Kevin Noreen

Noreen breaks out as WVU hands Virginia Tech first loss

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It was a tight game and a wild ending in Morgantown this evening. Aaric Murray missed one of two line-drive free throw attempts with under a minute left, followed immediately by an absolutely ridic contested three-point make by Robert Brown that gave Virginia Tech a one-point edge. Juwan Staten reversed the lead with a driving layup with four seconds left, and still the game was not over. Only when Erick Green’s hurried 18-footer bounced off both sides of the rim could the 4-3 Mountaineers take a deep breath and celebrate a big win over a tough opponent.

Erick Green (23 points) and Robert Brown (21) played valiantly in an attempt to stay unbeaten, but foul trouble struck the Hokies’ interior players, leaving untested players on the court far too often.

Bob Huggins’ A-10 transfers helped carry a team in desperate need of a good outcome. Aaric Murray (La Salle) had 15 points and seven boards, and Juwan Staten (Dayton) scored the winning points for a cobbled-together team preparing for league play in a new conference. The game ball had to go to Kevin Noreen. The 6’10” sophomore scored 14 points and 12 rebounds, both career highs. In fact, Noreen had only scored in double figures once before (12 points against Alcorn State in 2011) and had never approached such a big day on the boards.

Noreen was considered a prime candidate to play the stretch-four position coming out of high school, but his shots never really started falling until tonight’s huge showing against a previously unbeaten team. Noreen’s 250-lb. frame makes him more than able to get after it inside, and he proved tonight that he can stretch the defense with his shooting – he was 2-3 from downtown.

Noreen came off the bench in the big win tonight, but he may be angling for a start in the near future. He’ll have a chance to prove his big day wasn’t a fluke when the Mountaineers travel to Duquesne on Tuesday. After that, a huge game against No. 3 Michigan looms. For the Mountaineers to have any chance the even bigger upset, Noreen will have to look more like the guy who set career highs today than the guy who scored three points in 19 minutes against Marshall last week.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.