Jeff Withey, Alex Brown, Chris Cunningham

Late Night Snacks: All Jeff Withey everything!

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With less than 30 games on the slate, it was a slow Monday night. Thankfully, the one Top 10 team in action delivered a performance worth writing about. Here’s your Late Night Snacks.

Games of the Night

Kansas 70, San Jose State 57 – The game itself, nothing to really look at. The stat sheet? Another story. Jeff Withey went off for the second triple-double in program history with 16 points (a team high), 12 rebounds and an amazing 12 blocks. That in-of-itself makes this a crazy awesome  game. James Kinney tossed in 30 points by himself for the Spartans, so great performances all around at The Phog.

Murray State 88, Lipscomb 79 – Not a lot of people saw this one being close, but it was. It took 20-plus-point performances from Isaiah Canaan, Ed Daniel and Stacey Wilson to put the Racers over the top and to 5-1. A road is still a road win when you’re playing in the mid-major ranks, but for any shot at an at-large bid (remember Belmont is a contender in their first year in the Ohio Valley Conference) they’ll need to win games like that more convincingly.

Tennessee 77, Oakland 50 – The score itself was a blowout, but most people forget that the Golden Grizzlies (another great mascot) owned a two-game winning streak on the Volunteers. Trae Golden put up good numbers in the win and the Vols stay steady while Jeronne Maymon heals.

Games of Note

Morehead State 73, Norfolk State 67 – It’s not everyday games between marginal mid-major and low-major teams are posted, but this was the contest that Morehead State coach Sean Woods served his one-game suspension in. The Eagles still won, beating the Spartans who should contend in the MEAC, which is all a team like Morehead State can ask for without their head coach. It’ll be interesting if the suspension alters Woods’ public coaching demeanor going forward.

Loyola (Md.) 65, Towson 53 – A battle for Baltimore deserves some pub. Jimmy Patsos got a boost from 19 points and eight rebounds from Dylan Cromier in 38 minutes and got bragging rights for the season in the city. Although there is always a battle with Maryland-Baltimore County that can truly decide the fate of the college basketball world in The Wire’s hometown.

Starred

Ed Daniel and Isaiah Canaan, Murray State – The Racers needed every last point from these two tonight in their win. Canaan went for 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including six threes. Ed Daniel went for 20 points, 18 rebounds and five rebounds (and five fouls). It should be noted that Stacey Wilson added in 20 in the win. Big night for that trio.

Trae Golden, Tennessee – The Vols point guard helped break the two-game skid against Oakland with a game-high 19 points, seven assists and four rebounds in the win. He’s been great as the team’s on-court leader.

Colton Iverson, Colorado State – Can’t argue with a double-double in a win. The Minnesota transfer had 18 points and 13 boards in a blowout win over Northern Colorado. He hit 7-of-8 shots from the field and only committed two fouls in 32 minutes. Efficient.

Struggled

Everyone besides Jonathon Williams, Wagner – Williams went off for 26 points on 10-for-11 shooting, and 6-for-6 from the free throw line for the Seahawks. The rest of the team went for 37 points on 13-for-44 shooting. The next closest scorer? Two teammates scored eight.

Dan Trist, Lafayette – The man went for 30 a few games ago against Long Island. It’s stil lthe Jaguars lone win of the season. Trist hasn’t faired well since, either. He was averaging 18.7 points per game coming into the game with Monmouth, but managed just four points on on 1-of-4 shooting.

Stuffing the stat sheet

Jeff FREAKING Withey – Not a ton needs to be said. The man went off for 16-12-12. Triple-double (drops mic).

Fanbase that can take a breath

Murray State – You survived on the premise of your veteran guard and forward, but got some much needed help from Wilson, a UAB transfer in his first season with the program. The depth is still an issue, because playing minutes and playing valuable minutes are two totally different things. But you won, put up 88 in the process and unless you duplicate last season’s dominance, every win is going to count in non-conference.

Fanbase that can take a seat

Wagner – It’s really not fair to say this. But Wagner was picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference and they’re only 1-3 to start the season with a loss to Albany, who isn’t expected to blow up anyone’s plans in March. One of the losses was to Syracuse, but the other was to Delaware State. The Seahawks one win? A 38-36 decision over North Carolina Central. That was two halves of basketball. Keep your head up, Seahawk Nation.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Whitehead to stay in NBA Draft

Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) shoots past Xavier forward Sean O'Mara (54) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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Seton Hall sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead has signed with an agent and will remain in the NBA Draft, according to multiple reports.

Whitehead averaged 18.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last season for Seton Hall, which went 25-9 and reached the NCAA tournament. He likely projects as a second-round pick with a bit of a shaky shot, but a high usage and assist rates. His strong finish to the season likely lifted him on some draft boards, but his inefficiency will cap his ceiling in June’s draft.

