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.


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.


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.

Conference USA Preview: Look out for UAB this year

Georges Niang, William Lee
UAB's William Lee (AP Photo)
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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Conference USA.

This version of Conference USA is not as strong as the Conference USA of old, the one that featured the likes of Marquette, Memphis, Cincinnati and Louisville, but while much of the league falls under the ‘mid-major’ label these days, there’s still enough talent at the top of the conference to throw a scare into some of the big boys.

Take, for example, UAB. The Blazers last season finished just a game above .500, but after a dreadful start to non-conference play, Jerod Haase’s group turned it on in the league. They went 12-6 in CUSA, won the league’s tournament title and knocked off Iowa State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Oh, and they return everyone from last year’s group, including leading scorer Robert Brown and William Lee, who will be one of this season’s break out stars.

A major reason for UAB’s late-season surge was Lee, who did not truly get healthy until late-January. A 6-foot-9 combo-forward, Lee can block shots, score around the rim and make plays on the perimeter. He’s got a chance to be a star this season, and he makes UAB a really dangerous mid-major.

But he may not even be the best player in the conference, as Old Dominion returns reigning CUSA Player of the Year Trey Freeman. Freeman was a major reason that the Monarchs were able to beat LSU, VCU, Richmond and Georgia State last year in addition to reaching the semifinals of the NIT. The Monarchs also return Aaron Bacote, and while they lose their starting front line, there will be some promising big bodies available. East Carolina transfer Brandon Stith could post double-double numbers while Denzell Taylor was sixth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage last season.

The consensus from those around the league is that UAB and ODU, in some order, will be the team to beat this season. But there are a number of teams that will have a shot at finishing in that No. 3 spot.

Middle Tennessee State returns the majority of their roster from a season ago. The team’s leading returning scorer is power forward Reggie Upshaw, but the name to watch out for is Perrin Buford. Buford, a JuCo transfer, scored in double-figures in 10 of his last 12 games and averaged 14.1 points over his final eight.

UTEP returns just one healthy player from their top six from last season — Earvin Morris — but it’s who they add that keeps Tim Floyd’s club in the mix for the top five. Oregon transfer Dominic Artis will likely take over point guard while top 100 freshman Brodericks Jones and JuCo addition Lee Moore will be counted on for big years.

If Aaron Cosby can return to being the player he was as a sophomore at Seton Hall, Western Kentucky should have a chance to finish in the top six. But that was three years and two teams ago. Louisiana Tech not only lost ‘Speedy’ Smith and Raheem Appleby, but head coach Mike White left for Florida as well. New head coach Eric Konkol will be relying heavily on Alex Hamilton this year.

The two x-factors will be Marshall and Rice. The Owls returns a veteran back court and adds a key transfer in Egor Koulechov as they will look to build on the momentum from a strong close to the season. Head coach Mike Rhoades is a Shaka Smart disciple.

The same can be said for the Thundering Herd, who started the year 2-15 against Division I opponents but, in league play, won seven out of ten at one point. Dan D’antoni, Mike’s brother, plays an uptempo, gun-slinging style, adds a number of shooters and brings back Ryan Taylor.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule


  • Favorite: “Most will say UAB because they’re coming off of that tournament win, but I like Old Dominion, too. They have best guard group in the conference. Defensively, they’re really hard to score on and physically tough. Trey Freeman is the best point guard and leader in the league. It will come down to whether [Brandon Stith] can replace what they lost up front.”
  • Sleeper: “Rice. I think they have a chance to finish in the top couple spots. Marcus Jackson and Max Guercy are a veteran back court, and with the addition of Egor Koulechov from Arizona State, if he’s really good they’ve got a chance to be really good. Mike Rhoades has done a really good job, and last year they got better as the year went on. If they continue that momentum, look out.”
  • Star to watch: “UAB’s William Lee. He’s the best NBA prospect. The last month of the year, he was as good as anyone in the league. He’s a 6-foot-9 combo-forward that’s athletic and has three-point range. Given his versatility and his talent level, he could have a breakout year.”


Freeman was the best player in the conference last season, and after a full offseason of improvement, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be anything other than the same this year. Freeman is a scoring point guard that can breakdown a defense, but he’s also capable of making plays for his teammates. He’s the reason ODU has a real shot at unseating UAB at the top of the league.


  • William Lee, UAB: Lee, a 6-foot-9 combo-forward, averaged 11.9 points, 8.1 boards and 2.3 blocks while shooting 44.4 percent from three over the last 12 games. He wasn’t healthy until February, either.
  • Robert Brown, UAB: Brown was UAB’s star in March, averaging 18.2 points in five postseason games. The fifth-year senior is the engine that makes their offense run.
  • Alex Hamilton, Louisiana Tech: The lone returnee from last season’s dynamic back court, Hamilton should see an uptick in his total numbers this year.
  • Ryan Taylor, Marshall: Taylor averaged 14.1 points, 8.6 boards and 2.8 assists for the Thundering Herd last season playing the Draymond Green role in their uptempo offense.



1. UAB
2. Old Dominion
3. Middle Tennessee State
5. Western Kentucky
6. Louisiana Tech
7. Rice
8. Marshall
9. Florida Atlantic
10. Florida International
11. Charlotte
12. North Texas
13. UTSA
14. Southern Miss

Iowa State lands three-star SG Jakolby Long

Steve Prohm
Associated Press
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Iowa State received its fourth verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 Friday morning, as 6-foot-4 shooting guard Jakolby Long made his pledge to Steve Prohm’s program. A native of Mustang, Oklahoma, Long attends Mustang HS and played for the Athletes First grassroots program this summer.

In Nike EYBL play for Athletes First, Long averaged 16.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

According to Cyclone Fanatic, Long was also considering Georgia, Texas and Utah before deciding that he’ll play his college basketball at Iowa State. Long will join junior Matt Thomas, sophomore Hallice Cooke and transfer Nick Babb in the competition for minutes off the ball when he arrives on campus next year. According to Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune, Long could be a in a position where he sees solid playing time immediately.

Long joins junior college products Donovan Jackson and Emmanuel Malou, and 2016 forward Solomon Young in Iowa State’s 2016 class to date. And the Cyclones, who won’t use all 13 scholarships this season, still have room for a couple more additions for next season.

Iowa State has four seniors (Naz Long, Abdel Nader, Georges Niang and Jameel McKay), and junior point guard Monte’ Morris is considered by some to be a candidate to enter the 2016 NBA Draft.