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.

Kansas forward arrested on suspicion of battery

Douglas County Sheriff
Douglas County Sheriff
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Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. was charged today with one count of battery.

According to a press release sent out by the Douglas County district attorney’s office, police received a call around 1 a.m. from a woman who said that “her boyfriend had struck her and pushed her down stairs during an argument.”

The DA also included a note in the statement that, essentially, said the only reason Bragg wasn’t charged with domestic violence – he was initially arrested on suspicion of domestic battery – was due to a technicality. Since the couple is only dating and not married, under Kansas law, the assault does not constitute domestic violence.

Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison.

Bragg, who was still in custody until an appearance in court on Friday afternoon, was held on bond of $500. Bragg plead not guilty.

“We are still trying to gather information,” head coach Bill Self told The Star. “But it is a charge which we take very seriously.”

Bragg is a 6-foot-8 sophomore that lost his spot in the starting lineup earlier this year. He is averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 boards in 16 minutes. No. 3 Kansas hosts Nebraska on Saturday.

St. John’s to lose center to transfer

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 13: Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats has his shot blocked by Yankuba Sima #35 of the St. John's Red Storm at the Wells Fargo Center on February 13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Villanova won 73-63. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Yankuba Sima will transfer out of the St. John’s program, the school announced on Friday.

“I want to thank the coaching staff and the administration for all of their support since I arrived at St. John’s,” said Sima. “I enjoyed my experience at St. John’s, but right now I feel it is best for me to explore options that will be a better fit for me as I work toward my goals.”

“We wish Yankuba the best of luck,” said head coach Chris Mullin. “I know this wasn’t an easy decision for him, but we respect and understand it. He’s a good basketball player and a good person with a bright future ahead.”

Sima started 26 of the 34 games he played with the Johnnies, including eight starts this season. He was averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 boards this year.

Frank Martin comments on Sindarius Thornwell suspension

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 26:  Sindarius Thornwell #0 of the South Carolina Gamecocks drives to the basket defended by Tyler Lydon #20 of the Syracuse Orange in the second half during the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at Barclays Center on November 26, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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South Carolina head coach Frank Martin commented on Sindarius Thornwell’s suspension during his call-in show on Thursday.

Thornwell, who was the leading scorer for the 8-0 No. 19 Gamecocks, was suspended indefinitely last Sunday. Martin has yet to provide a reason for the suspension.

“He’s been with us at practice, he’ll travel with us, he’s excited about our team, his role on the team,” he said, according to South Carolina’s 247 site. “Sindarius is one of my favorite guys I’ve ever come across. He messed up and it is what it is. He’s like a son to me. He messed up and he’s owned up to his mess up.”

“Outside of that, I’m not going to get into anything else. He has my full support. Our job is to prepare our team to play, we don’t prepare individual players to play. It’s no different to someone rolling an ankle. We’re down because of a bad decision. We’ll be fine.”

Thornwell is averaging 18.7 points, 6.0 boards and 4.1 assists. The Gamecocks play Seton Hall in New York City on Monday night.

UCF star point guard out indefinitely with thumb injury

STORRS, CT - JANUARY 22: B.J. Taylor #1 of the Central Florida Knights carries the ball up the court in front of Ryan Boatright #11 of the Connecticut Huskies in the first half during the game at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on January 22, 2015 in Storrs, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Sophomore guard B.J. Taylor is out indefinitely after suffering a hand injury, UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins confirmed at a press conference earlier today.

According to a report from 247 Sports’ UCF site, the injury is a broken thumb, which was suffered in Saturday’s win over UMass.

Taylor is not expected to miss the rest of the season but will be out for an extended amount of time. He missed all of 2015-16 season dealing with a foot injury.

On the season, Taylor, a 6-foot-2 point guard, was having an all-AAC caliber season, averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 boards.

Weekend Preview: Villanova tested by Notre Dame, bounce-backs for Xavier, Butler

Notre Dame's Steve Vasturia (32), Bonzie Colson (35) and V.J. Beachem (3) talk during the second half of a first-round men's college basketball game against Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 18, 2016, in New York. Notre Dame won 70-63. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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SATURDAY’S SHOWDOWNS

No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 23 Notre Dame, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: This is a fascinating matchup for a couple of reasons. For starters, this is the first real test that undefeated Notre Dame is going to be getting this season. We honestly have no idea how good the Irish actually are, and you wouldn’t be alone in needing to see a team starting Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson prove it before buying in.

But we also haven’t see Villanova tested in a while, either. They won at Purdue earlier this season and, since then, have more-or-less coasted to their undefeated mark. This will not only be a nice gauge game for Villanova, but it will also be a chance for them to pad an NCAA tournament résumé that will need to be strong for them to get a No. 1 seed this year.

The other part of this that’s fascinating? Both of these teams play small ball. There are going to be times on Saturday where 6-foot-5 Bonzie Colson is playing center and being guarded by 6-foot-5 Kris Jenkins, who will be at center for the Wildcats.

