentucky (Nov. 27 vs. Tennessee Tech)
    45 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals

    Northern Arizona's Jalen Cone also went for 45 points Saturday in an overtime loss to Southern Utah, but this was the first 45+ performance of the season. The Norse's shooting guard went 18-of-31 from the field, committing just one turnover and one foul. Beyond the points, though, Warrick didn't contribute much else to the box score. And there's a "double overtime" asterisk on the game, as he only had 35 points at the end of regulation.

    No. 23: Oso Ighodaro, Marquette (Dec. 11 at Notre Dame)
    16 points, 18 rebounds, three assists

    Marquette is usually below average on the glass, but Notre Dame had no answer for Ighodaro. He had 10 points and 10 rebounds by halftime and continued to shine in the second half as Marquette surged to an impressive 15-point road win. Had Ighodaro shown up to that degree against Purdue, Mississippi State and Wisconsin, Marquette would be undefeated.

    No. 22: Cason Wallace, Kentucky (Nov. 15 vs. Michigan State)
    14 points, eight steals, five assists, five rebounds

    The game went to double overtime, Kentucky lost and Wallace arguably wasn't even the most impressive Wildcat. Still, this was the "Oh, Cason Wallace is for real for real" game. The only other player in the past 13 years to tally at least eight steals, five assists and five rebounds against a major-conference opponent was Tremont Waters against Texas A&M in 2018. (All eight of Wallace's steals came in regulation, for what it's worth.)

Nos. 21-18: Caleb Grill, Morris Udeze, Armando Bacot and Jordan Walker

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    North Carolina's Armando Bacot
    North Carolina's Armando BacotRich Schultz/Getty Images

    No. 21: Caleb Grill, Iowa State (Nov. 25 vs. North Carolina)
    31 points, two rebounds

    If this game happened today, it barely makes a blip on the national radar. But when North Carolina was No. 1 in the AP poll, Grill's career-high 31 points—10 of them in the final four minutes as the Cyclones closed out their 70-65 upset on a 17-5 run—was a huge deal.

    No. 20: Morris Udeze, New Mexico (Nov. 27 vs. Northern Colorado)
    33 points, 14 rebounds, three assists

    Udeze was unstoppable in the paint against an overmatched opponent, which often happens in nonconference season. But the real surprise is how unstoppable Udeze was at the free-throw line. He entered as a 62.6 percent free-throw shooter in 98 career games, only to go 13-of-13 from the charity stripe. The odds of a 62.6 percent shooter making 13 in a row are 441-to-1.

    No. 19: Armando Bacot, North Carolina (Nov. 20 vs. James Madison)
    19 points, 23 rebounds

    This is nothing compared to the time in 2016 when UNC's Brice Johnson lit up Florida State for 39 points and 23 rebounds, or even Bacot's 29-point, 22-rebound outburst against Virginia last season. But 23 rebounds is the high-water mark in the 2021-22 campaign and deserves recognition. Bacot also put up 28 points and 15 rebounds in Saturday's overtime win over Ohio State and is well on his way to averaging a double-double for a second consecutive year.

    No. 18: Jordan Walker, UAB (Nov. 22 vs. Georgia)
    31 points, six rebounds, five assists, five steals

    Jelly Walker is no stranger to 30-point performances. He has six of them dating back to January. But the secondary numbers—and the fact that it came in a win over a major-conference opponent (even though UAB was favored against Georgia)—set this one apart from the crowd. The 30-5-5-5 stat line has happened just 25 times since 2010-11 and only four times in a win over a major-conference opponent.

Nos. 17-14: Hunter Dickinson, Justyn Mutts, Foster Loyer and Dwayne Cohill

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    Youngstown State's Dwayne Cohill
    Youngstown State's Dwayne CohillMichael Hickey/Getty Images

    No. 17: Hunter Dickinson, Michigan (Nov. 29 vs. Virginia)
    23 points, seven rebounds, five blocks, two assists

    Had Dickinson done this against West Virginia or Virginia Tech, no big deal. But 20 points and five blocks against Virginia? That never happens. Literally, it had not happened since at least 2010. No other player this season has blocked four or more shots against Virginia. Or scored 21 or more points. Factor in the seven rebounds and two assists and it was an incredible showing, even in a losing effort.

