Filed by by David Uchiyama
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Texas A&M senior guard Acie Law has been dubbed the most clutch player in college basketball by a bunch of analysts this season.
He wasn’t even the most clutch in Rupp Arena on Thursday.
The (name your auto-part store here) Clutch Award from Lexington goes to none other than Xavier point guard Drew Lavender.
He broke a 68-all tie by drilling a 3-pointer with 3:53 to play. So BYU tied it up with its own triple, then took the lead with 2:10 left on a pair of free throws.
What’s Lavender do? He drives and hits a floater that looks like it left his palm and not the fingertips to tie it. Xavier gets a steal and he does it again to give the Musketeers the lead.
He also sealed the deal with two dead-on free throws with 11.2 seconds left.
A few other things caught my attention in Lexington.
1. Law is good — real good. He knows how to run his team. He has the ability to impact games on the major level like East Tennessee State’s Tim Smith did in the Southern Conference, if he wanted to take all the shots. But like a good point guard (unlike Smith), he’s able to get everybody else involved — then when the shot clock gets to 10 seconds, make something good happen for the Aggies.
2. I really hope Greg Oden chooses to return to Ohio State for a sophomore season. I’d love to see him dominate for another year. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to watch him play until the NBA playoffs, because that’s really the only time I watch the NBA.
3. Xavier coach Sean Miller made the substitution of the night, and it may have won him the game. Miller pulled starting forward Justin Cage shortly after he missed two free throws with 2:10 left, although he had been a dominant post threat before that, and put Josh Duncan in the game. Duncan stole the ball with less than two minutes to go. Then the made a pump-fake and drove from the left corner for a finger roll to give Xavier its two-point lead.
For some light-hearted stuff ... At halftime of the Louisville-Stanford game, the joke around the media room was whether the NCAA selection committee could remove a team from the bracket (Stanford) and replace it with say, Syracuse? Kansas State?
Also, the Stanford Tree mascot has had its share of troubles in recent years, but it was usually one of the more entertaining mascots around. I’ve seen it fire up in Maples Pavilion back in the Bay Area. I guess the university decided to kill the tree. Or at least leave it planted back home along with the Stanford cheerleaders and pep band.
At least Texas A&M brought its full support staff to fill the void.
E-mail David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org.