Northern Iowa Basketball

Late Night Snacks: Fresno State and UC-Riverside was ugly

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Games of the Day

1. Fresno State 39, UC-Riverside 30: Yeah, no. This is called sarcasm. The Bulldogs outlasted UCR in one of the ugliest games we’ll see this season. The two teams shot 26.1% (23-88) from the floor, while managing to turn the ball over 31 times. The score was actually 32-27 with just over a minute left before a late “flurry”. Think about this: Fresno State shot 28.2% from the floor, and managed to grab just four offensive rebounds. To get all Kenpom on you, their offensive rebounding percentage was 8.88%. That’s what happens when the team you’re playing manages to post 0.518 PPP.

Allen Huddleston led the way with 17 points, which was more than either team had at halftime, when the score 13-11.

2. Northern Iowa 84, Toledo 81 OT: The Panthers opened up a seven-point lead at one point in the second half, but the Rockets weren’t going anywhere. After trading baskets down the stretch, UNI sophomore Deon Mitchell hit a jumper with 32.8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 70. The end of the overtime was a flurry of excitement. I’ll let UNI’s website explain:

However, Toledo’s Brown buried a 3-pointer with 11.8 seconds left to set the stage for a frantic finish. UNI was unable to get ball in-bounds and was whistled for a five-second call giving the ball back to Toledo. But Tuttle intercepted the Rocket’s in-bounds pass and was fouled with 10.5 seconds left. Tuttle made both free throws to improve the Panthers’ lead to 84-81.

Mitchell and fellow sophomore Seth Tuttle combined for 48 points on 14-20 shooting.

3. Delaware State 73, Wagner 69 OT: Wagner forced the overtime on this bucket with 0.6 seconds left in regulation. After taking a three point lead in the extra frame, Del State scored the final seven points of the game.

Important Outcome

1. Santa Clara 74, St. Louis 62: We talked about the importance of this loss for the Billikens here, but SCU’s win shouldn’t simply be glossed over. After taking an 0-fer in league play a season ago, the Broncs have Marc Trasolini healthy again and Kevin Foster once again eligible to play alongside Evan Roquemore. A lot of people thought they could make a run in the WCC last year. Could this be the season they sneak up on the league?

Starred

1. Kevin Foster, Santa Clara: In that win over St. Louis, Foster finished with 30 points, five assists and seven steals. He also had seven turnovers, but no one else on SCU managed to score more than nine points.

2. Seth Tuttle and Deon Mitchell, Northern Iowa: Playing without leading returning scorer Anthony James, the Panthers got a huge boost from these two sophomores. They combined to score 48 points on just 20 shots from the field.

3a. Erik Murphy, Florida: 24 points and eight boards. 10-10 from the field. 2-2 from the line. A 74-56 win over No. 22 Wisconsin. Not a bad night.

3b. Gregory Echenique, Creighton: He had 13 points on 5-5 shooting, 16 boards and four blocks for the Bluejays in a win over UAB.

Struggled

1. Wisconsin’s D: Florida hit 18 of their first 22 shots and coasted to an 18 point win.

2. Everyone on Presbyterian not named Khalid Mutakabbir: He finished with 13 points and seven assists. The Blue Hose lost to Georgia Tech 52-38. Mutakabbir had a hand in all but four of Presbyterian’s field goals and made all but one of their free throws. And he didn’t even play all that well, going just 4-11 with five turnovers. Yeesh.

3. Fresno State and UC-Riverside: They were really, really bad.

Three Facts

1. Greg Whittington had 18 points, nine boards, four assists and two steals to lead Georgetown to a win over Liberty with Otto Porter laid up with a concussion. He was 8-13 from the floor, but 0-5 from three.

2. No. 15 Creighton erased a 10 point second half deficit in the blink of an eye thanks to Josh Jones. He scored 10 straight to tie the game and finished with all 18 of his points in the second half as the Bluejays eventually won 77-60. Most importantly, Creighton won despite getting just five points on 2-6 shooting from all-american Doug McDermott.

3. There with 32 games played on Wednesday. Eight involved a non-Division I team. Two more included provisional D-I’s Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Kentucky. Other than the Florida-Wisconsin game, there were four BCS conference schools in action, and of them, only Georgetown has a prayer of making the tournament. The only other ranked team in action was Creighton. Yeah. Slow night.

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

Florida State guard Rathan-Mayes to return for junior season

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) drives past Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger, left, for a score in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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With their top three scorers from last season all deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, Florida State was facing the possibility of having to rebuild their backcourt ahead of the 2016-17 season. However two of those three have decided to return to Tallahassee, with rising junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes announcing on Monday that he will be back in school.

