APTOPIX Arizona Oregon Basketball

Late Night Snacks: Oregon hands No. 4 Arizona its first loss

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Games of the Night 

1. No. 9 Gonzaga 83, Saint Mary’s 78
The Bulldogs led by as many as 18 points and looked poised to run away with a big win in the first of two meetings between the WCC rivals. But thanks in large part to Stephen Holt the Gaels fought their way back into the game and even had a chance to tie the score in the final minute. Kelly Olynyk put together another good outing for Gonzaga, finishing with 31 points and eight rebounds, and Kevin Pangos added 22 points. Holt led Saint Mary’s with 23 points but Gonzaga did a good job of pestering Matthew Dellavedova (4-of-15 FG), limiting him to 14 points.

2. Florida Gulf Coast 72, USC Upstate 71 (OT) 
A Chase Fieler layup with two seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the Eagles moved to 4-1 in Atlantic Sun play. Bernard Thompson led five FGCU players in double figures with 19 points, and Torrey Craig paced USC Upstate with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Florida Gulf Coast won the game despite their bench not scoring a single points.

3. UC Davis 69, Cal Poly 67 
Thanks to the heroics of Corey Hawkins the final undefeated team (in conference play) in the Big West fell into a three-way tie for first place with Hawaii and Long Beach State. Hawkins’ shot as time expired gave the Aggies the win at home, with J.T. Adenrele leading the victors with 20 points. Dylan Royer, whose three free throws with nine seconds remaining tied the game at 67, led Cal Poly with a career-high 19 points.

Important Outcomes 

1. Oregon 70, No. 4 Arizona 66
The Ducks handed the previously undefeated Wildcats their first loss of the season thanks to a balanced effort on the offensive end. E.J. Singler led four starters in double figures with 14 points and Oregon’s front court outplayed the Arizona freshmen. Mark Lyons led all scorers with 21 points.

2. Miami 68, North Carolina 59
The Hurricanes moved to 2-0 in the ACC (both wins coming on the road) and did so without the services of Reggie Johnson, who remains sidelined with a broken left thumb. Julian Gamble (14 points and six rebounds) and Kenny Kadji (18 and nine) led four Miami players in double figures, while James Michael McAdoo led the Tar Heels with 14 points. Jim Larranaga’s team looks like an NCAA tournament team at this stage; not so sure the same can be said of North Carolina.

3. Xavier 57, Temple 52
On the heels of their close call at No. 6 Kansas, Temple didn’t perform so well in their Atlantic 10 opener at Xavier. Khalif Wyatt shot 2-of-11 from the field and as he goes so go the Owls, who need to turn around quickly as they host Saint Louis on Saturday night. As a team Temple shot 33.9% from the field and 4-of-20 from beyond the arc. Semaj Christon, who had to leave another game for a stretch due to cramps, led all scorers with 16 points.

Starred

1. F Damen Bell-Holter (Oral Roberts) 
Bell-Holter led the Golden Eagles to an 80-74 win over Northwestern State with 25 points (8-of-13 FG) and 20 rebounds. He’s scored 25 points or more in each of ORU’s three Southland games, including a 35-point, 14-rebound outing in their win over Southeast Louisiana last Thursday.

2. G Ian Clark and F Trevor Noack (Belmont) 
When the Bruins get rolling offensively the opposition is in trouble, as evidenced by their 107-72 beating of Southeast Missouri State. Clark (12-of-14 FG) and Noack (10-of-16 FG) scored 30 points apiece with Clark adding three rebounds, three steals and two assists while Noack grabbed seven boards.

3. C Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga) 
Olynyk provided more evidence for the argument that he’s the most improved player in the country, tallying 31 points and eight rebounds in No. 9 Gonzaga’s 83-78 win over rival Saint Mary’s.

Struggled

1. Youngstown State
What happens when a team has as many turnovers (20) as made field goals and they also shoot 2-of-14 from beyond the arc? Said team gets run out of its own gym by the final score of 101-60 (Detroit did the honors).

