Indiana v Illinois

Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Indiana falls and eight overtime games on Thursday

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Game of the Night: Marist 105, Iona 104 (2OT)

On a night that featured eight games that went to overtime this thriller in New Rochelle took the cake. A Chavaughn Lewis 65-footer as time expired in the first overtime tied the game, with Marist winning by a point when Lewis blocked a Sean Armand shot attempt at the end of the second overtime. Adam Kemp led the way for Marist with 29 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots, and Lamont Jones scored 37 off the bench to pace the Gaels. Iona allowed an opportunity to close the gap at the top of the MAAC slip away, as first-place Niagara lost at Rider.

Important Outcomes 

1. Illinois 74, No. 1 Indiana 72 

This was a win the Fighting Illini, who entered Thursday with a 2-7 record in Big Ten play, needed for their NCAA tournament resume. A Tyler Griffey layup as time expired gave Illinois the win in a game they trailed by as many as 13 in the second half. Indiana still has yet to beat an NCAA tournament-worthy team on the road, and the lack of such a victory could get them in trouble when it comes to landing in the Midwest Region on Selection Sunday.

2. No. 4 Duke 98, N.C. State 85 

In the first of two games the Blue Devils will play against teams whose fans stormed the court after beating Duke, Mike Krzyzewski’s team put together its best half of offense this season. Duke scored 58 first-half points, then held on as Richard Howell (23 points, nine rebounds) attempted to come back in the second half. But Howell fouling out on a flagrant 1 with 8:54 remaining essentially shut the door on the Wolfpack. Mason Plumlee led the Blue Devils with 30 points and nine rebounds, and both Seth Curry (26 points) and Quinn Cook (21) surpassed the 20-point mark as well.

3. Colorado 48, No. 19 Oregon 47 

Illinois wasn’t the only team to pick up a needed resume-building victory. Colorado led just once all night in Eugene: on an Andre Roberson layup with 23 seconds remaining. But all that matters for the Buffaloes is that they were able to get the win, which drops Oregon to 1-3 without point guard Dominic Artis and leaves Arizona alone atop the Pac-12. Roberson (ten points, 13 rebounds) was the lone Colorado player to reach double figures, and E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory scored 14 apiece to lead Oregon.

Other Notable Outcomes 

1. Murray State 79, Belmont 74 

Belmont may still have the best record in the OVC but the Racers made sure that it was understood who the defending champions are. Isaiah Canaan led all scorers with 26 points and hit the three-pointer that gave Murray State the lead for good with 35 seconds to go. Ian Clark led Belmont with 22 points, but the Bruins’ comeback from 16 down in the second half fell short.

2. San Diego 74, BYU 68 

The Cougars had the most damaging loss of the night when it comes to the NCAA tournament, falling by six at San Diego. Tyler Haws (27 points) and Brandon Davies (20) combined to shoot 18-of-31 from the field, but their teammates shot 8-of-31. Johnny Dee scored 19 to lead the victorious Toreros.

3. Texas A&M 70, No. 21 Missouri 68

The Tigers dropped to 0-5 in true road games, losing in College Station on a Fabyon Harris three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining. Harris led the Aggies with 17 points while Missouri once again struggled with turnovers. The Tigers turned the ball over 16 times, which resulted in 22 points for Texas A&M.

Starred

1. G Nate Wolters (South Dakota State) 

Wolters went off on Thursday, scoring 53 points on 17-of-28 shooting to lead the Jackrabbits past Fort Wayne, 80-74. Wolters also grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists. On Saturday Wolters and the Jackrabbits take on an Oakland team led by Travis Bader, who scored 47 (the previous high in college basketball this season) in a win over IUPUI on January 24.

2. F Jamal Olasewere (LIU Brooklyn) 

Olasewere shot 12-of-13 from the field in the Blackbirds’ 81-75 win at Central Connecticut State, scoring 25 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

3. C Adam Kemp (Marist) 

29 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots in the Red Foxes’ 105-104 double overtime win at Iona.

Struggled

1. Central Arkansas

The Bears had a rough night offensively, shooting 31.3% from the field and turning the ball over 20 times in their 72-36 loss at Stephen F. Austin.

2. F Milton Jennings and F Devin Booker (Clemson) 

These two controlled the first meeting between the Tigers and Virginia, combining for 36 points and 20 rebounds. To say the least that didn’t happen tonight as they combined for nine points and 12 rebounds in a 78-41 loss in Charlottesville.

3. Virginia Tech players not named Cadarian Raines or Erick Green

While Raines (14 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots) and Green (29 points) combined to score 43 points, their teammates accounted for just 12 points on 5-of-29 shooting in a 60-55 loss to Maryland.

