delawarestate

Delaware State loses after hitting a buzzer-beater … wait, what?

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Believe it or not, Delaware State — a team that has now had six of their last seven games either come down to the final possession or go to overtime, with five of them resulting in a win — has managed to find a new and unique way to lose a game in the final minutes.

After finding themselves down 41-24 to lowly Morgan State at the half, the Hornet’s dynamic back court duo of Tahj Tate and Jay Threat led DSU all the way back, tying the game on a driving layup from Threat with 23 seconds left in the game. But on the other end of the floor, Ian Chiles drew a foul and hit 1-2 from the line with 7.8 seconds left, setting up a wild finish that was equal parts memorable and controversial.

Threat drives the lane and misses a layup off the back of the rim, but Tate is there to slam home a two-handed tip-dunk on what appeared to be a buzzer-beating play. The student section stormed the floor while members of the DSU bench rushed Tate.

It was a wild scene.

“The fans all ran onto the floor. Not the whole crowd, but I would say, from my perspective, about 50 kids were on the floor,” Scott Klatzkin, who calls Delaware State games for 1290 am The Ticket, said Monday night. “I don’t know if they reacted to the fans or what, but our bench got up and mobbed Tahj, too. The fans are on the floor, security’s on the floor, the entire DSU staff is on the floor trying to get people out of there.”

The problem? There were still 0.4 seconds left showing on the clock, so after huddling up for a couple of minutes, the refs decide to whistle the Hornets for a technical foul and put 1.1 seconds on the game clock. Morgan State his both to win the game, 73-72.

“I feel like we was cheated,” Tate told USA Today. “They said the tech was for our bench for rushing the floor, but I didn’t see it.”

By the book, the refs probably made the correct decision. When a home team’s fans and bench all run onto the court with time left on the clock, the rule says that a technical foul should be called. And while I don’t necessarily believe that a game needs to be called differently down the stretch — a foul is a foul regardless of when it is committed, but on the last possession of the game, I think you let the ticky-tack stuff go — I do believe that the referees should have shown more discretion in this instance.

According to Klatzkin, there was some confusion with the clock on the final possession. Not only did it appear to start early on the in-bounds, there was a apparently some speculation that the clock may have stopped early on Tate’s dunk attempt. Even in the time was managed correctly, the students that did run onto the court clearly believed that the game was over and the final buzzer had sounded. These weren’t fans throwing things onto the court because they disagreed with a call. This was a case of college kids participating in a time-honored and fully accepted tradition of storming the court after what they thought was a big win.

There was no intent. It was an honest mistake. And the refs allowed that honest mistake to not only cost DSU a win in a thrilling comeback, but to eliminate them from contention for the MEAC regular season title and to clinch the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. The seeding is big. Not only is Delaware State going to be forced into a tougher first-round matchup, they will have to play games on three straight days instead of getting a day off in-between.

For the record, in Creighton’s 81-79 win over Long Beach State on BracketBusters Weekend, the Bluejay faithful stormed the floor with 0.3 seconds left in the game. No technical foul was given in that game.

And none should have been given to DSU.

You may disagree, but having the outcome of such an incredible game determined by a pre-mature court-storm seems unnecessary and unfair.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.