Ranking the Top 10 Performances of the Men's College Basketball Season so Far
Basketball is a team sport. Yet every once in a while, an individual player takes over a game.
Whether the player enjoys a scorching shooting hand or an all-around spectacular night, the box score usually reflects an explosive performance. The 2019-20 men's season has featured plenty of massive games, and we're highlighting the best of the best.
Overall production is the main factor, though competition level is a consideration. Although the final result—a win or loss—matters, some performances in losing efforts were still too prolific to ignore.
Tyrn Flowers, Long Island vs. Merrimack
Long Island edged Merrimack thanks to a prolific showing from Flowers. The junior forward, who is averaging a double-double this season, played every minute of an overtime win. He amassed 25 points, 27 rebounds and three blocks.
Jordan Lyons, Furman at VMI
Furman could be headed to the NCAA tournament, and leading scorer Jordan Lyons is a major reason why. His most outstanding game of the campaign came on New Year's Day when he hit 10 of 12 threes en route to a season-high 40 points.
Mason Peatling, Eastern Washington vs. Northern Colorado
Earlier in the season, Peatling poured in 54 points against lower-division Multnomah. More impressively, though, he racked up 21 points, 22 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks to lead EWU past Big Sky opponent Northern Colorado.
Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State at TCU
In an overtime loss, Halliburton collected 22 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals. The sophomore guard finished 7-of-17 from the floor, hitting three of his seven long-range attempts.
10. John Petty, Alabama at Samford
In his first two seasons at Alabama, John Petty shot an unspectacular 36.1 percent from three-point range while attempting 5.9 shots per game. Samford coach Scott Padgett summed up the scouting report nicely.
"When he's hot, you're in trouble," he said. "When he's not, he might help you out. Tonight was definitely a hot night."
That night, the junior scorched Padgett's squad for 39 points, drilling 10 of 13 long-range attempts. He joined former Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarke as the only SEC players with multiple games of 10-plus threes.
Petty also grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double, adding two assists and two steals in the 105-87 win.
9. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. Charleston Southern at Gardner-Webb
Charleston Southern needed two overtimes to outlast Gardner-Webb, and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. took full advantage.
While playing 49 minutes in a 92-83 victory, he flooded the box score with 31 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. In the last decade, only six men's college basketball players have ever managed a similar line, according to Sports Reference.
He also collected six blocks and four steals, a combination that has only happened 10 times in the past five seasons.
8. Chris Duarte, Oregon vs. UCLA
Chris Duarte did a little bit of everything when Oregon upended UCLA 96-75 in late January.
Scoring a game-high 24 points, Duarte went 4-of-7 both inside and outside the arc while converting each of his four free-throw attempts. The junior guard also contributed six rebounds, six steals, five assists and two blocks with zero turnovers.
All in just 29 minutes on the floor.
Bolstered by 30 points, 11 rebounds and eight steals in a double-overtime win against USC the previous game, Duarte soon earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.
7. Luka Garza, Iowa at Indiana
While we're highlighting this showing at Indiana, we could easily have picked Luka Garza's 44-point display against Michigan. He just shot more efficiently against the Hoosiers.
The unfortunate fact, though, is that Iowa lost both games.
Garza went 14-of-22 against the Hoosiers, hitting three of six threes en route to 38 points. He grabbed eight rebounds and swatted four shots, yet it wasn't enough in an 89-77 loss. That didn't stop Indiana head coach Archie Miller from praising Iowa's star.
"Utmost respect for Luka Garza," Miller said after the game. "He's got to be the National Player of the Year. I thought our guys actually did a pretty good job on him at times. Man, what an offensive weapon he is in terms of how he scores."
6. Mason Jones, Arkansas vs. Tulsa
Mason Jones has topped the 30-point mark six times in 2019-20, so there are several good options to consider. His career-high 41 points in a victory over Tulsa is our favorite, though.
The junior hit 12 of 18 shots with a 5-of-11 long-distance clip and a 12-of-13 mark at the free-throw line. Jones also provided six rebounds, four assists and four steals, becoming one of 14 players in the past decade to record a 40-4-4-4 game.
Jones propelled the Razorbacks to a 98-79 victory.
5. Trevion Williams, Purdue at Michigan
On a night his teammates combined to shoot 13-of-43, Trevion Williams carried Purdue to a near-upset of Michigan.
The sophomore forward netted a career-high 36 points on a 16-of-28 clip, even hitting the third three-pointer of his career. Williams dominated the glass with 20 rebounds, posting the ninth 35-20 performance of the last 10 college seasons.
However, the Wolverines still managed to hold off Williams and Purdue with an 84-78 final score.
4. Cole Anthony, North Carolina vs. Notre Dame
Welcome to college basketball, Cole Anthony. Or, perhaps more accurately, welcome to Cole Anthony, college basketball.
The 5-star guard demanded headlines after a debut in which he shredded Notre Dame for 34 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Anthony hit six threes, which remains a personal best, in a 76-65 win.
"Sometimes, I used to say, Tyler Hansbrough carried us," UNC head coach Roy Williams said. "Cole Anthony carried us tonight. ... That was pretty impressive, to say the least."
3. Cassius Winston, Michigan State vs. Michigan
Michigan would have its revenge in February, but Cassius Winston propelled Michigan State to an emphatic victory in January.
The Spartans crushed their in-state nemesis 87-69 behind a career-high 32 points from Winston. He knocked down two threes, also dishing out nine assists while committing only two turnovers to give Michigan State its fourth straight win in the rivalry.
2. Anthony Edwards, Georgia vs. Michigan State
During the sixth game of his college career, Anthony Edwards almost single-handedly brought Georgia back from a 28-point second-half deficit against Michigan State.
With 16:26 remaining in regulation, MSU held a 61-33 lead.
Over the next 13 minutes, the freshman scored 28 points and dished out two assists as the Bulldogs clawed to within four. Edwards scored five more points in the closing stretch as the Spartans' lead rose to nine and again dropped to four.
Despite the loss, a 33-point effort after the break showed exactly why Edwards is a touted NBA draft prospect. He finished with 37 points, six rebounds, four steals, three blocks and two assists.
1. Markus Howard, Marquette vs. USC
Markus Howard wasted little time recording a 50-point outburst for the third straight season.
In late November at the Orlando Invitational, the senior shredded USC for 51 points with a 9-of-17 three-point clip. Howard, who had netted 40 points the previous day against Davidson, scored 26 points as Marquette built a 30-point lead in the first half before USC trimmed it to 21 at halftime.
So, of course, he responded with 25 points after the break. Marquette cruised to a 101-79 victory thanks to the senior guard.