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.

Auburn continues to stockpile talent, adds top 50 prospect in 2017

Bruce Pearl
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Auburn’s hire of Bruce Pearl was almost universally lauded as the first step towards the return of relevance for the Tiger basketball program.

And while the results have yet to shine through on the floor, Pearl is unequivocally stockpiling the kind of talent that will allow him to push for trips to the NCAA tournament and maybe one day contend for a league crown with Kentucky.

The latest step came on Sunday, when Pearl landed a commitment from Chuma Okeke, a top 50 wing prospect out of Georgia.

“He is a versatile wing who can handle and score,” said NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “Coming off of a big July, Okeke could move up the national rankings and Auburn pounced on him right away.”

Okeke joins big man Austin Wiley, a top ten player in the class, and Davion Mitchell, who is likely one of the five best point guards in the country, in what is currently the nation’s best recruiting class in 2017. That’s before you consider that Pearl already has Mustapha Heron, a top 25 prospect, joining the mix this season.

“This group has the makings of a monster recruiting class for Auburn,” Phillips said.

Okeke picked the Tigers over Florida State, Georgia and a number of other programs across the southeast.

VIDEO: Watch Virginia freshman Jay Huff dunk from the free throw line

Tony Bennett
AP Photo/Nell Redmond
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Jay Huff is a member of Tony Bennett’s best recruiting class to date, a 6-foot-11 top 50 recruit from North Carolina.

He also happens to be pretty athletic.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this video that McDonald’s All-American Kyle Guy tweeted out on Sunday night:

Yup, that’s Huff taking off from the foul line to dunk.

Not bad, young fella.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.