Top 25 Scores

Illinois 74, No. 1 Indiana 72

No. 4 Duke 98, N.C. State 85

No. 6 Gonzaga 82, Pepperdine 56

Colorado 48, No. 19 Oregon 47

Texas A&M 70, No. 21 Missouri 68

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

Four-star 2017 shooting guard commits to Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams celebrates a play in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP) LOCAL STATIONS OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL; MANDATORY CREDIT
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Recruiting, and on-court results, have picked up at Virginia Tech since Buzz Williams took over as head coach. In his second year at the helm the Hokies won ten conference games, and in reaching the Postseason NIT made their first postseason appearance since 2011.

Thursday night Virginia Tech landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker made his pledge.

The 6-foot-5 Alexander-Walker, who’s ranked 91st in his class by Rivals.com, also took official visits to Maryland and USC before making his pledge to the ACC program. Alexander-Walker attends Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but as a native of Canada plays his grassroots basketball for the Canada Elite program on the Under Armour Association circuit.

Good with either hand, Alexander-Walker can play either on or off the basketball. And that versatility should serve him well in a system that places a high value on “switch-ables,” or players who can fill multiple roles.

The Canada connection paid off for Virginia Tech in the recruitment of Alexander-Walker, with assistant coach Jamie McNeilly being a native of the country himself and having a connection to the Walker family. The Hokies will lose two perimeter players at the end of the 2016-17 season in Devin Wilson and Seth Allen, which will give Alexander-Walker the opportunity to earn minutes as a freshman.

Oakland lands former Oklahoma State guard Clark

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When point guard Stevie Clark began his career at Oklahoma State in 2013, the Top 100 prospect was expected by many to be an impact player for the Cowboys. Things didn’t go as planned however, as off-court issues ultimately led to Clark’s dismissal from the program before his sophomore season. Add in a lawsuit filed by Clark in which he alleged that he was forced by the school to take psychotropic drugs, and it’s safe to say that his time in Stillwater was anything but smooth.

Clark ultimately landed at Arkansas Baptist College, and on Thursday it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that he’s committed to Oakland University to play for head coach Greg Kampe. Clark joins a program with an immediate need at the point, with All-American Kahlil Felder having entered the NBA Draft and hired an agent as well.

The obvious question regarding Clark is whether or not he’s managed to take care of business off the court, and in an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press the Oklahoma native made note of the benefits of getting away from home for college.

Playing in Rochester, far from his home, will serve him well, he said.

“Anywhere away from home is the best thing,” Clark said. “It’s just hard balancing everything being close to home.”

Clark will be one of the options Kampe has to choose from at the point, with incoming freshmen Brailen Neely and Billy Thomas also among the new arrivals, and sophomore Jaevin Cumberland looking to earn more playing time than the 5.6 minutes per contest he averaged as a freshman.

Creighton point guard Watson Jr. to return for senior season

Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (10) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Creighton won 70-56. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Creighton’s chances of moving up the Big East standings and returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 improved a great deal Thursday, as starting point guard Maurice Watson Jr. announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Watson, who began his college career at Boston University, entered his name into the NBA Draft pool without hiring an agent but decided that another year in Omaha would be best for him.

Watson was one of the most impactful transfers in the country last season, as his play at the point was a major factor in the Bluejays winning 20 games and going 9-9 in conference play after being picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll. Watson averaged 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game last season, earning second team All-Big East honors.

With Watson’s return the Bluejays will welcome back three of their top four scorers from last season, with center Geoffrey Groselle being the lone departure. Head coach Greg McDermott adds a talented shooting guard in Marcus Foster, who sat out last season after transferring in from Kansas State. With Watson and Foster working together, Creighton will have a formidable perimeter tandem leading the way in 2016-17 with the likes of forward Cole Huff and guard Isaiah Zierden also being key contributors.

In addition to what Watson can provide in games he’ll also serve as a good mentor for Kaleb Joseph, who will have to sit out next season after transferring in from Syracuse. Joseph, who will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, fell out of the rotation as a sophomore so the year in residency should benefit him as he works towards grabbing the reins in 2017-18.

h/t ESPN.com

UConn, four-star 2017 big man Brown part ways

Brown, Zach
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Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.

The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.

Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.

UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.

UCF lands commitment from transfer Terrell Allen

New UCF men's NCAA college basketball coach Johnny Dawkins speaks at his introductory press conference Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
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Having already landed one transfer in former Michigan guard Aubrey Dawkins (the new head coach’s son), UCF landed a second Thursday afternoon as former Drexel guard Terrell Allen announced that he’ll finish out his college career playing for Johnny Dawkins.

Allen, a CAA All-Rookie Team selection in his lone season at Drexel, announced the news by way of his Twitter account. After sitting out the 2016-17 season per NCAA transfer rules, Allen will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

On a team that struggled throughout the 2015-16 season, winning just six games, Allen averaged 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 32.5 minutes of action per game. The 6-foot-2 point guard finished the season ranked in the top ten in the CAA in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, with his assist tally ranking eighth and his A/T ratio of 1.9 placing him seventh.

With B.J. Taylor entering his junior season and Jeremy Carter-Sheppard joining the ranks this summer, the addition of Allen gives UCF another option at the point for the 2017-18 campaign.