Late Night Snacks: ‘Havoc’ wears down Hawks and a stunning rally in Detroit

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Games of the Night 

1. No. 22 VCU 92, Saint Joseph’s 86 (OT)

Up four with 13 seconds remaining the Hawks were called for a travelling violation when two players simultaneously held the ball following a defensive rebound. That mistake would be the opening that VCU needed to complete its comeback, sending the game into overtime on a Darius Theus layup and then outlasting a Saint Joseph’s team that doesn’t have much depth with Halil Kanacevic away from the program due to a death in the family.

2. Valparaiso 89, Detroit 88 

In a matchup of the defending Horizon League regular season (Valparaiso) and tournament (Detroit) champions the Titans looked to be in good shape for much of the night at Calihan Hall. Detroit led 50-32 at the half and 88-77 with just over three minutes remaining…and did not score another point. Two Ryan Broekhoff free throws with 17 seconds remaining proved to be the difference, and Kevin Van Wijk led the Crusaders with 31 points. Nick Minnerath led Detroit with 36 points, and given how wild this one was the rematch at Valparaiso on February 23 should not lack for entertainment.

Also of note: Chattanooga trailed Appalachian 60-42 with 8:48 remaining but outscored the Mountaineers 33-15 to send the game into overtime. The Mocs won 91-88 with Z. Mason (23 points, 11 rebounds) leading the way and Dontay Hampton scoring 22 points off the bench.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 5 Michigan 83, No. 9 Minnesota 75

Once again the Golden Gophers shot themselves in the foot with turnovers, digging themselves a hole too deep to crawl out of. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points to lead the Wolverines and Austin Hollins scored 21 to pace Minnesota. Minnesota turned the ball over 15 times, which the Wolverines converted into 24 points.

2. No. 10 Florida 68, Texas A&M 47

On Saturday Elston Turner lit up Kentucky to the tune of 40 points. Tonight the Aggie had no such luck as Florida limited him to four points. Mike Rosario scored 19 points and Patric Young added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Gators, who moved to 3-0 in SEC play with the win. As a team Texas A&M shot 34% from the field, and when Turner struggles offensively the entire team will follow suit; he’s that important to Billy Kennedy’s team.

3. Northwestern 68, No. 23 Illinois 54

Illinois’ struggles from beyond the arc continued as they shot 3-of-21 from deep in a disappointing home loss to Northwestern. Reggie Hearn led four Wildcats in double figures with 20 points, and Illinois also helped out the Wildcats by turning the ball over 18 times. Brandon Paul scored 21 points to lead all scorers.

Starred

1. F/C Damen Bell-Holter (Oral Roberts) 

27 points (8-of-9 FG, 11-of-12 FT) and 13 rebounds in the Golden Eagles’ 64-52 win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

2. F Nick Minnerath (Detroit) and G Kevin Van Wijk (Valparaiso) 

In Valparaiso’s 89-88 win over Detroit these two players stood out. Minnerath finished with 36 points (12-of-17 FG), four rebounds and three steals, and Van Wijk led the Crusaders with 31 points (13-of-15 FG) and five rebounds.

3. G Darius Theus (VCU) 

22 points, ten assists, four steals and three rebounds in the Rams’ 92-86 overtime win over Saint Joseph’s.

Struggled

1. Illinois 

The Fighting Illini shot 3-of-21 from three in their loss to Northwestern, and over the last three games they’re 8-of-59 from deep.

2. G Anthony Stitt (Charleston) 

Stitt had a night to forget for the Cougars, who fell 51-47 at Georgia Southern, shooting 0-of-13 from the field and finishing with two points, two assists and three turnovers.

3. G Elston Turner (Texas A&M) 

One game after shooting 14-of-19 from the field at Rupp Arena, Turner didn’t experience that level of success against No. 10 Florida. Turner finished the game with four points on 1-of-10 shooting.

Three Facts

1. South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters surpassed the 2,000-point mark in the Jackrabbits’ 59-53 win at Western Illinois, handing the Leathernecks their first Summit League loss in the process. Wolters finished the game with 22 points, six assists and five rebounds, and the program’s all-time leading scorer has a career total of 2,010 points.

2. Canisius head coach Jim Baron picked up the 400th win of his coaching career as the Golden Griffins beat Manhattan 64-60 in Buffalo. The Griffs trailed by ten at the half but thanks to Isaac Sosa, who scored a season-high 25 points, they were able to rally for the win.

3. One year after winning just two games the Bryant Bulldogs sit alone in first place in the NEC with a 5-0 record. 12-4 overall, the Bulldogs beat Mount St. Mary’s 79-78 in overtime on a Shane McLaughlin layup with just over six seconds remaining in overtime. Alex Francis led the way offensively with 25 points.

Top 25 Scores 

No. 3 Duke 73, Georgia Tech 57

No. 5 Michigan 83, No. 9 Minnesota 75

No. 10 Florida 68, Texas A&M 47

No. 21 Oregon 76, USC 74

No. 22 VCU 92, Saint Joseph’s 86 (OT)

Northwestern 68, No. 23 Illinois 54

No. 24 UCLA 74, Oregon State 64

Video Bonus

Check out this halftime buzzer-beater from Idaho State’s Chris Hansen in the Bengals’ 60-59 win over Sacramento State (fast forward to the 0:29 mark).

And here’s Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski jumping into the arms of Mason Plumlee after a second half dunk from his senior big man.

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

Kentucky fans flood Facebook page of official John Higgins’ company with negative reviews

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Unhappy with how John Higgins performed at his part-time job, Kentucky fans did their best trash him at his full-time gig.

