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.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.