Fuquan Edwin, C.J. Wilcox

Willard: Brandon Mobley injury ‘doesn’t look good’

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This was supposed to be a season of promise for Seton Hall, but now coach Kevin Willard has yet another reason to kick something.

Forward Brandon Mobley, went down with a separated right shoulder in the game. Today Jerry Carino is reporting that Mobley’s MRI on the shoulder isn’t helping matters.

“It doesn’t look good,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “Hopefully we won’t have to have surgery on it.”

The 6-9 Mobley, who is averaging 9.5 points per game, is now the latest in a long line of injuries for the Pirates, who are still a respectable 12-5 overall, but 1-3 in Big East Conference play.

In all, Mobley, a sophomore, is the sixth player to be hit with an injury this season. Patrik Auda (redshirting due to a foot injury), Brian Oliver (coming back from an ankle sprain), Aaron Geramipoor and Kevin Johnson are also on the mend from injuries and coming back. Aaron Cosby missed time in the preseason with a knee injury.

Injuries are something I’ll never fault a team for, short of the coaches just pulling a Billy Gillispie and putting their players through hell. Mobley has been a steady presence for Seton Hall all season, so it’s safe to say that this is the most significant blow to a Pirates’ roster that has seen it’s share of significant blows this year.

As far as a timetable for his return, there has been no word.

So who steps in for Mobley, should he be out for a lengthy amount of time? Carino mentions Haralds Karlis in the story. The 6-5 sophomore scored 11 points in the loss to the Friars. Center Gene Teague, a redshirt junior who trails only Fuquan Edwin averaging 12.5 points per game, will definitely be asked to take more of the load inside. There’s really no other healthy options, at least that would be effective. Look for Seton Hall to apply the “by-committee” title to a lot of areas, with so many injuries,

The situation isn’t insurmountable for Seton Hall. Getting guys healthy will be the key. But that’s going to have to happen while pushing through the final season of the Big East as we all know it. Four of their next six games are on the road and they include trips to Marquette, Georgetown and Pittsburgh with a home date against Cincinnati thrown in.

David Harten is the editor and founder of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the NBCSports.com Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.