The Facebook page of the referee’s Omaha-based roofing company was flooded by Big Blue Nation with negative comments and reviews after they were displeased with the official’s work in the Wildcats’ Elite Eight loss to North Carolina.

Not only did fans leave obviously fake and vulgar comments on the page, they also deluged it with one-star reviews to drive down its average significantly.

Once again, the Internet is struck by its proportionality problem. What could be considered a silly bit of online pranking by a small minority suddenly turns into an avalanche of nastiness that could do real damage to someone’s life, business and family, given the importance of social media for companies in 2017. It becomes cruel when it reaches a level like this.

When there’s so many general complaints about the state of officiating in college basketball, it’s also not helpful to do something like this to one of the referees generally considered to be one of the country’s best. It’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for prospective future officials to follow the career path if it brings this level of negative attention to you off the court.

Report: North Carolina to miss out on NCAA events through 2022 if HB2 not addressed by Thursday

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North Carolina is in danger of losing out on hosting NCAA events through 2022 if the state does not make changes to HB2, the controversial so-called “bathroom bill” by Thursday afternoon, according to the leader of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

“I have confirmed with a contact very close to the NCAA that its deadline for HB2 is 48 hours from now,” Scott Dupree, the head of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, said, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “If HB2 has not been resolved by that time, the NCAA will have no choice but to move forward without the North Carolina bids.”

“The NCAA has already delayed the bid review process once and has waited as long as it possibly can, and now it must finalize all championship site selections through spring of 2022.”

The NCAA, as it reminded North Carolina last week, is making its determinations on hosts for events from 2018-2022 this week. There was movement last week at the North Carolina statehouse for a compromise on the bill, but that apparently stalled out, the News & Observer reported, though there remain efforts to make progress on a pact.

Should lawmakers not reach an agreement in time, the state’s flagship basketball programs will be without an NCAA tournament home-court advantage that they have often enjoyed. HB2 just this past year moved the first and second rounds out of the state and to South Carolina, where No. 2 seed Duke lost to the seventh-seeded Gamecocks in their home state.

Clearly, there’s much more to consider here than NCAA tournament implications, but it’s another reminder of the economic impact the bill has made in North Carolina. This week, The Associated Press estimated it will cost the state $3.76 billion over a 12-year period.

Baylor’s Freeman to graduate and transfer

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Baylor is losing one of its contributors over the past three seasons.

Al Freeman, a 6-foot-3 guard, will graduate and transfer to another school, the Bears announced Tuesday.

“Al has been a tremendous student-athlete and made great contributions to our program over the last four years, and we’re thrilled that he’s going to complete his degree at Baylor,” Bears coach Scott Drew said in a statement. “He’ll always be part of the Baylor family, and we’ll be rooting for him as he continues his career.”

Freeman, who redshirted his freshman year due to a broken wrist, started 57 games during his career in Waco and averaged 8.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He was a full-time starter as a sophomore, but made just 22 this past season and saw his minutes slashed.

As a graduate transfer, the Charlotte native will be immediately eligible at his next program for his final collegiate season.

Xavier sophomore Edmond Sumner declares for NBA Draft

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Xavier sophomore Edmond Sumner has declared for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent.

“First let me start by saying these three years at Xavier have been the best of my life,” Sumner said in a statement. “I have certainly been presented with some ups and downs but they have only served to make me a stronger person. This decision was very hard for me because of the love I have for X. After weighing my options with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft, fulfilling a lifelong dream. I want to thank Coach Mack and the rest of the staff for believing in me and giving me a chance when no one did! I’ll always be grateful for that. Xavier Nation I will always love you!”

Sumner, a 6-foot-6 point guard with dynamic athleticism and first round potential that averaged 15.0 points, but he is coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered in January. He’s likely to be a second round pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

This is a big loss for the Musketeers, but it’s one that they planned for. After his eruption last season, most expected him to put his name in the draft this season.

Duke freshman Harry Giles III declares for NBA Draft

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Harry Giles III has declared for the NBA Draft after playing just one season at Duke.

“Playing in the NBA has been my goal for as long as I can remember, and I’m so excited to take the next step in that journey,” Giles said. “My time at Duke has been a dream come true. I’ve built so many strong relationships here and I have so many people to thank, from my teammates and coaches to our medical staff and strength coach. I can’t understate how proud I am to be part of the Duke Basketball program forever.”

Giles played in 26 games for the Blue Devils. He started six games and averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story with Giles. At one point considered to be the best player in the loaded Class of 2016, Giles has dealt with a pair of devastating knee injuries already. He underwent a third surgery right before the start of the season and never seemed like he was fully able to get back to being the player he was when he was in high school.

This is the right decision for Giles to make, as there is still some uncertainty regarding the health of his knees. Were his struggles due to the fact that he was tossed right into the middle of a college basketball season after having sat out for 14 straight months, or was this simply a result of knees that no longer allow him to be the player that he used to be?

He might still end up being a first round pick this year. At the very least, he’s make some guaranteed money if he can get into a camp. Maybe returning to school could have helped vault him into the lottery in 2018, but another year like this year would’ve firebombed his draft stock.

“With his uplifting personality and love for the game, Harry Giles has been a joy to coach,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He is only beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be on the basketball court. Harry has an exciting NBA future ahead of him and we are here to fully support him as a member of our brotherhood.”

I know I’m not alone when I say I hope that Giles gets healthy and succeeds in the NBA.