The loss is significant for the Pirates as Whitehead was so much of their offense, but they’ll bring back Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, Angel Delgado and Ismael Sanogo. It’s a group that will miss Whitehead’s playmaking, but is still a solid enough foundation that Seton Hall will still likely be competitive in the Big East and vying for another NCAA tournament berth.

Hart returning for Villanova’s title defense

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Villanova’s title defense just got a whole lot stouter.

Josh Hart, the leading scorer of the Wildcats’ national championship team, will return for his senior season, he announced on Twitter.

The decision for Hart to return is a major boost for Villanova in its quest to become the first back-to-back champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Hart, a 6-foot-5 guard,  averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range.

Most draft pundits had him pegged as a potential end-of-the-first-round pick in next month’s draft though he could have certainly slid into the second should he had decided to forego his senior season. Instead, Hart will be a potential first-team All-American exhausting his eligibility in Philadelphia.

The 2016-17 season is taking shape nicely, and Hart returning to Villanova only increases the strength of the field at the top. Title game hero Kris Jenkins as well as Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges are also back for the defending champs while the super recruiting classes of Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State, Kansas’ returning core along with Josh Jackson and a solid group of teams including North Carolina, Arizona, Louisville and Wisconsin make for an intriguing upper-tier of teams that could very well make for a top-heavy season following last year’s free for all.

College basketball isn’t the NFL. Parity doesn’t equal strength and quality, and when the sport has a handful high-quality teams, it is at its best. It’s looking like that is a possibility for the 2016-17 campaign.

UConn duo returning to school

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Connecticut may have lost its 6-foot-7 wing scorer but it is keeping its defensive stalwart and leading scorer.

Center Amida Brimah and guard Rodney Purvis have withdrawn their names from NBA Draft consideration and will return to the Huskies for another year, the school announced Tuesday.

The decisions from Brimah, a 7-foot center, and Purvis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, help soften the blow dealt by Daniel Hamilton’s decision to sign with an agent and leave school despite having some shaky draft stock. The Huskies may not open the season as a top-25 team, but they won’t be far behind and will be one of the AAC’s favorites, along with Cincinnati.

Brimah averaged 6.5 points per game last year, but blocked 2.7 shots per game. He missed 11 games last season with a broken finger. Purvis registered 12.8 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor.

Neither Brimah or Purvis were among those invited to this month’s NBA Draft combine nor were either expected to be drafted should they have kept their names in the draft.

Gonzaga’s Karnowski returning for fifth year

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The man in the middle is returning to Gonzaga.

Przemek Karnowski will return to the Bulldogs for his final year after a medical redshirt waiver was granted allowing him a fifth season in Spokane, the school announced Tuesday.

“I’m excited to be coming back,” Karnowski said in a statement. “After talking with the coaches, my parents and the team, I decided this was the best decision for me. I still have a ways to go with my rehab, but I’m staying positive about the upcoming season.”

The 7-foot-1 Karnowski, a Poland native, would have, at minimum, had professional opportunities overseas, but instead will return to play for the Bulldogs once more after a back injury limited him to five games last season. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a junior in 2014-15.

With Karnowski returning along with  Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will be having newcomers Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Norvell, Johnathan Williams II and Zach Collins joining an experienced and talented group.

Gonzaga (shocker) will be the West Coast Conference favorite once more, but the Bulldogs will also be fielding a team that should open the season in most everyone’s top-15.

Michigan St. at Duke highlights ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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A matchup in Durham of likely top-10 teams is the headliner of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, whose schedule was released Tuesday.

Michigan State, expected to open the season in the top-10, and Duke, the presumptive preseason No. 1, will meet Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the most intriguing contest of the 14-game event.

The Spartans are losing Denzel Valentin, Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, but the recruiting class of Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Nick Ward is one of coach Tom Izzo’s best and has Michigan State positioned as one of the Big Ten’s favorites.

Izzo’s recruiting class, though, pales in comparison to what coach Mike Krzyzewski is bringing to the Blue Devils, with Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Frank Jackson and Javin DeLaurier in their 2016 class, which is why, when paired with the likes of Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard, make Duke nearly everyone’s No. 1 heading into next season.

Krzyzewski is 9-1 all-time against Izzo’s Spartans.

Among the other highlights of the conference competition is Syracuse at Wisconsin (Nov. 29) Pittsburgh at Maryland (Nov. 29), Purdue at Louisville (Nov. 30) and Ohio State at Virginia (Nov. 30).  

Monday, Nov. 28

Minnesota at Florida State

Wake Forest at Northwestern

Tuesday, Nov. 29

Syracuse at Wisconsin

Michigan State at Duke

Pittsburgh at Maryland

Iowa at Notre Dame

Georgia Tech at Penn State

N.C. State at Illinois

 

Wednesday, Nov. 30

Purdue at Louisville

North Carolina at Indiana

Ohio State at Virginia

Virginia Tech at Michigan

Rutgers at Miami (Fla.)

Nebraska at Clemson