Isaiah Canaan, Wes Eikmeier

Murray State comeback over St. John’s puts Racers in the Charleston Classic final

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Murray State will take on Colorado for the Charleston Classic title, following an exciting 72-67 win over St. John’s on Friday night.

The Racers trailed 59-52 with 7:31 to play. Isaiah Canaan and Murray State responded with a 12-0 run over the next three minutes. St. John’s went scoreless for just under four minutes during that stretch.

The Red Storm missed both three-point attempts to tie the game, adding to a dismal shooting total behind the arc, 2-for-14.

The Johnnies got it within two at 64-62, but Stacey Wilson drained a three. St. John’s had two chances at the end to tie the game at 70, but missed both. Wilson, who had 23 points, secured the win with a dunk.

Canaan and Ed Daniel added 15 each for Murray State. D’Angelo Harrison had a game-high 27 points.

Murray State was facing a 13-point deficit with under three minutes to play, the Racers were able to put together a 13-3 run to end the first half to cling to within three of the Johnnies.

That was the turning point of the game. St. John’s could of entered the locker with a double-digit lead. Credit to the Murray State defensive, that allowed only one field goal and forced two turnovers in the final three minutes of the half.

Twice in this semifinal, St. John’s held a solid lead only to see it fade away quickly. The Johnnies, a talented, but young team, couldn’t put the Racers away. Murray State is a senior-heavy team and it showed with big plays from not just their All-American, but from Wilson and Daniel.

St. John’s did get some good news today, as Marco Bourgault, who played five minutes on Friday, was cleared by the NCAA. Steve Lavin is still waiting to hear on Orlando Sanchez’ eligibility.

Murray State will take on Colorado Sunday night. Colorado pulled off an upset over No. 16 Baylor in the first semifinal.

St. John’s returns home to play Holy Cross on Wednesday.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: