Will Sheehey

No. 2 Indiana survives Northwestern, but bench play is still a concern

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When talk begins about how the Big Ten is the nation’s toughest conference, Northwestern doesn’t typically come up.

Sunday afternoon, though, the Wildcats were very much so in the conversation, giving Indiana a road test before ultimately falling to the Hoosiers, 67-59, in Evanston, Ill.

Indiana had little trouble with the Wildcats in the first half, leading at the break by 14 points, 31-17. Christian Watford came out aggressive from the opening tip, knocking down a three-pointer on the Hoosiers’ first possession.

But Northwestern’s zone began to take hold in the second half. The Wildcats extended out well away from the basket and, for an eight-minute stretch over the course of the middle of the second, Indiana was held without a field goal.

In that time, Northwestern ripped off a 14-4 run. Integral to that run was the Wildcats spreading the ball around. Four different players scored during that stretch.

Northwestern pulled the game to as close as five points with just over 90 seconds remaining, but a Jordan Hulls floater in the lane pushed the Indiana lead back to seven points.

But one enduring point of emphasis for the Hoosiers is the play of their bench.

Will Sheehey came into Sunday’s game having not scored in the past two games, going a combined 0-of-7 from the floor in 33 minutes. He broke that drought with six points and four rebounds, but that is still off his season average of 10.5 points per game.

Outside of Sheehey, guard Remy Abell went scoreless for a second straight game vs. Northwestern. He now has one combined point in his last three games. Jeremy Hollowell also went scoreless.

Against deeper teams in Big Ten play, Indiana will need more from Sheehey, Abell, and Hollowell.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.