Northeastern loses Jonathan Lee and Kwesi Abakah due to injury

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Bill Coen’s Northeastern Huskies are a team expected by many to make a jump in the CAA standings this season, but that got a little tougher due to injuries suffered by senior Jonathan Lee and freshman Kwesi Abakah.

The school announced on Friday that Lee, a preseason All-CAA selection, would be out up to six weeks with a foot injury while a torn ACL will sideline Abakah for the entire 2012-13 season.

“I am extremely disappointed for Jon and Kwesi. They both have worked hard and were very focused on the upcoming season,” said Coen in the statement. “With the help of our talented medical staff, we anticipate that Kwesi will recover fully for next season.

“For Jon, as a senior co-captain, this is a setback, but his perseverance and work ethic are unparalleled. He will continue to provide us with valuable leadership during his rehabilitation and we look forward to his return to the court.”

Lee, a 6-2 guard from Flint, Michigan, averaged 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a junior and sat in the top 15 in the CAA of nine different statistical categories.

The Huskies return their top four scorers from last season’s 14-17 (9-9 CAA) team, but to lose a player of Lee’s caliber is a tough blow.

Abakah averaged 14.3 minutes per game during the Huskies’ summer trip to Canada, and the 6-8 native of Suwanee, GA was expected to provide additional front court depth this season.

“This adversity will provide others on our team with opportunities, which I believe will make us a stronger team as the season progresses,” said Coen. “I am confident in this team and in our chemistry and resolve.”

With Lee out more responsibility likely falls on the shoulders of senior guard Joel Smith and sophomore wing Quincy Ford, both of whom were key contributors in 2011-12.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.