Hardaway

Tim Hardaway Jr. makes a statement as Michigan takes NIT Season Tip-Off

Leave a comment

With 11:35 remaining in the game, Tim Hardaway Jr. took a seat on the bench, next to Mitch McGary, exhausted and out of breath as he wiped the sweat of his face.

He put in an all-around effort, a game-high 23 points, while adding seven rebounds, to lead Michigan over Kansas State 71-57 to capture the NIT Season Tipoff at Madison Square Garden.

Hardaway shot 10-of-15 from the field, scoring from in different ways. Early on, Hardaway was able to put the ball on the deck and get to the rim. The junior guard was great from the mid-range, especially the crossover, pull up jumper he had on Will Spralding.

What made it more impressive is that Hardaway kept the team with the lead, scoring 12 points in the first half with limited contributions from Glenn Robinson III, who had only four points or Trey Burke and Jordan Morgan, who combined for no points and three rebounds at intermission.

At the start of half, the entire team started to click. Michigan was holding a 29-24 lead and less than two minutes into the half made it an 11-point game, keeping a double-digit for the rest of the game.

Michigan got whatever they wanted offensive in the second half, connecting on 18-of-33 shots in the half. The Wolverines consistently got into the lane and were unselfish, making extra passes for better shots.

But the story in this one was Hardaway. He stepped up on a big stage, showing all out effort on both ends of the floor. He was active on the glass with a block to go along with seven boards. Hardaway, the tournament’s most outstanding player, left the game late with a reported head injury (passed concussion tests), but was able to return to the bench for the final minute.

Hardaway posted 16 points in a win over Pittsburgh Thursday night, before Friday night’s offensive explosion. Michigan faces its first real test of the season Tuesday against No. 16 N.C. State.

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)
Leave a comment

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)
Leave a comment

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: