Mark Lyons

Late Night Snacks: The Diamond Head Classic matchup many expected is set

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Games of the Day

1. Northern Iowa 82, Saint Mary’s 75 
In a game that was scheduled to be played on Saturday but postponed due to inclement weather the Panthers picked up a good win for both themselves and the Missouri Valley Conference. Seth Tuttle led four UNI players in double figures with 18 points, and the Panthers scored 50 points in the second half on 56.5% shooting from the field and 5-of-7 from three. Jorden Page was the lone Gael in double figures with 26 points as the Panthers did a good job of neutralizing Matthew Dellavedova (nine points, 3-of-11 FG).

2. Ole Miss 85, San Francisco 78 
The Rebels got off to a slow start in the consolation bracket matchup at the Diamond Head Classic, but Andy Kennedy’s team played much better in the second half to hold off the Dons. Murphy Holloway led the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds and Nick Williams added 18 for Ole Miss, who will play host Hawaii on Tuesday afternoon. Cody Doolin paced USF with 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

3. Portland 57, Bradley 55
The Braves had the final possession of the game but a solid defensive stand by the Pilots gave Eric Reveno’s team their seventh win of the season. Ryan Nicholas posted a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Derrick Rodgers and Oskars Reinfelds combined to score 22 points off the bench as Portland matched its win total from all of last season. Dyricus Simms-Edwards led Bradley with a game-high 15 points, but their poor shooting (31.5% FG) did in the Braves.

Important Outcomes 

1. No. 4 Arizona 69, Miami 50
The absence of Reggie Johnson certainly didn’t help the Hurricanes on the boards as the Wildcats held a 44-19 edge in that department, but it wouldn’t have mattered if he were out there given how well Arizona played after a poor start. Mark Lyons (19 points) and Nick Johnson (12) led the way and Kevin Parrom added 11 points off the bench to push the Wildcats to 11-0 on the season. Kenny Kadji scored 19 as he was the lone Hurricane to give Arizona a great deal of trouble offensively, and as a team Miami shot 36.5% from the field. Durand Scott rolled his ankle in the first half but did return after a short stint on the bench, finishing with 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

2. Colorado State 88, Virginia Tech 52
The fact that the Rams won the title game of the Las Vegas Classic should surprise no one. But by 36 points? Larry Eustachy’s team had it rolling in the second half at the Orleans Arena, as they outscored the Hokies 55-25. Pierce Hornung tallied 18 points and ten rebounds, and three other CSU starters finished in double figures. Erick Green led Virginia Tech with 26 points, but both he (five turnovers) and the Hokies had problems dealing with the Colorado State defense (Virginia Tech finished with a total of four assists, with Green having three of them).

3. No. 18 San Diego State 62, Indiana State 55 
It wasn’t pretty but the Aztecs did enough in the second half to hold off the Sycamores, moving on to the title game of the Diamond Head Classic where they’ll play No. 4 Arizona. Jamaal Franklin finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds and SDSU forced 117 Indiana State turnovers, with the usually steady Jake Odum having five. San Diego State shot 4-of-17 from beyond the arc, a percentage that must improve if they’re to beat the Wildcats on Tuesday night.

Starred 

1. F Chris Gaston and G Branden Frazier (Fordham) 
Gaston tallied 25 points and eight rebounds while Frazier added 20 points, ten assists and six rebounds in the Rams’ 81-75 win over Siena.

2. G Parker Smith (North Florida) 
Smith scored 25 points and grabbed ten rebounds in the Ospreys’ 74-46 win over Georgia Southern.

3. F David Laury (Iona)
In his second game in an Iona uniform Laury put up 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in the Gaels’ 100-72 win over Norfolk State. In his debut Laury dropped 21 and 14 in a loss at La Salle; keep an eye on him as he could be a difference maker in the MAAC race.

Struggled

1. New Hampshire
Bill Herrion’s Wildcats had a rough day shooting the basketball in their 72-45 loss at Penn State. For the game UNH shot 22.6% (12-of-53) from the field, and that includes a 5-of-29 first half.

2. G Matthew Dellavedova (Saint Mary’s) 
Ben Jacobson’s Panthers got the job done defensively on the reigning WCC Player of the Year, as Dellavedova shot 3-of-11 from the field (1-of-7 3PT) and scored nine points in the 82-75 loss.

3. F Julian Gamble and G Trey McKinney-Jones (Miami)
One day after combining to score 27 points in a win over Hawaii this duo struggled in the Hurricanes’ loss to No. 4 Arizona. Gamble and McKinney-Jones combined for three points (1-of-7 FG; all points scored by Gamble) and five rebounds, and with Reggie Johnson out Miami needed more from them to hang with a team the caliber of the Wildcats.

Three Facts

1. Pittsburgh’s 59-43 win over Kennesaw State was also the 250th for head coach Jamie Dixon. The Panthers shot 1-of-8 from three but grabbed 18 offensive rebounds, with Talib Zanna leading the way with 12 points and nine boards.

2. Six games were decided by 27 points or more, with Colorado State and Clemson (77-41 over South Carolina State) winning by the largest margin.

3. At halftime of their 68-52 win over Nebraska, UTEP retired Harry Flournoy’s number 44. Not familiar with the name? Flournoy was a key member of the Miners’ 1966 national title team, but played just six minutes in the win over Kentucky after twisting his knee. Flournoy ranks fourth in school history with 836 rebounds, and his average of 10.1 rebounds per game is third in the UTEP record book.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.