Indiana

Late Night Snacks: D-III guard Jack Taylor steals the show, Indiana wins Legends Classic

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It was a typical Tuesday night in college basketball, then Division III guard Jack Taylor scored 138 points. We’ll touch on that, plus everything else that happened around the college basketball world in tonight’s Late Night Snacks.

Games of the Day

Grinnell College 179, Faith Baptist Bible 104 – By now, everyone knows about Taylor’s 138, but let’s take a look at some other stats. David Larson scored 70 points on 34-of-44 shooting for FBB. Ironically, that will be the single greatest game he will play in his college basketball career and it will be forever overshadowed by Taylor’s performance. FBB turned the ball over 49 times, giving Grinnell a +32 turnover margin. Twenty Grinnell players saw action Tuesday night.

Indiana 82, Georgetown 72 – Georgetown was able to push No. 1 Indiana into overtime, but the Hoosiers showed why they’re the top-ranked team in the country by outscoring the Hoyas by 10 in the extra period. The Barclay Center was rocking, especially considering this was a November non-conference game at a neutral site, which added some extra flavor. Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls each had 17 points. Markel Starks had another big game for Georgetown with 20 points.

Michigan State 74, Boise State 70 – Keith Appling scored eight points in the final four minutes of the game to help Michigan State survive a scare from the Broncos at home. Boise State got within two in the final minute, but coach Tom Izzo’s team survived. Derrick Marks had 24 for Boise.

Texas A&M 54, Washington State 53 – Elston Turner hit a three-pointer with three seconds remaining to lift the Aggies over Washington State. That big shot was one of just two that he hit all night, finishing 2-of-13 from the field. Dexter Kernich-Drew had 16 points for Washington State.

Important Outcomes

Butler 82, North Carolina 71 – Brad Stevens’ Bulldogs had to fend off the Tar Heels after leading by as many as 27 points in the second half. Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke, a hero with his miracle shot that beat Marquette, had 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting against UNC. P.J. Hairston had 15 for North Carolina. Down goes the No. 9 team in the nation.

UCLA 60, Georgia 56 – Ben Howland said it would be “a long plane ride home” if UCLA had lost both of its games in Brooklyn. The Bruins used a big defensive push late to escape with a victory and a split at the Legends Classic.

Starred

Jeff Withey, Kansas – Withey had 25 points, five rebounds, and seven blocks in a win over Saint Louis. He was effective in getting to the line and converting, too, going 11-of-14 from the charity stripe.

Jordan Hulls, Indiana – Hulls was stellar in the Legends Classic, capped off with his 17-point performance in the overtime win over Georgetown Tuesday night. He was 5-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range.

Otto Porter, Georgetown – Markel Starks had 20 points for the Hoyas, but Porter filled up the stat sheet once again. Porter had 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks on the night. His layup with seconds remaining pushed the game into overtime, though Georgetown would ultimately fall to the country’s No. 1 team.

Alex Rosenberg, Columbia – Rosenberg posted 21 points and six rebounds in Columbia’s upset win over Villanova. He converted 11-of-14  free throws in the victory.

Cashmere Wright, Cincinnati – Wright scored 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting and had five steals in the Bearcats’ win over Campbell.

Struggled

Kenny Boynton, Florida – Boynton shot just 1-of-6 from the floor Tuesday night in a win over Savannah State and turned the ball over three times. A strong game from Patric Young helped the Gators to a win, though.

James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina – The UNC sophomore had 10 points and five rebounds, but turned the ball over seven times in the Tar Heels’ loss to Butler.

Three Facts

1. UCLA still has a lot of work to do to shuffle its cards and find the right combination of players in the right situation to be impactful in the Pac-12. Shabazz Muhammad played well with 21 points, but he’s yet to be dominant like we’ve see from him during his high school career.

2. Georgetown is no pushover. The Hoyas were chosen to finish fifth in the Big East this season, but two days in Brooklyn have shown that John Thompson III’s team is legit. Look for them to make their way into the polls this week.

3. Texas needs Myck Kabongo back. But, even then, is this team going to do much in the Big 12, considering how they lost to Chaminade and now to a depleted USC team?

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Four-star 2017 shooting guard commits to Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams celebrates a play in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP) LOCAL STATIONS OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL; MANDATORY CREDIT
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Recruiting, and on-court results, have picked up at Virginia Tech since Buzz Williams took over as head coach. In his second year at the helm the Hokies won ten conference games, and in reaching the Postseason NIT made their first postseason appearance since 2011.

Thursday night Virginia Tech landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker made his pledge.

