Virginia Tech North Carolina Basketball

Late Afternoon Snacks: When two halves just aren’t enough

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Game of the Day

North Carolina 72, Virginia Tech 60 (OT): Earlier this week, I hinted that perhaps Virginia Tech could win a few more games if Erick Green got more help from his friends. Maybe not. Four Tech players were in double figures, and Green (16 points) contributed his second-lowest point total of the season. That was enough to get the Hokies to overtime, but Marcus Paige scored eight of his 19 points in the extra period. James Michael McAdoo led all scorers with 22 points, and chipped in 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season.

Meaningful Results

Murray State 75, Austin Peay 68 (OT): The Peay had Murray State and all-everything Isaiah Canaan on the ropes for much of this one, but couldn’t hash things out in OT. Canaan ended up with 19 points, 8 rebounds and three assists in the full 45 minutes of play, and the Racers stayed atop the OVC’s West division with a 6-2 league record.

Notre Dame 79, DePaul 71 (OT): Jack Cooley went for 26 and 16 in this one, but the Blue Demons forced OT, much to their own eventual chagrin. DePaul scored all of one point in the extra period.

Pittsburgh 65, No. 6 Syracuse 55: I was going to make this one the Game of the Day so far, but the Twitterati informed me it just wasn’t that big of a deal.

And it didn’t even go to overtime. So, meh, obviously.

No. 5 Duke 79, Florida State 60: Duke might not be the consensus best team in the nation, or even the ACC, but they took care of Florida State easily, with four players in double figures, led by 21 points from Seth Curry.

Games of the Night

6:00 Kansas State/Oklahoma (ESPN2)
6:00 Kentucky/Texas A&M (ESPN)
6:00 Temple/St. Joe’s (CBS Sports)
7:00 Ole Miss/Florida (ESPNU)
7:00  Ohio State/Nebraska (Big Ten)
7:00 Wyoming/Colorado State
8:00 Nevada/New Mexico (NBC Sports)
8:00 Baylor/Iowa State (ESPN2)
9:00 Michigan/Indiana (ESPN)
9:00 UNLV/Boise State
9:00 Arizona State/Washington (ESPNU)
10:00 Arizona/Washington State (Pac-12)

No. 10 Gonzaga outlasts No. 18 UConn despite late offensive struggles

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No. 10 Gonzaga survived a furious rally from No. 18 UConn to win the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis, 73-70.

The Zags were up by as much as 21 points early in the second half, leading 48-27, but UConn slowly chipped away at the lead. Kyle Wiltjer led four players in double-figures with 17 points while Eric McClellan added 15 points, making a number of key plays in the second half when it looked like the Zags were in danger of giving away the lead.

As good as Gonzaga looked in the first 22 minutes of this game — and they looked really, really good — the second half exposed the concerns that many had with this group entering the season. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who both shot around 40 percent from beyond the arc and started for four years, graduated, meaning that Gonzaga’s point guard situation is, more or less, Josh Perkins.

Perkins was terrific in the second half of a loss to Texas A&M on Thursday. He played 17 foul-plagued minutes against UConn. When UConn’s defense ratcheted up during the second half, Gonzaga struggled finding a way to consistently get good shots on the offensive end. Part of that was due to ineffective point guard play and part of it was a result of not really having anyone on the offensive end that can create a look on their own. As skilled as Wiltjer is, his impact can be limited when pick-and-pop actions aren’t working and he’s getting doubled in the post.

Perkins is talented, but this is essentially his first season of college basketball; he was a medical redshirt last season after breaking his jaw last November. There are going to be ups-and-downs, and that’s problematic on a team where he is essentially the only point guard on the roster.

The good news?

Gonzaga beat a good UConn team on a day when their best players struggled in crunch-time. It was McClellan and Kyle Dranginis that made the big plays down the stretch, not the big names on the Gonzaga roster.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady ‘awake, alert’ after getting stretchered off court

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Wichita State big man Anton Grady was stretchered off of the floor in the second half of a loss to Alabama after a nasty collision with Dazon Ingram.

The video can be seen above. There was nothing malicious about the way that Grady was injured. When he turned to run up the floor after missing a shot in the lane, he went face first into Ingram’s shoulder. He neck bent in an awkward directions and, after stumbling a few steps, he laid motionless on the floor.

It took 10 minutes for the training staff to strap Grady to a backboard and wheel him out of the arena.

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A Wichita State spokesman told that Grady was taken to a local trauma center for evaluation and that he is “awake, alert and is answering questions appropriately”.

We will have more updates as they come available.

From a basketball perspective, the No. 20 Shockers lost their second game in a row and are now 2-3 on the season.

While for some the Shockers’ résumé is up for questioning following losses to USC and Alabama, two teams projected to finish in the bottom half of their respective leagues, the team’s health is the biggest concern.

Fred VanVleet has been dealing with a hamstring issue since the season began, and an ankle injury limited him in a loss at Tulsa earlier this month. He won’t play again until at least Dec. 5th. and who knows when he’ll be back to full strength. The same can be said for back up point guard and freshman Landry Shamet, who underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Their injuries have led to even more being asked of senior guard Ron Baker, and the loss of Grady for any significant amount of time certainly isn’t going to help matters..

These early-season losses won’t help Wichita State when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but it’s important to make note of the circumstances surrounding those defeats. To be shorthanded, with one of the absent players ranking among the nation’s best point guards, has an impact that has to be accounted for when evaluating Wichita State. The Shockers will add Conner Frankamp in mid-December, which will help them on the perimeter.

But with their rotation currently being in flux, it’s tough to make any definitive statements on what Wichita State will have to do in order to make another trip to the NCAA tournament. At this point Gregg Marshall and his staff will look for other contributors, one of whom being Markis McDuffie (14 points, seven rebounds vs. Alabama), to emerge and show themselves capable of picking up the slack.