The trend of upsets continued on in college basketball on Monday night with two schools suffering rare losses to conference rivals. First, the seventh-ranked West Virginia Moutaineers fell to the TCU Horned Frogs for the first time ever, 82-73, in an upset loss. Desmond Bane had 15 points, and went off for eight points in just over a minute in the second half to help TCU stay in front. That helped fuel a 23-3 run that spanned from the end of the first half through the beginning of the second half. Alex Robinson led the Horned Frogs with 17 points, as they earned their first win over a top-10 team in five years. This comes right after they dropped out of the AP Top 25 due to their five early conference losses. West Virginia finished shooting 33 percent from the floor in what was their third loss in the past four games. Meanwhile, the 10th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels saw their four-game win streak come to an end with an 80-69 loss to Virginia Tech. Justin Robinson scored 19 points for the Hokies, who snapped a seven-game losing streak against their conference rivals. Ahmed Hill scored 18 points and Kerry Blackshear Jr. chipped in 16 for VA Tech, who used a 13-3 run late to hold off the Tar Heels. Joel Berry and Luke Maye had 23 points apiece for UNC, who turned the ball over 13 times in the loss.
Avalanche Double-Up Maple Leafs for 10th Straight Win
The Colorado Avalanche are all of a sudden making a case for them to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. It was Jonathan Bernier who haunted his former team on Monday night with 29 saves in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, giving the Avalanche 10 wins in a row. Bernier was playing in his first game in Toronto since being traded by the Leafs in July of 2016, and was supported by Blake Comeau's go-ahead goal. Gabriel Landeskog, Gabriel Bourque, and Nail Yakupov all scored for Colorado, whose 27-16-3 record has them in the thick of the Wild Card race in the West. They extended this win streak against the same team it started against in overtime back on December 29th at the Pepsi Center. Auston Matthews and Patrick Marleau both scored for Toronto, who suffered their 18th loss of the year. Frederik Andersen had 23 saves in the defeat, as Toronto dropped to third place in the Atlantic Division. Colorado will put their win streak on the line again on Tuesday night when they visit the Montreal Canadiens. The Maple Leafs will move on to an Original Six showdown on Rivalry night when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.
Cousins, Wiggins Put up 40 in Monday Wins
Two stars out west went off in big wins on Monday night, beginning with DeMarcus Cousins powering the New Orleans Pelicans to a 132-128 double-overtime win over the Chicago Bulls. Cousins had 44 points, 24 rebounds, and 10 assists in a monster triple-double for New Orleans, who came back from a 17-point deficit. Cousins is the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972 to have 40 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game. The Pelicans forced extra time with a stunning 23-4 run in the final minutes of regulation. Jerian Grant had 22 points and 13 assists, while Brook Lopez added 22 points in the loss for the Bulls. Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins needed just 48 minutes to put up 40 points in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 126-118 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The performance helped Minnesota snap a four-game road losing streak, despite them getting out-shot 56 percent-47 percent by Los Angeles. Wiggins was 16-of-28 from the floor, as Minnesota overcame playing without Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford for their seventh win in the past nine games. The T'Wolves can also thank their free throw shooting, which was at 33-for-39, led by Jeff Teague going 16-of-17. They also overcame a triple-double effort from Blake Griffin, who had 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists, the latter of which set a career high, but that was not enough to out-shine Wiggins' big night.