Rathan-Mayes joins rising sophomore Dwayne Bacon in returning to play another season for head coach Leonard Hamilton, with Malik Beasley hiring representation and remaining in the draft.

Rathan-Mayes had more scoring help last season and as a result was able to concentrate more on the distribution aspects of the point guard position, as he averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per contest. With the return of Rathan-Mayes and Bacon, Florida State will have two of its top three scorers from last season back on campus.

The Seminoles did lose some veteran players, most notably guard Devon Bookert and center Boris Bojanovsky, but the returnees and a recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jonathan Isaac means that they won’t lack for options next season.

Auburn lands third transfer within the last week

Auburn guard T.J. Dunans (4) and coach Bruce Pearl celebrate a 75-74 win over UAB in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.  (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)
Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP
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After receiving commitments from former Purdue/Houston guard Ronnie Johnson and former Presbyterian forward DeSean Murray, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl continued to load up on the transfer market Monday. Forward LaRon Smith, who was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year at Bethune-Cookman last season, announced that he will use his final season of eligibility at the SEC program.

Like Smith, Johnson will also be eligible to compete immediately for the Tigers while Murray will have to sit out next season before having two years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-8 Smith played two seasons at Georgia State before transferring to Bethune-Cookman, where he averaged 7.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest in 2015-16. Smith played just over 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats, shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

Smith reached double figures in scoring in four of the Wildcats’ final seven games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound, three-block outing in an overtime win over North Carolina A&T. He joins a front court in need of depth following the departures of the likes of Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris, with Horace Spencer, Trayvon Reed and incoming freshman Anfernee McLemore also competing for minutes in 2016-17.

SMU lands former Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt

Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt (24) leaps for a layup past Tennessee guard Shembari Phillips (25) during an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Arkansas won 75-65. (Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP
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With a five-member recruiting class set to arrive on campus this summer, SMU added a talented transfer Monday afternoon. Jimmy Whitt, who played his freshman season at Arkansas, committed to join Larry Brown’s program. Whitt, a 6-foot-4 guard from Columbia, Missouri, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016-17 campaign.

As a freshman at Arkansas, Whitt averaged 6.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over 17 minutes of action per game. He reached double figures in scoring nine time, with the high being a 15-point outing in a blowout win over Missouri in mid-January. Whitt produced a stretch of four consecutive games in double figures during non-conference play, but he struggled to maintain that consistency against SEC competition.

At SMU he’ll join a perimeter rotation that will lose rising senior Sterling Brown following the 2016-17 season. Among those who will have eligibility remaining when Whitt becomes eligible are Ben Emelogu, Shake Milton, Jarrey Foster and incoming freshmen Tom Wilson and Dashawn McDowell.

 

Boise State assistant named head coach at Northern Colorado

rp_primary_Linder_Jeff_Action_vs_Dayton_031815_2_
Courtesy UNCBears.com
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GREELEY, Colo. (AP) Jeff Linder is the new basketball coach at Northern Colorado. He spent the last six seasons at Boise State, where he was associate head coach for the Broncos since 2013-14.

Linder replaces B.J. Hill, who was fired last month amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of violations in the program.

University President Kay Norton and Athletic Director Darren Dunn announced Linder’s hiring Sunday.

Linder played high school ball in Lafayette, Colorado, and college ball at Mesa State and Western Colorado State. He began his coaching career under Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton.

In a statement, Linder said, “I look forward to returning home to the state of Colorado and continuing to build this program into something everyone can be proud of.”

Hill was 86-98 in six seasons at UNC.

Duke’s Azura Stevens transfers to UConn

Duke's Azura Stevens (11) steals the ball from North Carolina A&T's Kenya Hailey, right, as Duke's Ka'lia Johnson watches during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Ellen Ozier)
(AP Photo/Ellen Ozier)
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STORRS, Conn. (AP) Azura Stevens, the leading scorer and rebounder for Duke, has decided to transfer to UConn.

The 6-foot-6 sophomore center from Raleigh, North Carolina will sit out next season and will have two years of eligibility remaining when the 2017-18 season begins the school announced Saturday.

Stevens averaged 18.9 points and 9.6 rebounds a game and was named to the ACC’s all-conference first team.

She was second in the league both scoring and rebounding.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Saturday that he normally doesn’t get involved in transfer situations, but Stevens convinced him that Storrs would be the right place for her going forward.