2. F Alex Poythress and F Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky) 
Yes the Wildcats hung on to beat Vanderbilt but just how far can Kentucky go if Poythress and Wiltjer are combining to score nine points (3-of-8 FG) and grab seven rebounds (six by Poythress)?

3. G Khalif Wyatt (Temple) 
Wyatt played extremely well on Sunday in a close loss at No. 6 Kansas but that was not the case tonight as the Owls fell 57-52 at Xavier. Wyatt shot 2-of-11 from the field, finishing with five points, three assists and three turnovers.

Three Facts

1. Three teams surpassed the 100-point mark on Thursday night: Belmont (107), Bryant (103) and Detroit (101). Belmont set a Curb Center record with its effort (highest total since scoring 117 in a game in 2001), Detroit scored the most points in a conference game since the 1995-96 season and Bryant set a school record for points in a game as a Division I member.

2. LIU Brooklyn’s 31-game win streak at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center came to an end as the Blackbirds lost to Wagner 86-75. Wagner shot 59.2% from the field and 90% from beyond the arc in the win.

3. Old Dominion established a new school record in its 71-46 loss at George Mason as they shot 25% from the field. That’s the worst that the Monarchs have ever shot in a CAA game, and the 24 turnovers didn’t help matters either.

Other Notable Results 

No. 22 Michigan State 62, Iowa 59

Kentucky 60, Vanderbilt 58

Saint Louis 70, Massachusetts 62

UCLA 57, Utah 53

San Francisco 84, Santa Clara 80

Arizona State 72, Oregon State 62

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Illinois PG expected to be ready for practice

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Illinois point guards and injuries have been an unfortunate trend over the past two seasons with Tracy Abrams, who missed the past two seasons with a torn ACL followed by a torn Achilles the next year.

On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported some good news for an incoming Fighting Illini floor general. Te’Jon Lucas, a three-star prospect from the Class of 2016, will be fully cleared for the start of practice, according to Rothstein. In February, Lucas had broke his fibula in his right leg in two places during a game.

Lucas had committed to Illinois the previous September.

Abrams received a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June, and he decided to remain in Champaign for his final season. If healthy, he’ll be the starter. Jaylon Tate is also back for another season. But they are both seniors, which makes Sunday’s report important for John Groce’s program. Lucas will be on the floor Day 1 of practice, being molded for the future by two experienced guards.

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is the only true freshman on the roster.

Illinois begins the 2016-17 season on November 11, hosting Southeast Missouri State.

Xavier adds to class with three-star center

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Xavier added a fourth piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Sunday morning.

Kentravious Jones, a 6-foot-11, three-star recruit, committed to the Musketeers. He announced the decision via Twitter.

Chris Mack’s current recruiting class is headlined by four-star swingman Naji Marshall. The incoming quartet also includes guard Elias Harden and forward Jared Ridder. But Jones’ commitment fits an area that needs to be addressed for the Musketeers moving forward. Xavier isn’t particularly deep when it comes to big men. That frontcourt only gets thinner once RaShid Gaston, a graduate transfer from Norfolk State, exhausts his eligibility after this season.

Jones, along with current freshman forward Tyrique Jones, gives Xavier a young foundation for the future. Jones is an old-school, big-bodied center. He’s got a nice back-to-the-basket game, and had his best stretch of the summer during the UAA Finals. In three games with the Atlanta Xpress, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 59 percent from the field, and grabbed nine boards per game.

Conditioning will be the emphasis for him over the course of the next year. However, we have seen Xavier work well with a big, skilled centers in the past (see: Stainbrook, Matt). According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones has dropped 30 pounds.

Sunday morning’s news may not even be Xavier’s last score on the recruiting trail. The Musketeers have one scholarship remaining (two, or three if Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett enter the NBA Draft this spring), and are in play for several coveted prospects like point guards Paul Scruggs, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, as well as forward Kris Wilkes.

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

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USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.