No. 22 Cincinnati at No. 16 Butler, Sat. 4:30 p.m.: Butler could really use this win. Coming off of a road loss to Indiana State during the week, the Bulldogs will be playing back in Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday. But here’s the thing: Cincinnati could really use this win as well, and that Bearcat program already owns a road win over Iowa State.

The matchup here will be intriguing as well. Butler plays a more open, run-and-gun style than they did under Brad Stevens. Tyler Lewis is a show-man in transition, as is Kamar Baldwin, and getting Kelan Martin spotting up or attacking a close out is always a good coaching maneuver. Cincinnati is tough and big and physical. They try to wear you down. They pound the glass. They really, really defend. How does Butler handle it?

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FIVE MORE GAMES TO WATCH

  • No. 17 Wisconsin at Marquette, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: In one of the more under-appreciated rivalries in college basketball, Marquette will be looking to land a marquee win to bolster the non-conference portion of their NCAA tournament résumé. Will
    Nigel Hayes continue to play like an all-american?
  • Utah at No. 13 Xavier, Sat. 5:30 p.m.: The Musketeers have lost back-to-back games and are really struggling to shoot the ball from the perimeter. Utah has struggled this season as they have a young roster waiting on a pair of transfers to get eligible.
  • Michigan at No. 2 UCLA, Sat. 8:00 p.m.: UCLA is now a week removed from their win over then-No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena. This will be the first time they see the floor since then. Michigan had the look of a tournament team earlier in the season, but they’ve lost a pair of winnable games in recent weeks.
  • Hofstra vs. No. 6 Kentucky, Sun. 3:00 p.m.: The Wildcats will square off with Hofstra on Sunday, a game that is only really notable because it will be played in the Barclays Center.
  • No. 21 Florida at Florida State, Sun. 4:00 p.m.: The Gators looked the part of an NCAA tournament team when they lost to Duke in New York City on Tuesday. Florida State is more talented, however, but it’s difficult to trust them. This will be a big win for whoever gets it.

FIVE STORY LINES TO FOLLOW

1. Kentucky’s perimeter shooting is officially a concern: The Wildcats are currently shooting 32.2 percent from beyond the arc, which is 254th nationally. The only real threat they have from three in their starting lineup is Malik Monk, and he’s streaky. They can play Derek Willis at the four, but Willis is such a step-down on the defensive end of the floor from Wenyen Gabriel that it may not end up being a net-positive to play him, not when the Wildcats rely so heavily on their defense to create offense in transition.

I’m not sure what the answer is. I’m not even sure there is an answer. This is just what Coach Cal has to work with this season. Can they improve? Probably. The great thing about being a bad shooting team is that shooting is the easiest thing to develop. Teams without size can’t get bigger. Teams without athleticism can’t get more athletic. The only problem? There are just four months left of the season. How much better can Kentucky really get?

One thing worth noting here: The 2010 Kentucky team, the one with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, the one that lost in the Elite 8 because of their shooting issues, finished the season making 33.1 percent of their threes.

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 07:  De'Aaron Fox #0 of the Kentucky Wildcats dribbles the ball during the game against the Valparaiso Crusaders at Rupp Arena on December 7, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
De’Aaron Fox (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

2. Let’s see if Notre Dame is for real: The Fighting Irish are one of nine undefeated teams left in college basketball, but as good as they have been this season, Mike Brey’s club still hasn’t really beaten anyone. The Colorado win looks better after the Buffaloes beat Xavier. Beating Fort Wayne, the team that upset Indiana, is good. Northwestern and Iowa are Big Ten teams.

But none of those four wins – none of Notre Dame’s nine wins – have come against a team we know will be in the NCAA tournament. We know Villanova will be, and the interesting thing about this matchup is how well the two teams matchup, particularly up front. Neither the Irish nor the Wildcats have much size inside. If Notre Dame can pull off the upset, it will be time to start talking about them much more.

3. UCLA’s first action since the win at Kentucky: The last time that we saw the Bruins take the court they put up 97 points on Kentucky in Rupp Arena. That’s pretty good. It’s also an easy way to get a big head, especially for a team that has so many freshmen on the roster. UCLA will face off with Michigan at home on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how they come out early on in this one.

4. Bounce-back chances for Big East programs: No. 13 Xavier has lost two games in a row now, both of them coming on the road. They were felled at No. 4 Baylor before getting dropped at Colorado on Wednesday. The Musketeers will host Utah, a winnable game that could help them find a rhythm shooting the ball.

No. 16 Butler is coming off of a loss of their home, having been upset at Indiana State by the Sycamores. The Bulldogs will have a bigger test than the Musketeers, as they host a top 25 team in No. 22 Cincinnati.

5. Jonathan Isaac’s health, Florida State’s tournament hopes?: Isaac is the forgotten top ten pick. He’s been terrific this season and has a chance to play his way into the top ten if he continues doing what he’s been doing, but he’s missed the last two games with a hip injury. This is an important game for the Seminoles, as they host Florida this weekend. Will Isaac be available?