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Late Night Snacks: Another buzzer-beater for South Dakota State?

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Games of the Night

Duke 73, Ohio State 68: The Blue Devils were down by double digits in the first half, but a couple of fast break dunks in the early part of the second half sparked the Blue Devils. Duke eventually won, on the strength of 21 points and 17 boards from current Player of the Year favorite Mason Plumlee, while Rasheen Sulaimon caught fire in the second half, scoring all 17 of his points.

The bad news for Ohio State? This game showcased their lack of scoring balance. That will be trouble come Big Ten play.

South Dakota State 71, North Dakota 70: For the second time this season, the Jackrabbits won a game at the buzzer. And for the second time this season, it was Chad White, and not Nate Wolters, hitting said game-winner:

Oklahoma 63, Oral Roberts 62: Oklahoma was a sleeper pick in the Big 12 heading into the season, and while struggling to hold off a Southland Conference opponent would usually be a bad sign, we’ll make an exception for ORU, who is consistently one of the most dangerous mid-major programs in the country. The Golden Eagles were up 54-44 with nine minutes left, but the Sooners used a 14-2 run to take the lead with two minutes left. Warren Niles, who had 21 points, had a good look at a ten foot pull-up on the baseline for the win, but it bounced off the back of the rim.

Important Outcomes

Miami 67, Michigan State 59: The Hurricanes steam-rolled the Spartans, impressively inserting their names into the conversation in an ACC that’s suddenly wide-open behind Duke. The question to ask is whether this is a sign of things to come for the Canes, or if it will end up being the highlight of their season.

Virginia 60, Wisconsin 54: Tony Bennett took his Cavalier club into the Kohl Center and knocked off Bo Ryan thanks to 22 points, five assists and five boards from Joe Harris. As impressive as this win was for UVA, I think it says more about a Wisconsin team that looks like it is going to struggle this year. They simply don’t have the playmakers offensively.

Here’s a stat for you: this is Wisconsin’s first November home loss since 1997, when they fell against in-state rival Marquette. Bo Ryan was 33-0 previously.

UCLA 82, Cal St-Northridge 56: With all the drama surrounding UCLA over the past couple of seasons, no one would have been surprised to see the Bruins fold. Instead, UCLA came out in a 2-3 zone and stifled Northridge. While the Matadors were 6-1 coming in, this is still a game that the Bruins should have no problem winning, although the same could have been said about Cal Poly. Regardless, a win is a win at this point, and the Bruins did it in convincing fashion. Of note: Larry Drew II now has 57 assists and nine turnovers on the season.

Starred

Derrick Marks, Boise State: The little fella had 35 points on 13-19 shooting to lead the Bronco’s to an 83-70 win over No. 11 Creighton.

Brandon Davies, BYU: Davies had 21 points, 10 boards, six assists, four steals and two blocks in a win over tough-but-shorthanded Montana.

Deonte Burton, Nevada: Burton had 26 points and seven assists for the Wolf Pack, who beat UC Davis. Oh, he also had the game-winner:

Struggled

Houston: The Cougars will be in the Big East next season. They lost to Prairie View A&M tonight.

Delaware players not named Jamelle Hagins: Hagins had 18 points, 23 boards and five blocks, but the Blue Hens still managed to lose to Lafayette. Hagins was 5-7 from the floor, the rest of the team was 16-51. Lafayette was 1-6 coming in. To be fair, Delaware was without Jarvis Threatt, but this was a team picked to finish second in the CAA.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas: The future lottery pick had 12 points on 3-13 shooting coming off the bench as the Mean Green dropped to 3-4 on the season with a loss to UT-Arlington.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.