Game of the Night: New Mexico 55, No. 8 Cincinnati 54
It’s tough for low-scoring games to be thrillers, especially when the first half ends up being so ugly. But that’s precisely what the battle between the Lobos and the Bearcats ended up being. There was one two minute stretch in the second half where Cincinnati and New Mexico exchanged bucket after bucket for four possessions, which ultimately ended with UNM taking a 55-54 lead with 2:28 left thanks to Tony Snell. Neither team would score again, but it wasn’t for the lack of opportunities. Sean Kilpatrick had a jumper blocked in the final seconds, and while David Nyarsuk grabbed the loose ball and flung it off the glass and in, the shot came after the buzzer. It was Cincinnati’s first loss of the season.
Western Illinois 73, Oakland 63: The Leathernecks were led by 19 points and eight boards from Terell Parks as they shot 62.5% from the floor and moved to 3-0 in the Summit League with the win.
Western Kentucky 76, Florida International 63: George Fant had 24 points and Brandon Harris added 13 points, 10 boards and six assists as the Hilltoppers moved to 3-0 in the Sun Belt despite playing without Jared Crook, their second-leading scorer. WKU had lost three straight games.
Stephen Holt, St. Mary’s: Holy has been sidelined for nearly a month with a bone bruise in his left knee. He sat out four games, returning to the lineup to score four points in just 16 minutes in the Gaels’ loss to Northern Iowa. On Thursday night, Holt led the Gaels with 17 points in a win over Rhode Island.
Cincinnati’s big men: As a team, the Bearcats were 9-38 from inside the arc. The six front court players that saw action on Thursday finished with 13 points in 99 minutes. They were 6-22 from the floor and didn’t attempt a single free throw.
Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.
On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.
One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.
As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).
And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.
While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.
And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.
St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.
Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.
St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.
The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?