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January 6, 2009

Weekly awards: Rice up to the challenge

North Carolina will be happy not to see Tyrese Rice and Boston College for the rest of the regular season.

Rice scored 46 points and 20 points against the Tar Heels in two games last season, but the Heels still won both games. But Sunday, Boston College got a big game from Rice in a shocking 85-78 victory over the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. For Rice's efforts, he has been named the Rivals.com National Player of the Week.

Rice had 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds as BC handed top-ranked North Carolina its first loss of the season. Before the loss to BC, North Carolina won every game by at least 15 points.

"Every team that they've played against, they just walked right through them," Rice said. "You look at people playing defense against them, they stay back, people drive and they're standing straight up and not trying to contest shots. I can't watch a tape if everybody's playing like that.

"We wanted to challenge them to see if they could step up and play as hard as we were going to play."

Rice also had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in a win over Sacred Heart earlier in the week.

Also considered:

Arkansas forward Michael Washington outdueled Blake Griffin with 24 points and 11 rebounds in a win over previously undefeated Oklahoma. He added 34 points and 11 rebounds in a win over North Texas.

Guard Jeff Teague helped Wake Forest end BYU's 53-game home winning streak with 30 points, four rebounds and four assists in a 94-87 win. Teague also had 19 points and four steals in a win over Radford.

Florida guard Nick Calathes keyed a come-from-behind win over NC State with 32 points and five assists. He also had 23 points and five assists earlier in the week against Stetson.

Kansas won its fifth consecutive game against a ranked opponent as forward Cole Aldrich scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked six shots in a win over Tennessee. Aldrich had 20 points, six rebounds and three blocks in a game against Albany earlier.

Pittsburgh forward DeJuan Blair made up for four fouls in eight minutes in a win over Rutgers with a dominating performance against Georgetown. Blair had 20 points and 17 rebounds against the Hoyas to leave Pitt as the only remaining undefeated team in the Big East.

Marquette moved to 2-0 in the Big East thanks to big efforts from Jerel McNeal. He had 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds in a win over Villanova and 26 points, six assists and five rebounds in a win over Cincinnati.

California guard Jerome Randle scored 26 points and added 10 assists in a win over Arizona State on Sunday night as the Golden Bears continued their surprisingly hot start. He also had 14 points and five assists in a win Friday over Arizona.

NON-BIG SIX PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Luke Nevill, Utah

Nevill, a center, continued to add to Gonzaga's misery.

The Australian scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots to lift the Utes to a 66-65 win on New Year's Eve. That was Gonzaga's third consecutive loss.

Nevill added 29 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks in a win over Wyoming on Saturday.

Also considered:

With UNLV playing without leading scorer Wink Adams, guard Rene Rougeau stepped up in a big way with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks in a 56-55 stunner at Louisville. He also had nine points and seven rebounds in a win over New Mexico.

Avery Smith led Wisconsin-Milwaukee to a 4-0 start in the Horizon League with 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists in a win at Illinois-Chicago and 28 points, five rebounds and three assists in a win at Loyola (Ill.).

Osiris Eldridge continued to lead Illinois State to an unbeaten start with 22 points and five rebounds in a win over Evansville and 20 points and nine rebounds in a key victory over Creighton.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Greg Monroe, Georgetown

Monroe, the No. 8-ranked prospect in the class of 2008, had his best week of the season against two of the top teams in the Big East.

Monroe had 16 points, four assists and three steals in a 74-63 win over previously unbeaten Connecticut. Saturday, he had 15 points and eight rebounds in a 70-54 loss to undefeated Pittsburgh.

Also considered:

Memphis guard Tyreke Evans had 27 points, four assists and seven steals in a win over Northeastern and 25 points, five assists and four steals in a win over Lamar.

Arkansas guard Courtney Fortson continued his hot start with 12 points and 10 assists in the upset of previously undefeated Oklahoma. He also had 12 points and nine assists in a win over North Texas.

Boston College guard Reggie Jackson scored 17 points in the upset of No. 1 North Carolina and scored 12 points earlier in the week against Sacred Heart.

Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu had 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks at BYU and 18 points and 10 rebounds against Radford.

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.



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