    No. 16: Justyn Mutts, Virginia Tech (Dec. 4 vs. North Carolina)
    27 points, 11 rebounds, four assists

    It's less impressive than it would have been if UNC's Armando Bacot was playing or if this hadn't been the Tar Heels' fourth consecutive loss. Still, 27-point double-doubles against North Carolina don't grow on trees. Mutts scored 21 of Virginia Tech's 43 points in the second half, almost single-handedly keeping UNC at bay as the Hokies won by eight.

    No. 15: Foster Loyer, Davidson (Nov. 9 vs. Wright State)
    38 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists

    There have been 280 triple-doubles since the beginning of 2010-11, the highest-scoring of which were 34-point performances by Elfrid Payton, T.J. Cline and Fatodd Lewis. Thus, Loyer was one measly assist away from landing at the top of that list. Alas, he fell short, despite playing 48 minutes in a double-overtime affair. Mighty fine line, though, and he outscored Wright State 11-8 by himself in the second overtime.

    No. 14: Dwayne Cohill, Youngstown State (Dec. 4 vs. Wright State)
    16-for-19, 43 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals

    Another game against Wright State? Do the Raiders know how to play defense? Cohill's performance was more impressive than Loyer's, though, as he scored five more points in a game with 10 fewer minutes. He shot 6-of-6 from three-point range, 5-of-5 from the charity stripe and 16-of-19 overall from the field. In the process, Cohill became the first player in over two years to score at least 43 points on 19 or fewer shots.

Nos. 13-10: El Ellis, Souley Boum, Eric Williams Jr. and Yuri Collins

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    Saint Louis' Yuri Collins
    Saint Louis' Yuri CollinsM. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    No. 13: El Ellis, Louisville (Dec. 14 vs. Western Kentucky)
    30 points, 10 assists, four rebounds

    Very little has gone right for Louisville this season. But the Cardinals finally got off the winless schneid last week thanks to a Herculean performance from their lead guard. He had 17 points and five assists at halftime and then went for another 13 points and five dimes after the intermission for the nation's only 30-point, 10-assist game thus far this season.

    No. 12: Souley Boum, Xavier (Dec. 16 vs. Georgetown)
    28 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four steals

    When you shoot 51.6 percent from the field and commit just six turnovers, you rather expect to win the game. But no such luck for Georgetown in a 13-point loss to Xavier in which the Hoyas simply had no answer for Boum. The former UTEP transfer scored 20 of the Musketeers' 59 second-half points, including one spurt in which he scored 10 points in the span of four Xavier possessions.

    No. 11: Eric Williams Jr., San Diego (Nov. 17 vs. Utah State)
    43 points, 13 rebounds, two steals

    Though he did have a 40-point game at Duquesne in March 2019, that was the last time Williams scored even 20 points in a game, failing to reach that mark at any point in the past two seasons at Oregon. So it was quite the shock when he scored 20 points just in the final 11 minutes of regulation against Utah State to send the game to overtime. It's just a shame he fouled out in the extra period, as the Toreros ended up losing the game.

    No. 10: Yuri Collins, Saint Louis (Nov. 30 vs. Tennessee State)
    four points, 20 assists, eight rebounds, two steals

    There have been 10 games this season in which a player recorded at least 13 assists, and Collins is responsible for half of them. But he was exceptionally unselfish in this one, recording an assist on 20 of Saint Louis' 32 made buckets. It wasn't exactly Trae Young's 26-point, 22-assist extravaganza against Northwestern State half a decade ago, but Collins and Young are the only players in over a decade to rack up 20 dimes against a D-I foe.

Nos. 9-7: Adama Sanogo, Oscar Tshiebwe and Terrence Shannon Jr.

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    Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe
    Kentucky's Oscar TshiebweAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    No. 9: Adama Sanogo, Connecticut (Dec. 17 vs. Butler)
    27 points, 14 rebounds, three assists

    Connecticut's calling card during its 12-0 start to the season has been depth and defense. But when Butler made things interesting midway through the second half of a low-scoring affair, the Huskies just let Sanogo go to work. He scored 13 points in the span of six minutes, as UConn turned a four-point lead into a 19-point advantage. Seven of Sanogo's 14 rebounds came on the offensive glass.