The 6-foot-5 Alexander-Walker, who’s ranked 91st in his class by Rivals.com, also took official visits to Maryland and USC before making his pledge to the ACC program. Alexander-Walker attends Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but as a native of Canada plays his grassroots basketball for the Canada Elite program on the Under Armour Association circuit.

Good with either hand, Alexander-Walker can play either on or off the basketball. And that versatility should serve him well in a system that places a high value on “switch-ables,” or players who can fill multiple roles.

The Canada connection paid off for Virginia Tech in the recruitment of Alexander-Walker, with assistant coach Jamie McNeilly being a native of the country himself and having a connection to the Walker family. The Hokies will lose two perimeter players at the end of the 2016-17 season in Devin Wilson and Seth Allen, which will give Alexander-Walker the opportunity to earn minutes as a freshman.

Oakland lands former Oklahoma State guard Clark

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When point guard Stevie Clark began his career at Oklahoma State in 2013, the Top 100 prospect was expected by many to be an impact player for the Cowboys. Things didn’t go as planned however, as off-court issues ultimately led to Clark’s dismissal from the program before his sophomore season. Add in a lawsuit filed by Clark in which he alleged that he was forced by the school to take psychotropic drugs, and it’s safe to say that his time in Stillwater was anything but smooth.

Clark ultimately landed at Arkansas Baptist College, and on Thursday it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that he’s committed to Oakland University to play for head coach Greg Kampe. Clark joins a program with an immediate need at the point, with All-American Kahlil Felder having entered the NBA Draft and hired an agent as well.

The obvious question regarding Clark is whether or not he’s managed to take care of business off the court, and in an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press the Oklahoma native made note of the benefits of getting away from home for college.

Playing in Rochester, far from his home, will serve him well, he said.

“Anywhere away from home is the best thing,” Clark said. “It’s just hard balancing everything being close to home.”

Clark will be one of the options Kampe has to choose from at the point, with incoming freshmen Brailen Neely and Billy Thomas also among the new arrivals, and sophomore Jaevin Cumberland looking to earn more playing time than the 5.6 minutes per contest he averaged as a freshman.

Creighton point guard Watson Jr. to return for senior season

Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (10) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Creighton won 70-56. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Creighton’s chances of moving up the Big East standings and returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 improved a great deal Thursday, as starting point guard Maurice Watson Jr. announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Watson, who began his college career at Boston University, entered his name into the NBA Draft pool without hiring an agent but decided that another year in Omaha would be best for him.

Watson was one of the most impactful transfers in the country last season, as his play at the point was a major factor in the Bluejays winning 20 games and going 9-9 in conference play after being picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll. Watson averaged 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game last season, earning second team All-Big East honors.

With Watson’s return the Bluejays will welcome back three of their top four scorers from last season, with center Geoffrey Groselle being the lone departure. Head coach Greg McDermott adds a talented shooting guard in Marcus Foster, who sat out last season after transferring in from Kansas State. With Watson and Foster working together, Creighton will have a formidable perimeter tandem leading the way in 2016-17 with the likes of forward Cole Huff and guard Isaiah Zierden also being key contributors.

In addition to what Watson can provide in games he’ll also serve as a good mentor for Kaleb Joseph, who will have to sit out next season after transferring in from Syracuse. Joseph, who will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, fell out of the rotation as a sophomore so the year in residency should benefit him as he works towards grabbing the reins in 2017-18.

h/t ESPN.com

UConn, four-star 2017 big man Brown part ways

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Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.

The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.

Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.

UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.

UCF lands commitment from transfer Terrell Allen

New UCF men's NCAA college basketball coach Johnny Dawkins speaks at his introductory press conference Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
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Having already landed one transfer in former Michigan guard Aubrey Dawkins (the new head coach’s son), UCF landed a second Thursday afternoon as former Drexel guard Terrell Allen announced that he’ll finish out his college career playing for Johnny Dawkins.

Allen, a CAA All-Rookie Team selection in his lone season at Drexel, announced the news by way of his Twitter account. After sitting out the 2016-17 season per NCAA transfer rules, Allen will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

On a team that struggled throughout the 2015-16 season, winning just six games, Allen averaged 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 32.5 minutes of action per game. The 6-foot-2 point guard finished the season ranked in the top ten in the CAA in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, with his assist tally ranking eighth and his A/T ratio of 1.9 placing him seventh.

With B.J. Taylor entering his junior season and Jeremy Carter-Sheppard joining the ranks this summer, the addition of Allen gives UCF another option at the point for the 2017-18 campaign.