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Mixed results for college hoops in the Bay Area on Saturday

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With four teams in action Saturday, California’s Bay Area shifted its attention away from the San Francisco 49ers and Stanford’s upcoming bowl game and over to college hoops, where fans got mixed results. Take a look at the recap below:

No. 1 Duke 90, Santa Clara 77

The Broncos kept it close early, trailing by only two at halftime, but Duke’s size buried Santa Clara in foul trouble in the second half. Senior Kevin Foster was impressive with 29 points on the afternoon, including 18 in the first half that almost single-handedly kept Santa Clara in the game.

Against the nation’s No. 1 team, an up-tempo style helped to minimize Duke’s size advantage in the first half and Foster’s hot shooting was key. But Foster picked up his third foul less than 10 seconds into the second half and the Blue Devils found a way to neutralize Santa Clara’s full-court game and grind it down to a half-court bout. Seth Curry’s hot shooting overextended the Santa Clara defense and pushed it out to the perimeter, opening up opportunities for center Mason Plumlee on the inside.

It was a valiant Santa Clara effort, but Duke proved to be too much. The tough loss showed that the Broncos are likely the fourth-best team in the WCC, trailing national power Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, and BYU.

San Francisco 93, Dominican Cal 76

Cole Dickerson had a double-double of 30 points and 10 rebounds as the Dons cruised to a win Saturday night by dominating in nearly every key statistical category. San Francisco shot 56 percent from the floor and outrebounded Dominican 42-25. It is a bounce-back win for the Dons after going 1-2 in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii over the Christmas holiday.

They open conference play on Jan. 2 against Santa Clara.

Stanford 65, Lafayette 59

Stanford was never able to put Lafayette away, thanks in large part to 11-of-19 shooting from three-point range for the Leopards. Stanford’s zone defense had a difficult time rotating to shooters and was giving too much space on the perimeter, allowing a smaller Lafayette team to stay in the game.

Poor Cardinal shooting from the perimeter (3-of-19) only amplified the offensive problems, but a late-game push to get the ball inside to junior Dwight Powell exploited Stanford’s size advantage. Had the Cardinal not outrebounded Lafayette by such a large 42-24 margin, we likely would have had an upset at Maples Pavilion.

Keep an eye on Josh Huestis, who continues to be an impact player and a complement to Powell on the interior. He narrowly missed a double-double Saturday, scoring eight points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

Harvard 67, California 62

Cal ran into many of the same problems against Harvard that Stanford did against Lafayette. Laurent Rivard and Wesley Saunders combined for 37 points, including 7-of-15 shooting from three-point range to extend the California defense and power an upset Saturday. Harvard was patient offensively and controlled the clock in the second half to dictate the pace and force the Bears into uncomfortable half-court sets.

Allen Crabbe turned in another high-scoring performance with 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting, but a short Cal rotation hurt Mike Montgomery’s team down the stretch. Both Crabbe and Justin Cobbs had bouts with cramps late in the second half, likely a result of Harvard milking each offensive possession and forcing Cal to play 35 seconds of defense nearly every time down the floor.

The Crimson continue to get production from freshman point guard Siyani Chambers, if not as a scorer than as a facilitator. He shot just 2-of-15 from the floor Saturday, but had nine assists and just two turnovers.

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

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.