The Maryland Terrapins made a case to be included in the shortlist of men's basketball championship contenders Saturday.
The ninth-ranked team in the nation raced out to a double-digit advantage over the Michigan State Spartans, absorbed a comeback attempt and finished off a victory by way of Anthony Cowan Jr.
Maryland has won eight consecutive games, and it is expected to move up at least one spot in the AP Top 25 Monday after the Louisville Cardinals suffered their second straight defeat.
The manner in which the Terrapins won at the Breslin Center could persuade voters to move them further up the poll. At minimum, it should put them into a more serious discussion among the likes of the Baylor Bears and Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Baylor earned one of Saturday's best victories, as its defense put the clamps on the West Virginia Mountaineers to extend the team's winning streak to 22 games. West Virginia was one of seven ranked teams to stumble on the road Saturday. Louisville and the Seton Hall Pirates were also among the Top 25 casualties during a chaotic slate.
Saturday Top 25 Scores
No. 1 Baylor 70, No. 14 West Virginia 59
No. 2 Gonzaga 89, Pepperdine 77
No. 3 Kansas 87, Oklahoma 70
Clemson 77, No. 5 Louisville 62
No. 6 Dayton 71, UMass 63
No. 7 Duke 94, Notre Dame 60
No. 8 Florida State 80, Syracuse 77
No. 9 Maryland 67, Michigan State 60
Providence 74, No. 10 Seton Hall 71
Missouri 85, No. 11 Auburn 73
No. 12 Kentucky 67, Ole Miss 62
No. 13 Penn State 77, Northwestern 61
No. 16 Colorado 69, Oregon State 47
Georgetown 73, No. 19 Butler 66
SMU 73, No. 20 Houston 72 (Final/Overtime)
Rutgers 72, No. 22 Illinois 57
No. 23 Creighton 93, DePaul 64
Oklahoma State 73, No. 24 Texas Tech 70
Alabama 88, No. 25 LSU 82
Anthony Cowan Finishes Off Maryland's Win
Baylor Extends Winning Streak to 22 Games
Mississippi State Beats Arkansas at Buzzer
BYU's Game-Winning Alley-Oop
John Newman Caps Clemson's Upset Over Louisville
Jabari Rice's Game-Winning Shot for New Mexico State
Marcus Garrett's Strong Finish
Tevian Jones' Emphatic Block
C.J. Walker's Steal and Drive
Matthew Mayer's Poster Slam
Herb Jones Shoots 1-Handed Free Throws
Keyontae Johnson Rises for the Dunk
Anthony Cowan Leads Maryland Past Michigan State
Maryland appeared to be cruising to a win at the Breslin Center after going into halftime with an eight-point advantage.
At one point in the first half, the Terrapins held a 15-point lead over Tom Izzo's Spartans, who dropped out of the AP Top 25 this week. The home side rallied to take the lead in the second half behind Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman, but it was not enough to put away Cowan and Co.
The Maryland guard scored the final 11 points of the Big Ten contest over two minutes and 26 seconds to secure the victory.
Saturday's win kept Mark Turgeon's side atop the conference standings, and it helped with its NCAA men's basketball tournament resume, as CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein noted:
While winning in East Lansing, Michigan, is no easy task, Cowan is driven to win more before the calendar flips to March, per the program's official Twitter account:
Maryland is 11-3 in the Big Ten, and it does not face a ranked foe in its final six regular-season games, but it does have a rematch with Michigan State on February 29.
Cowan is making his impact in the National Player of the Year discussion, as he has seven straight double-digit performances and three outings with 20 or more points in his past five appearances.
Baylor's Defense Shines in 22nd Straight Win
Baylor is not letting go of the No. 1 ranking anytime soon.
The Bears won their 22nd consecutive game by holding West Virginia to 59 points with a 34.5 field-goal percentage.
Scott Drew's team has allowed one Big 12 opponent to record 70 points in 12 conference games and is on track to set a new league defensive record, per ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Baylor is allowing 58.4 PPG, a record setting pace: Fewest PPG Allowed in a Season - Big 12 History '06-07 Texas A&M 59.4 '18-19 Texas Tech 59.5 '18-19 Kansas St 59.6 '06-07 Oklahoma 59.6 Baylor has now won 22 straight, tying the longest win streak in Big 12 history. https://t.co/LmvC22G6XZ
Drew admitted he was impressed with how his squad handled the battle of top-five defenses, per John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald:
"You know it's going to be a war when you play West Virginia. You had two top five defenses in the country. You had two top five rebounding teams. I thought our guys really did a great job in sharing the ball, causing turnovers. Obviously they're going to cause turnovers. Twenty's too many for us. But I'm really proud of our effort. I thought defensively we were really aggressive and active."
Baylor had four players record two or more steals, while Matthew Meyer came off the bench to produce seven rebounds along with his 13 points.
The 22-game winning streak could be in danger of ending Saturday, when the Kansas Jayhawks come to the Ferrell Center for a rematch of the January 11 clash won by the Bears at Allen Fieldhouse.
If Baylor wins that contest, it should lock up the Big 12 regular-season crown and move one step closer to securing a No. 1 seed in March Madness.
Sunday Top 25 Schedule
No. 15 Villanova at Temple (1 p.m. ET, ESPN)
No. 21 Iowa at Minnesota (1 p.m. ET, FS1)
No. 4 San Diego State at Boise State (4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
Utah at No. 17 Oregon (9 p.m. ET, FS1)
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.