Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Indiana impresses, No. 4 Duke survives

Leave a comment

Game of the Day: UIC 88, Youngstown State 83 (3OT)

One day after Louisville and Notre Dame went five overtimes the Flames and Penguins went three extra periods in Youngstown. Gary Talton led the way for UIC with 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and five Flames reached double figures in the win. Kendrick Perry scored 29 points to lead Youngstown State, and his three pointer late in the first overtime session tied the score at 63. UIC’s Hayden Humes hit a three-pointer to send the game into the third overtime, with Talton and Daniel Barnes making the plays needed to seal the victory.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 1 Indiana 81, No. 10 Ohio State 68 

The Hoosiers, fresh off of a loss at Illinois on Thursday night, went to Columbus and took control of things almost from the start. The Buckeyes would make a few runs but their lack of offensive weapons proved to be Ohio State’s downfall against Indiana. Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 26 points with Cody Zeller (24 points) and Christian Watford (20) also reaching the 20-point mark. The key for Ohio State in the weeks leading up to the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments: they need guys to step up offensively alongside Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft.

2. No. 4 Duke 62, Boston College 

With Indiana losing this week who will the voters pick to lead the way this week? One option is Duke, and that nearly wasn’t the case as they needed a Mason Plumlee free throw to escape Chestnut Hill win a one-point victory. Plumlee finished with 19 points and ten rebounds and Seth Curry added 18 to lead the Blue Devils, who didn’t arrive in Boston until Sunday morning due to Winter Storm Nemo. Olivier Hanlan (20 points) and Ryan Anderson (17) led the way for the Eagles, who have now lost to both Duke and Miami by one-point margins at home.

3. No. 9 Syracuse 77, St. John’s 58

A routine victory for the Orange, but the big news was the return of senior forward James Southerland. Syracuse’s best perimeter shooter, Southerland’s return gives the Orange a potent offensive weapon that gives point guard Michael Carter-Williams more room in which to operate. Southerland scored 13 in his return and four Syracuse players reached double figures. St. John’s, playing without head coach Steve Lavin due to the passing of his father, was led offensively by JaKarr Sampson (21 points).

Starred

1. G Colt Ryan (Evansville) 

Ryan finished with 33 points (14-of-15 FT), seven steals, four rebounds and four assists in the Purple Aces’ 84-78 overtime win over Drake. In the victory Ryan became the third player in Evansville history to score reach the 2,000-point mark in his career.

2. G Allen Crabbe (California) 

Crabbe was red-hot for the Golden Bears in their 77-69 win at No. 7 Arizona, shooting 12-of-15 from the field and scoring 31 points. Crabbe also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists.

3. G Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado)

Dinwiddie was the biggest reason why the Buffaloes escaped Corvallis with a 72-68 win over Oregon State, scoring 24 points without missing a shot from the field (6-of-6 FG with four three-pointers) or the foul line (8-of-8). Dinwiddie also tallied four assists and three rebounds.

Struggled

1. G Askia Booker (Colorado) 

On the flip side of Dinwiddie’s night was that of Booker, who shot 2-of-14 from the field (0-of-5 3PT) and finished with nine points. To Booker’s credit however, he did grab six rebounds and hand out three assists.

2. James Madison in the first half

The Dukes had a rough go of it in the first half of their 60-48 loss at Drexel, shooting 5-of-18 from the field and 1-of-7 from the foul line on their way to scoring 12 points.

3. G Marvin Jordan and G Ameen Tanksley (Niagara)

With leading scorer Antoine Mason out due to an ankle injury the Purple Eagles really needed these two to step up against rival Canisius. Jordan and Tanksley combined to shoot 2-of-19 (with Jordan going scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting) in the 77-70 loss to the Golden Griffins.

Three Happenings

1. With Seth Curry scoring 18 points in the Blue Devils’ win over Boston College, he and older brother Stephen are now the highest-scoring siblings in NCAA history. The Curry, who have scored 4,493 points, passed the Hansbrough (Tyler and Ben) brothers atop the list.

2. James Southerland wasn’t the only key player to return to the court on Sunday. N.C. State point guard Lorenzo Brown came off the bench to score 15 points, and his pass led to a Scott Wood three-pointer with one second remaining to give the Wolfpack a 58-57 win at Clemson.

3. Minnesota played without senior forward Rodney Williams on Sunday, who injured his shoulder in a collision in practice on Saturday. Illinois would hit 11 three-pointers and limit Minnesota to 38% shooting in the 57-53 victory.

