Pittsburgh v Louisville

Late Night Snacks: Louisville snaps the losing streak, Grambling stays winless

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A decent slate of games on Monday night. Three Top 25 teams, a full slate of SWAC and MEAC games and the premiere teams in the Big 12 and Big East pull out wins. Enjoy to briefing, it’s Late Night Snacks.

Game of the night

No. 13 Louisville 64, Pittsburgh 61 – The Cardinals hadn’t won since being ranked no. 1. Pittsburgh has been surprisingly good over the past few weeks. It was an ugly game, but the Panthers going 3-for-12 from the free throw line and Louisville hitting 13-of-17 from the same place turned out to be the difference.

Games of note

No. 2 Kansas 61, West Virginia 56 – In the first-ever meeting between the two schools, the Jayhawks got out to an early lead thanks to offensive struggles by the Mountaineers, which earned Aaric Murray an early benching from coach Bob Huggins. WVU mounted a late charge, but it wasn’t enough.

No. 25 Marquette 63, South Florida 50 – Well, this time, no one had to deal with any bats, so things were comfortable. Vander Blue had a huge night (see below) and Marquette cruised late to keep itself ranked for another day.

Mississippi Valley State 65, Grambling State 50 – This might be the Tigers best chance at a win all season, playing a two-win Delta Devils team. It just wasn’t to be. Grambling shot 42.9-percent, but turned the ball over 20 times.

Starred

Vander Blue, Marquette – It was one of those nights that Blue couldn’t miss. Blue was 13-for-20 from the field for 30 points in the Golden Eagles win. Let’s just say it…. YOU’RE MY BOY, BLUE!

Gorgui Dieng, Louisville – Finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds as the Cardinals got back into the win column. He also hit two free throws with less than a minute left to help seal the win at home.

Jeff Withey, Kansas – He had another solid night and has proven to be the most consistent player for the Jayhawks. The fifth-year senior finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, including one that preserved a five-point lead late in the game.

Damien Lee, Drexel – There was no Franz Massanet magic on Monday night, with the Dragons falling to Delawar 66-64, but Lee poured in almost half their points with 30 in the loss.

Kevin Mays, Maryland-Eastern Shore – The Hawks lost at Bethune-Cookman 58-57, but Mays provided the silver lining for the one-win UMES with 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Struggled

Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, South Florida – He averages 10.3 points per game, he scored three in the loss at Marquette. Got to do more than that to get a win in Milwaukee.

Stuffing the stat sheet

Devon Saddler, Kyle Anderson and Jarvis Threatt, Delaware – The trio did their part to wear out the stat guy in a close win, 66-64 over Drexel. They combined for 37 points, 19 rebounds and 16 assists for the Blue Hens.

One night of good basketball will give way to a better one tomorrow night. Have a good night, folks.

David Harten is the founder of The Backboard Chronicles. Follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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

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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.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.