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Late Night Snacks: Statements made on Monday

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Another Big Monday has come and gone with the standard Big 12 and Big East games on tap. Some close match-ups and statements came with the territory. It’s Late Night Snacks.

Game of the night

No. 9 Syracuse 63, No. 25 Notre Dame 47 – The Orange were looking for a win after two-straight losses. They got a solid game from C.J. Fair (below) and shook off a bit of a sluggish offensive start to keep the Fighting Irish at bay in the second half. They never led by less than eight in the second half. Notre Dame has hit a bit of a rough stretch since the win over a ranked Cincinnati team on Jan. 7.

Games of note

Iowa State 83, Oklahoma 64 – This could’ve been a statement game for the Sooners on the road. Instead it was a game that showed the world that Will Clyburn can hoop. He had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the victory.

No. 23 Pittsburgh 56, Seton Hall 46 – This was close one until Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin went down with a sprained ankle. He would return and had the best game of any player on the court (below), but injuries and bad luck keep hampering the Pirates. Pittsburgh got big games from Steven Adams (below) and Lamar Patterson in the victory.

Alcorn State 78, Grambling State 53 – Your weekly update on the only winless team in Division I men’s college basketball. They couldn’t get the first victory of the season, this one a road loss in Lorman, Miss. The loss makes the Tigers 0-20 overall.

Starred 

Jerrelle Benimon, Towson – The Georgetown transfer who is averaging 16.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game for the Tigers had himself another game in a win over UNC-Wilmington. The junior finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

C.J. Fair, Syracuse – In a win the Orange needed to break a small losing streak, Fair showed the talent that he hasn’t been given credit for this year with 18 points and 10 boards in the win over Notre Dame.

Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall – Edwin has been the man who has steadied (or at least tried to steady) the rough season for the Pirates. He had 23 points on 43.8-percent shooting at five steals in the loss at Pittsburgh.

Steven Adams, Pittsburgh – In the same game as Edwin, Adams cleaned glass. The freshman from New Zealand finished with eight points and 15 rebounds in the win.

Struggled

Romero Osby, Oklahoma – Osby has been having a great year for the Sooners, avearging 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. Monday night didn’t help that. He finished with six points and 6 rebounds on 2-of-10 shooting in loss to Iowa State.

Ben Averkamp, Loyola (Chicago) – Averkamp averages 15.6 points per game for the Ramblers. He clocked out Monday night with only eight points on 2-of-6 shooting a 62-59 loss to Wright State.

Stuffing the stat sheet

Lazabian Jackson, Arkansas-Pine Bluff – The Golden Lions’ senior went for 20 points, five rebounds and five steals (and six turnovers) in a 76-67 victory at Alabama A&M. UAPB is 8-2 in the SWAC, but aren’t eligible for the postseason this year due to low APR scores.

Another solid night to begin the week. Ready to the week ahead. It’s only going to get better.

 Follow David on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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.