Mike Brey

Late Night Snacks: Well, at least Notre Dame won on the hardwood

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On a night that college football ruled the world, we had a few great college basketball match-ups worthy of your attention. It’s Late Night Snacks.

Game of the night

No. 17 Notre Dame 66, No. 21 Cincinnati 60

Well, at least the Golden Domers have something to smile about, right? Thank Mike Brey and the play of Jerian Grant and his 19 points. The Fighting Irish didn’t trail the entire second half but fought off a charge from the Bearcats with a little less than 10 minutes left and a 49-49 tie.

Games of note

No. 5 Indiana 74, Penn State 51

Christian Watford finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in an easy road win for the Hoosiers, who shot 52.5-percent from the field and 50-percent from the free throw line.

Starred

Jerian Grant, Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish point guard finished with 19 points in the road win over Cincinnati.

DeQuan Hicks, Northwestern State – This man turned in the best performance of the night with 24 points and 13 rebounds in a victory over Sam Houston State in Southland Conference play.

Sam Rowley, Albany – 21 points and 13 rebounds to go along with four assists in a win over Binghamton. Nice show.

Struggled

Cincinnati from the free throw line – The Bearcats lost 66-60 to Notre Dame. They finished the game 5-for-11 from the free throw line. Hit the remaining six they missed…..?

Lipscomb’s defense – South Carolina Upstate averaged 68 points per game. They scoring 39 more than that on the night. Lipscomb didn’t do their job.

Stuffing the stat sheet

Jerome Frink and Tymell Murphy, FIU – Double-doubles for the win! Frink finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Murphy had the classic 20 points and 10 boards in the early afternoon victory over Bethune-Cookman. Good show, Golden Panthers.

Fanbase that can take a breath

Notre Dame (kind of) – On a night that was a total embarrassment to Fighting Irish football fans, they can take solace in the gym, where the Fighting Irish got a win over a conference foe and a ranked opponent. Relax, Fighting Irish, your basketball team will make the hurt go away. At least until spring practice.

Fanbase that can take a seat

Western Carolina – I’ve been adamant against teams playing teams from non-Division I classifications this late in the season. When you play a team called Warren Wilson, win 78-53, and have it count, it’s a bad look. Shame on you, Catamounts.

Special note of the night

Eric Angevine gets the  assist for this post from Defiantly Dutch. The Hofstra-centric blog. Georgia State’s Ron Hunter had joked he was going on a “farewell tour” of sorts and on Monday night at Hofstra, Jerry Beach, the blog director, gave Hunter a plaque for his two season in the Colonial Athletic Conference. Great showmanship. You can find the story here.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.