Darien Brothers

Late Night Snacks: Richmond knocks off No. 19 VCU and UCLA makes a statement

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Game of the Night 

Richmond 86, No. 19 VCU 74 (OT) 

With the Rams leading by seven and less than a minute remaining in regulation it looked as if Shaka Smart’s team was going to leave the Robins Center as the Atlantic 10’s lone undefeated (in conference play) team. But Chris Mooney’s team had other ideas, and a Darien Brothers three-pointer in the final seconds sent the game to overtime. From there it was all Richmond as they outscored VCU 17-5 in the extra session. Three Richmond starters reached double figures and Kendall Anthony scored 26 off the bench, and Juvonte Reddic led the way for VCU with 20 points and ten rebounds.

Important Outcomes 

1. UCLA 84, No. 6 Arizona 73 

The Bruins went into McKale Center and made a statement, controlling play for much of the 40 minutes. UCLA is now 8-0 when Shabazz Muhammad (23 points) scores 20 points or more, and Larry Drew II outplayed Arizona’s Mark Lyons. Drew II may have scored just seven points to Lyons’ 16 but his nine assists with just one turnover helped keep the Bruins in control of the game.

2. No. 2 Michigan 68, Purdue 53

Purdue shot 7-of-13 from three in the first half, taking a 33-32 lead into the locker room. But the Boilermakers shot 0-of-9 from three in the second half and Michigan took full advantage at Crisler Arena. With Duke’s loss at No. 25 Miami on Wednesday John Beilein’s program may be a win at Illinois away from taking over the top spot in the national polls.

3. No. 10 Gonzaga 83, BYU 63 

Mark Few’s team showed maturity in their first game since losing at the buzzer at Butler on Saturday, using a first half run to put the Cougars away in Spokane. Kelly Olynyk shot 9-of-9 from the field and 8-of-8 from the foul line in scoring 26 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Elias Harris added 25 points and ten rebounds for the Bulldogs, who remain alone atop the WCC standings.

Starred

1. G Travis Bader (Oakland) 

Bader shot 11-of-18 from beyond the arc in scoring 47 points in Oakland’s 89-71 win over IUPUI. Bader’s point total is the most scored by a Division I player this season.

2. F Joel Wright (Texas State) 

Wright scored 37 points (12-of-20 FG) while also tallying six rebounds, five assists and five steals in the Bobcats’ 78-73 win at Idaho.

3. G Erick Green (Virginia Tech) 

Green’s teammates struggled mightily in the Hokies’ 74-58 home loss to Virginia, but how bad would things have been if he didn’t manage to score 35 points and grab nine rebounds?

Struggled

1. G Mark Lyons 

Lyons had the night that many of the folks hesitant to make Arizona a national contender feared. He finished with 16 points but shot 6-of-17 from the field while also racking up five turnovers without an assist.

2. Murray State and Tennessee Tech three-point shooting

The Racers managed to beat Tennessee Tech 47-39 in a game both teams will want to forget offensively. The two teams combined to shoot 4-of-35 from distance with the victorious Racers shooting 1-of-18.

3. F Jarnell Stokes and G Skylar McBee (Tennessee) 

Even with Marshall Henderson going off in the second half of No. 23 Ole Miss’ 62-56 win over the Volunteers, Cuonzo Martin’s team still had a chance to win the game. But when Stokes and McBee combine to go just 2-of-5 from the field (Stokes took three shots) it’s tough for Tennessee to win games against solid competition.

“Night of the Buzzer Beater”

While two more ranked teams fell on Thursday night there were multiple buzzer beaters as well. In Tallahassee Florida State’s Michael Snaer banked in a three-pointer as time expired to give the Seminoles a 60-57 win over Clemson. Not sure if Snaer called “bank” on the release but that doesn’t matter.

Northern Arizona also won a game as time expired as Stallon Saldivar found Mike Dunn on the left baseline, with Dunn hitting the shot to give the Lumberjacks a 67-65 win over Northern Colorado (video courtesy of NAU Athletics, h/t to Jonathan Reed of @bigskybball). The game-winning sequence can be seen at the 1:02 mark of the video below.

Other buzzer beaters include Cole Dickerson’s three in the final seconds of San Francisco’s 75-72 win at Portland, Darien Brothers’ heroics in Richmond and a contested three from Jio Fontan that sent USC’s game at Arizona State to overtime. The Sun Devils would go on to win that game 98-93.

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

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.