Reggie Johnson

Reggie Johnson returns in No. 25 Miami’s 27-point trouncing of No. 1 Duke

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Miami center Reggie Johnson entered Wednesday’s game against No. 1 Duke at the 14:17 mark of the first half to a crowd chanting his name.

His unexpected return to the Hurricanes’ lineup after missing eight games with a broken thumb might not bring instant production from the 6-10, 292-pound senior, but if Wednesday’s energy and effort were any indication, his return has this team reinvigorated and ready for a run at an ACC title.

Energy and hot shooting from No. 25 Miami sunk Duke out of the gate, with the Hurricanes ripping off a 25-1 first-half run on their way to a dominating 90-63 win over the Blue Devils at BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.

The backcourt combination of Durand Scott and Shane Larkin was too much for Duke in the first half. Scott scored 15 first-half points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and Larkin added nine, extending the Duke defense away from the basket with strong shooting from three-point range.

Scott finished with 25 points and Larkin had 18.

Senior Kenny Kadji did his part to pick apart Duke’s defense as well, scoring 22 points on the night, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and a layup, plus the foul that extended Miami’s lead to 23 points with 2:54 to play in the first.

Duke worked to get open shots in the first half, but could not convert. The Blue Devils shot just 8-of-36 (22 percent) from the field in the first half, helping to spur Miami’s transition game and allowing Scott and Larkin to lead the break.

The Blue Devils were once again without Ryan Kelly, who continues to be sidelines with a lingering foot injury. A stalling offense could likely have been helped along by his

Miami came out with the same intensity in the second half and never relented. Duke cycled in players from its bench looking for an energy boost, including Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee.

Murphy was one of the few bright spots for Duke Wednesday night, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. Quinn Cook, Seth Curry, and Tyler Thornton, expected to all be major contributors, combined to shoot 1-of-29 on the night. That abysmal three percent outing was only amplified by Kelly’s absence.

The win keeps Miami undefeated in the ACC and improves its conference record to 5-0. The Hurricanes now have a two-game lead on Duke and a 1.5-game lead on NC State.

Miami moves on to play Florida State and Virginia Tech, meaning they could conceivably enter its Feb. 2 matchup with NC State at 7-0.

The Duke loss is one of the worst in recent memory for a No. 1 team. In 2004, No. 1 Wake Forest lost to Illinois, 91-73. Also in 2004, No. 1 St. Joseph’s lost to Xavier, 87-67.

The loss is the third-worst ever for a team ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

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

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

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Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.