Mikael Hopkins, Kenny Hall

Late Night Snacks: Georgetown and Tennessee offensive struggles

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Big East swept four games on Friday night (Georgetown, Syracuse, DePaul, South Florida) to take a commanding 6-2 lead in the SEC/Big East Challenge. If you’re following conference realignment, it’s more like Big East 4, SEC 2, ACC 2 (Notre Dame and Syracuse).

Games of the Night

Syracuse 91, Arkansas 82 – The Orange were able to take it to the “Fastest 40 Minutes” earning a road win over Arkansas. James Southerland came off the bench and exploded for a school-record nine 3-pointers, en route to a career-high 35 points. The Razorbacks continued to fight, but No. 6 Cuse was too much in a face-paced game.

Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36  – For all the wrong reasons. Markel Sparks hit a jumper with 4:42 left in the game, giving the Hoyas a 37-36 lead. That would be the last time the ball would go through the hoop for either side. After an 18-16 Tennessee lead at halftime, the Vols and Hoyas had an exciting second half, as best as they could.

Important Outcomes

Kansas 84, Oregon State 79 – The Jayhawks, who have won five straight, were able to survive a pair of Beaver rallies, avoiding an upset. Kansas shot 60 percent from the floor and had five players score in double figures.

Drake 76, Nevada 66 – Drake was able to knock off Nevada, after falling to Xavier by four on Sunday. Drake has a chance for its best win of the season, next Wednesday at home against Matt Dellavedova and St. Mary’s

South Florida 64, Georgia 53 – The Bulls are quietly 5-2 following the SEC/Big East Challenge win over the Bulldogs. South Florida has a real test next Wednesday on the road against No. 15 Oklahoma State. Georgia has lost five of its last six games.

Starred

James Southerland, Syracuse – Came off the bench for a career-high 35 points, despite foul trouble that took him off the floor with 15 minutes to go, while he had 28 points.

Travis Releford and Ben McLemore, Kansas – The pair of Kansas guards both had 20 or more points (McLemore: 21 points, Releford: 20 points), helping the Jayhawks avoid an upset from the Beavers.

Cleveland Melvin – Not only did Melvin have a game-high 21 points and added 10 rebounds. The junior forward secured the win on the defensive end. Melvin came away with a steal with 13 seconds left, as the Blue Demons nursed a 78-76 led. Melivn would sink both free throws after being fouled.

Struggled

Georgetown/Tennessee offense – No shocker here. Both teams struggled to put the ball through the net in this defensive battle. Lot of ugly stats that came out of this one, including no player hitting double figures. Tennessee connected on 3-of-11 from the free throw line, while Georgetown was 1-of-7 (14 percent) from deep.

Oklahoma – The Sooners had to give everything they had to sneak out a home win against Northwestern State. Oklahoma won 69-65, but struggled offensively, shooting 39 percent from the field.

Arkansas deep ball – The Razorbacks couldn’t get the ball in the middle of the famous Syracuse 2-3 zone. The results were bad from behind the arc. Arkansas only converted on 5-of-24 3-pointers, while Southerland had nine by himself for the Orange. The senior forward also shot 9-of-13 from deep.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Top-25 guard trims list to six

Trae Young , Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images
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One of the top points guards in the Class of 2017 has trimmed his list of potential collegiate destinations to six.

Trae Young, a consensus top-25 recruit, listed Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as the schools he is considering as he readies to begin his senior year of high school.

The list of the 6-foot-2 point guard is largely provincial as it includes Oklahoma, whose campus is just minutes away from Young’s Norman North High School, and fellow in-state school Oklahoma. Another pair of Big 12 schools make the list in powerhouse Kansas and the Red Raiders, whose first-year coach, Chris Beard, has spent the bulk of his career working in Texas. Texas Tech is also Young’s father’s alma mater. Washington has been on a role sending its players to the pros and recently received the commitment of top-five 2017 recruit Michael Porter, Jr.

Kentucky, of course, needs no explanation as to its attractiveness to high-level players.

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky Sports Radio
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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.