    No. 8: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky (Nov. 15 vs. Michigan State)
    22 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks

    Even without putting a qualifier on it, 'twas a strong outing from the reigning NPOY. Just the fifth time in a career flooded with double-doubles that Tshiebwe went for at least 15 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. But more astounding is that Big O did it in his first game of the season, off the bench, less than five weeks after undergoing a minor knee surgery which caused him to miss Kentucky's first two games. He's not the NPOY favorite at the moment, but there's still a good chance for a repeat.

    No. 7: Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois (Nov. 18 vs. UCLA)
    29 points, 10 rebounds, three assists

    Few players in the country can get "NBA Jam" hot quite like Shannon can. He caught fire in overtime of the marquee victory over Texas, and he took over when Illinois stormed back from a 15-point second-half deficit to knock off UCLA in Las Vegas. He shot 8-of-9 from three-point range overall and scored 19 second-half points while putting together just the third double-double of his career.

Nos. 6-4: Brandon Miller, KJ Williams and Jalen Wilson

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    Kansas' Jalen Wilson
    Kansas' Jalen WilsonJay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

    No. 6: Brandon Miller, Alabama (Dec. 17 vs. Gonzaga)
    36 points, six rebounds

    Though it wasn't enough to get a W for the Crimson Tide, this freshman phenom went off against the Zags for a whole bunch of sixes. He was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, made six twos, made six threes, grabbed six rebounds...and committed six turnovers. The 6-of-11 performance from three-point range was the most impressive part, as he drilled some of those shots from well beyond NBA range.

    No. 5: KJ Williams, LSU (Dec. 10 vs. Wake Forest)
    35 points, 10 rebounds

    LSU's Justice Hill hit the game-winning bucket with two seconds remaining in a tie game, but come on, we all know Williams won this potentially-significant-for-NCAA-tournament-purposes game for the Tigers. Not only did he score nearly half of their 72 points, but 18 of them came in the first 8.5 minutes of the second half as LSU turned an eight-point deficit into a five-point lead. Williams is putting up numbers nearly identical to what he gave Murray State last season, though we'll see if that holds up when a weak nonconference schedule gives way to an SEC grind.

    No. 4 Jalen Wilson, Kansas (Nov. 15 vs. Duke)
    25 points, 11 rebounds, five assists

    Wilson has had several games that were at least worth considering for this list, which is a testament to why he's one of the top challengers to Zach Edey for National Player of the Year at this still-early juncture in the season. But this was a special "put the team on my back" performance from the man who had three double-doubles during last year's national championship run. Racking up this many points, rebounds and assists in a 69-64 game against a title contender was noteworthy, even if it wasn't particularly efficient.

Nos. 3-1: Justice Sueing, Kris Murray and Zach Edey

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    Purdue's Zach Edey
    Purdue's Zach EdeyBrian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    No. 3 Justice Sueing, Ohio State (Nov. 23 vs. Texas Tech)
    33 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals

    Though Texas Tech isn't quite as defensively elite as it had been over the past half-decade, dropping 33 points on the Red Raiders—not to mention the rebounds and assists—is no joke. And this came out of nowhere, as Sueing missed almost all of last season with an injury and had not previously scored more than 27 points in his career. But he went off against the Red Raiders, scoring 23 of Ohio State's 39 second-half points in a big win.

    No. 2 Kris Murray, Iowa (Nov. 29 vs. Georgia Tech)
    31 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, two blocks

    We've spent a lot of time talking about second-half explosions, but how about Murray just blitzing Georgia Tech for 15 points and 14 rebounds in the first half of this ACC/B1G Challenge showdown? Murray went for 29 points against Seton Hall, 30 against Nebraska Omaha five days later and then 31 against the Yellow Jackets to wrap up an incredible November for a guy who had started just one game prior to this season.

    No. 1: Zach Edey, Purdue (Dec. 4 vs. Minnesota)
    31 points, 22 rebounds

    With Edey, it's really just a question of which game makes the cut, because the man is averaging 22.6 points, 13.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Going for 21 points, 12 rebounds and three assists against Duke was noteworthy. So were the 23 points, seven rebounds and three blocks against Gonzaga, as well as several of his other many double-doubles thus far. But 31 points is his season high, as is 22 rebounds, so this domination of Minnesota lands at No. 1. He merely had four points and five rebounds over the final 11 minutes, too, so he reasonably could have gone for 40 and 25 if Minnesota had made things interesting at any point in the second half.