Memphis Tennessee

Late Night Snacks: Memphis Tigers win rivalry game for the last time

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Games of the Day

Memphis 85, Tennessee 80: Even if this game were a blowout it would still probably be the game of the day because as many of you know by now this could be the last time these two in-state rivals play their annual game in a while. The contract is up at the end of the year, but both ADs are discussing extending it. Either way, Memphis, lead by Joe Jackson used a strong offensive first half to jump out to a double-digit lead. Tennessee, led by Jordan McRae, chipped away at the lead, but the deficit was too much.

Important Outcomes

Memphis earns non-conference win: Sticking in the state of Tennessee, Memphis enters Conference-USA play with a much-needed quality out of conference win. The Tigers looked awful in November, losing back-to-back games against VCU and Minnesota as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas and later lost to Louisville. The play of Jackson should give Josh Pastner and Memphis some optimism heading forward.

Rhode Island beats in-state opponent: Last week, the last-game 3-pointer from Tucker Halpern lifted Brown over Providence. Dan Hurley and his Rams avoided surrendering the tiny state of Rhode Island to the Bears with 59-47 win. Halpern was held to four points, while Xavier Munford had a game-high 18 for URI.

Valparaiso gets first conference win: Valpo started off conference play with a loss to Loyola (Ill.). The Crusaders bounced back with a 24-point win over Cleveland State. Valparaiso needed the win if they want to stick around with Detroit this season. Valparaiso visits Detriot Jan. 17.

Starred

Joe Jackson, Memphis: When he plays well, so do the Tigers. He ended the night with 20 points, seven assists, and four rebounds and got his teammates open looks by hitting the gaps and getting into the lane. Memphis won 85-80 over Tennessee.

Jordan McRae, Tennessee: In an offensive that struggled, McRae almost tripled his scoring average (10.3) with a game-high 26 points in a loss to Memphis.

O.D. Anosike, Siena: The Saints may be 2-12, but Anosike continued to make double-doubles part of his daily routine. Eleven of 14 games, the 6-foot-8 forward has recorded double figures in both points and rebounds. In a 66-62 loss to Iona, the senior forward ended with 19 points and 15 boards. He is averaging 13 and 12 on the season.

Struggled

Grambling State: No luck again Friday night, as the Tigers dropped the 11th straight game to open the season. The 69-56 loss to Alabama State (4-11) puts Grambling State at 0-2 to start SWAC play.

St. Peter’s execution: The Peacocks cut the deficit to 55-53 against Manhattan with two minutes to go. And that ended up the final score. Yvon Raymond missed a pair of free throws with a minute to go. Desi Washington had one shot blocked and missed a 3-pointer at the end of the game.

Marshall Henderson Shot-Tracker: A relatively quiet night for Mr. Henderson. The 3-point gunner only took eight shots from behind the arc, which is the second-lowest total he has had this season (six against San Francisco and Hawaii).

Henderson connected on a trio of them, ending with a game-high 21 points for Ole Miss in a 95-68 win over Fordham #ShootMoreMarshall

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.