Some times, one player can change the course of a game or a season. From freshmen phenoms to senior standouts, here are the best single-game performances from the 2013-14 season.
You could argue for his 28-point, 11-rebound performance in the West Region final that helped to boost his team to a Final Four. But it's hard to ignore a near-perfect shooting night and school record for points months before, with Kaminsky hitting 16-of-19 shots from the floor – including all six of his three-point attempts – for a 43-point night in a win over North Dakota.
Before the Oklahoma State guard's season devolved into controversy, he demonstrated why he was a preseason All-American pick. Against then-No. 11 Memphis, Smart detonated for 39 points in 33 minutes on 11-of-21 shooting, adding four rebounds, four assists and five steals in a 101-80 Cowboys win.
There must have been something in the water bottles on this November day, as Arizona State's sophomore guard exploded in a win at UNLV as well. Carson posted 40 points on a career-high 16-of-25 shooting, the first 40-point effort at Arizona State since 2008. But he didn't keep all the playmaking to himself – Carson dished out seven assists as well.
The 6-foot-8, 280-pound junior toiled in relative obscurity at UC-Santa Barbara, despite averaging 21.3 points and 11.5 rebounds for the season. One of his early efforts in 2013-14 was one of his most dominating: Williams poured in 39 points on 16-of-25 shooting in a blowout win over South Dakota State, adding nine rebounds, eight blocks and three steals.
The Canisius sharpshooter and nation's second-leading scorer – he finished with 24.1 points per game in his senior season – put together one of his most complete efforts in an overtime road loss at Notre Dame. Baron scored 33 points on 10-of-20 shooting – including 4-of-8 efficiency from long range – while adding six rebounds, five assists and six steals against just one turnover.
Creighton ventured to Villanova for a showdown of the top two Big East contenders, and then shot the Wildcats to tatters behind Wragge's red-hot effort from long distance. The senior forward scored 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting – all from three-point range – in an emphatic 96-68 win for the Bluejays. Creighton hit 21 three-pointers on the night.
So it was fairly one-dimensional – the BYU sniper took 34 shots and recorded zero assists – and the game against Portland went to three overtimes. Nevertheless, Haws poured in 48 points and only hit four three-pointers along the way, meaning the 6-foot-5 guard had to work ceaselessly from the mid-range to pile up the points.
Syracuse's forwards had signature efforts in maybe the signature game of the college basketball regular season, when the Orange toppled Duke in overtime to remain unbeaten at 21-0. Fair scored a career-high 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting. Grant added a career-best 24 points plus 12 rebounds, while scoring eight points in the extra session to push his team to the win.
DeAndre Kane, Feb. 3 vs. Oklahoma State
Iowa State's point guard was a threat to score, dish or wipe the glass clean all season. In an epic 98-97 three-overtime win over Oklahoma State, Kane did all that to the tune of a near triple-double while hardly leaving the floor at all. He posted 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in 52 minutes, committing just two turnovers the entire night.
Before he earned Big 12 player of the year honors, the senior forward assured Iowa State that he would leave something else to be remembered by. Ejim set a Big 12 record with 48 points while adding a not-so-shabby 18 rebounds in an 84-69 win over TCU. His shooting night was barely believable: Ejim hit 20-of-24 shots from the floor, an 83.3 percent conversion rate.
The sophomore Florida sharpshooter's detonation in a win at South Carolina was something to behold. Frazier scored 37 points on the strength of 11-of-18 shooting from beyond the three-point line – accounting for all of the Gators' long-distance makes on the night and setting a new record for an SEC game.
Kansas coach Bill Self said time and time again that he was prodding his freshman prodigy to do more, to be more assertive. Wiggins took it to heart in a loss at West Virginia, scoring a season-high 41 points on 12-of-18 shooting. Maybe even as impressive was that Wiggins took time for the little things as well: He added eight rebounds, four blocks and five steals for the Jayhawks.
Doug McDermott, March 8 vs. Providence
The Creighton star, on Senior Night, needed 34 points to hit 3,000 for his career. He got to 3,001 on a why-not three-pointer from the top of the key, but McDermott didn't stop there. He finished with a career-high 45 points on 17-of-25 shooting – including 5-of-7 efficiency from long range – on an unforgettable night.
One game earlier, the N.C. State sophomore scorer had hit for 41 points against Pittsburgh. Not to be outdone by himself, Warren responded with a 42-point, 13-rebound effort against Boston College in the Wolfpack's next game six days later, shooting 14-of-21 on two-point attempts and hitting 14-of-17 shots from the free throw line.
The 6-foot-9 point guard had the first triple-double at UCLA since 1995 on Nov. 22 (13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists vs. Morehead State) but a multi-pronged effort in the Pac-12 tournament title game was even more impressive. Anderson posted 21 points, 15 rebounds and five assists against just one turnover in 38 minutes in a 75-71 win over Arizona.
If one of college basketball's resident iron men was going to be halted finally – the senior guard was second in the nation with 1,398 minutes played – he would go down fighting. Cotton didn't miss a second of an NCAA tournament round of 64 game loss to North Carolina, scoring 36 points on 13-of-23 shooting while adding eight assists, five rebounds and two steals.
Shabazz Napier, March 22 vs. Villanova
In the game that seemed to affirm something special could happen in Connecticut's NCAA tournament run, Napier shot the Huskies to an upset win over No. 2 seed Villanova in the round of 32. He scored 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting while adding five rebounds, three assists and two steals – but most importantly hit for 21 second-half points, including two huge three-pointers down the stretch.