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Providence gets big mid-season boost with debut of Kris Dunn and Sidiki Johnson

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Ed Cooley and the Providence Friars are off to a 7-2 start this season, but they have some major reinforcements coming into the fold Tuesday against Colgate, according to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.

With the first semester completed, Arizona transfer Sidiki Johnson is eligible to play and freshman guard Kris Dunn is ready after sitting out the first nine games of the season with a shoulder injury.

Johnson announced his intention to transfer to Providence early this year after seeing action in four games with Arizona to start the 2011-12 season. Reports were that Johnson and Arizona head coach Sean Miller weren’t on the best of terms at the time of his transfer, and he chose Providence to be closer to his hometown of New York City.

He was a Top 100 recruit out of high school and chose Arizona over St. John’s, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Providence, where he is now. His arrival gives the Friars more depth on the interior and more depth in general, being that Cooley’s team has been playing with just seven players since guard Vincent Council went down with an injury in the second game of the season.

As for Dunn, he was supposed to be paired with fellow freshman Ricky Ledo, who was ruled ineligible to play early in the season. Dunn had been out since July after undergoing surgery to repair an injured shoulder.

There were discussions as to whether Dunn would redshirt, but he now makes his debut with the Friars and adds some much needed depth, especially with Council sidelined.

The Friars tip off against Colgate at 7 p.m. ET.

To watch highlights of Sidiki Johnson, click here.

To watch highlights of Kris Dunn, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: