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 lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.

Oakland’s Greg Kampe hosting charity golf event with big-name coaches

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Oakland head coach Greg Kampe hosted a successful charity event for cancer research two years ago by allowing people to bid online to play a round of golf with some of college basketball’s best coaches.

Kampe is back again this year as he’s hoping to eventually raise $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

According to a report from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Kampe has 11 high-profile names that fans can play with this year.

  • Tom Izzo, Michigan State
  • Frank Martin, South Carolina
  • Rick Barnes, Tennessee
  • Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
  • Chris Holtmann, Butler
  • Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
  • Greg Kampe, Oakland
  • Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
  • Steve Lavin
  • Fran Fraschilla
  • Bill Raftery

Fans can find more details about the auctions and all of the details here.

The minimum bid is $15,000 per coach. A “buy now” bid of $24,000 is also available.

Each round includes the following, according to the event’s website:

Up for auction will be 11 spectacular packages, featuring a private dinner with elite basketball coaches and VIPs, a one night stay at MotorCity Casino Hotel on Sunday, June 4, and an afternoon of golf on Monday, June 5 at Oakland Hills Country Club on the South Course. The winning bidders and their two guests will round out the foursomes with their selected VIP: Rick Barnes, Mick Cronin, Fran Fraschilla, Chris Holtmann, Tom Izzo, Greg Kampe, Steve Lavin, Frank Martin, Bill Raftery, Stan Van Gundy, or Kevin Willard.

There are a lot of great selections to choose from for this sort of thing, but I can’t imagine a better afternoon than playing golf with Bill Raftery and a few friends. There are some other tempting choices on this list, but that’s the one I would have to jump at.

If you think 137 players declaring for the draft is stupid, you’re probably stupid

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The NBA Draft’s full early entry list came out on Tuesday afternoon, and there were 137 underclassmen listed on it.

137.

For 60 spots in the NBA Draft, only 30 of which guarantee you a contract in the NBA.

And that’s before you factor in the 45 international players that also declared for the NBA Draft, as well as the crop of seniors — Josh Hart, Monte’ Morris, Jaron Blossomgame, Alec Peters — that are going to end up hearing their names called. All told, there are going to be roughly 200 players competing to be one of the 60 people that end up getting drafted on June 22nd, and you don’t have to be any good at math to realize that 200 is a much, much bigger number than 60.

This unleashed a torrent of bad takes on the decision of these players.

And bad may not be doing those takes justice.

Because the bottom-line is this: You cannot paint the decision on whether or not to go pro with a broad brush.

For some players, making money of any kind is something they need to do to support their family, whether it’s what they’ll get with a first round guarantee, the $75-100,000 they’ll get for making a training camp roster to subsidize their time in the D-League while teams develop them or the money they can make in the D-League or overseas. You don’t know what their financial situation is. Maximizing their ability to capitalize on every available dollar they can make off of their athletic gifts may be more important than working towards a degree.

And it’s worth noting here that a guaranteed contract isn’t the only way to make a living in professional basketball. To say nothing of the money that can be made overseas or the number of second round picks and undrafted players that make guaranteed money — which is more than you probably realize — it needs to be noted that D-League salaries are getting a bump this year with the new CBA.

The NBA has also instituted something new called a “two-way contract”. Without getting into the legalese, it’s essentially a retainer worth well into the six figures that they will be able to give to two players that will allow them to retain that player under contract while sending them between the D-League and the NBA roster. In a sense, it creates an extra 60 NBA roster spots for players that have 0-3 years worth of professional basketball on their résumé.

Some players are simply declaring without signing with an agent because they want to get feedback directly from NBA personnel on what their professional prospects. Some will hear that they need to return to school to work on their body, or work on their jumper, or mature as a person to be able to handle everything that comes with being a professional. Others will be told they’re going to make a lot of money by staying in the draft, or that they need to go back to school because, frankly, they are not professional basketball players. Not getting invited to the NBA combine is a pretty good indication of where you stand in the eyes of NBA teams.

Still other players are putting their name into the draft to leave their options open should they be recruited over by the program they are a part of. Take Frank Jackson, for example. If he can return to school and thrive as Duke’s point guard, maybe he turns into a top 20 pick. But what happens if Trevon Duval, the best point guard in the Class of 2017 and a top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, picks Duke? Would it be in Jackson’s best interest to come back to Duke when he won’t be playing the position that he needs to learn to play to turn himself into a lasting NBA player?

Jackson, like the roughly 100 underclassmen that have declared without an agent, has until May 24th to make his decision on whether or not he will keep his name in the draft. Until then, he can return to school without damaging his eligibility.

The entire reason that the NCAA changed their rules to allow players to test the waters is so that they can make the most important decision of their lives with as much information as humanly possible. This thing exists for the sole purpose of allowing the kids to have as much knowledge about their options as possible.

And that is exactly what these kids are doing.

So the idea that this rule, or players taking advantage of that rule, however high that number may be, is a bad thing is stupid.