christon

Xavier freshman point guard Semaj Christon out with an infection

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The last thing that Xavier needed on the day of their season opener against Fairleigh Dickinson was to have someone else ruled out, given the fact that they have just nine scholarship players on the roster.

But that’s exactly what head coach Chris Mack will have to deal with, as freshman point guard Semaj Christon is out for tonight’s game due to an infected cut on his elbow.

The contest between the Knights and Musketeers features two shorthanded teams, as FDU will travel just seven players to Cincinnati. Lonnie Hayes, who was supposed to have a homecoming of sorts since he’s a native of the city, was dismissed from the program and four other FDU players are out for disciplinary reasons.

As for Xavier, their personnel issues have been well-documented. Dez Wells, who is now eligible at Maryland, was expelled from school and Mark Lyons is now running the point at Arizona.

There’s also two freshmen who weren’t cleared by the NCAA (Myles Davis and Jalen Reynolds) and the three-game suspension of Towson transfer Isaiah Philmore over a paperwork issue, meaning that the Musketeers will have just eight scholarship players available tonight.

Guard Brad Redford, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, will likely slide into Christon’s spot in the starting lineup but he’s coming off of a hamstring injury suffered while running a sprint last month.

“You get tired of dealing with the injuries and spending time in the training room. You’d much rather just be on the court with your teammates and not worrying about just getting on the court,” Redford said in an interview with Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer last Thursday. “It’s kind of something you deal with. Really you just kind of take it day-to-day, see how it feels.”

While that comment was in regards to Redford’s injury issues, it could also be applied to Xavier’s offseason. Tired of all of the personnel issues, the Musketeers are probably looking forward to just playing basketball.

Photo credit: Xavier University

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report 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.