Top 25 Scores

No. 1 Indiana 81, No. 10 Ohio State 68

No. 4 Duke 62, Boston College 61

California 77, No. 7 Arizona 69

No. 9 Syracuse 77, St. John’s 68

Illinois 57, No. 18 Minnesota 53

Other Notable Scores 

Virginia 80, Maryland 69 

Columbia 78, Harvard 63

Marist 69, Loyola (MD) 64

Hartford 60, Stony Brook 55

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

VIDEO: Presbyterian’s Toss for Tots night earns technical foul for charity

Presbyterian Sports Information Dept
1 Comment

Presbyterian College held an cool and unique fundraiser this week.

In a game against Toccoa Falls, the Blue Hose held what will now be an annual Toss for Tots event. It was simple: after the first basket of their game on Thursday night, fans in attendance were asked to throw a stuffed animal onto the court, with every stuffed animal earmarked for a local elementary school.

Presbyterian ate the technical foul for the cause:

In total, 108 stuffed animals were “donated”.

The program had partnered with Bailey Elementary School, where there are 103 students. On Friday, the team delivered every student at the school one of the stuffed animals for Christmas. Head coach Dustin Kerns told NBC Sports that the team spent some times with the kids today as well, reading to the team and putting a smile on their face.

“Proud of our team,” Kerns, who is in his first year with the program, said. The win against Toccoa Falls was the fifth in a row for the Blue Hose, the first time the program has accomplished that since going to the Division I level. They are not 6-5 on the season after winning five games a year ago. “It was fun seeing out program give back.”

Presbyterian Sports Information Dept
Presbyterian Sports Information Dept

Rape charges will not be filed after last year’s incident in Kansas basketball dorm

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Douglas County District Attorney’s office will not file sexual assault charges stemming from a report that a 16-year old girl was raped nearly a year ago in the Kansas basketball dorm.

“After an exhaustive review of all available reports, evidence and testimony, our office has determined there is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a sexual assault occurred,” District Attorney Charles Branson told the Lawrence Journal-World. “Unless additional evidence or reports come to light there is insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed.”

What’s more, a suspect in the investigation was never actually identified, the paper reported. All five witnesses in the rape report were members of the men’s basketball team. The incident allegedly occurred in McCarthy Hall, which is a dorm where 40 Kansas students live, including all members of the men’s basketball team.

No. 8 Kentucky maturing, more challenges ahead for freshmen

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
1 Comment

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coach John Calipari hasn’t hidden his frustration about the learning curve of his latest group of talented freshmen.

And while the No. 8 Wildcats are starting play better, they’re bracing for more challenges ahead.

Kentucky has struggled to put away opponents such as Utah Valley, Vermont, Troy and Harvard, efforts that players and Calipari acknowledge have contributed to a perceived lack of national respect. On the other hand, their lone loss — a 65-61 setback to Kansas — showed their ability to compete with college basketball’s heavyweights.

“It was one of the big games they got to see,” sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel said. “The feeling and high intensity of the game, people watching, the fight in a big game like that, it really started to hit. Some players really started to get rolling off of that.

“We’re starting to get better as a team, individuals are getting better and we’re trending upward and trying to stay on that path.”

Kentucky (8-1) has begun running away from opponents, a promising trend it hopes to continue against upcoming Power Five conference foes.

Saturday’s home game against Virginia Tech (9-1) opens a daunting year-ending stretch for the Wildcats that includes next weekend’s matchup against UCLA in New Orleans; their annual in-state rivalry showdown against Louisville on Dec. 29; and their Southeastern Conference opener against Georgia on New Year’s Eve.

Though Calipari still hopes February will reveal Kentucky’s true strengths, he’s eager to see how the Wildcats stack up against the Atlantic Coast Conference Hokies, who lead the nation in scoring at 96.2 points per game and rank second in 3-point shooting at 47 percent.

“They have three or four guys that can absolutely make 3s,” Calipari said Friday while listing other Tech strengths. “They’re looking for layups and kicking it out for 3s and they’re getting to the line because of it.

“They’re not afraid. They go on the road in big games. Their home games are craziness. This is plugged into our schedule at a time where we need to learn about us, and we will.”

After a busy November without much practice time, Kentucky has welcomed a lighter December schedule that has allowed the Wildcats more time for workouts and to build chemistry.

The Wildcats have a long way to go, but games such as last week’s 93-76 win over Monmouth are encouraging for Kentucky fans.

Besides continuing their solid shooting — the Wildcats rank 22nd at nearly 51 percent — redshirt freshman guard Hamidou Diallo (23 points) and forward PJ Washington (20) posted career scoring highs against Monmouth. Kentucky also succeeded with a smaller lineup and has been effective playing a zone defense, which Calipari disdains but has used because of his team’s length.

“They’re as long as anybody in the country,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said of Kentucky. “We’ll have to work really hard to get the same shots we’ve been getting.”

Kentucky remains short-handed with freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) and guard Jemarl Baker (knee) sidelined by injuries. But the Wildcats appear to be developing depth.

They faced Monmouth without sophomore forward Sacha Killeya-Jones (sprained ankle) before starting guard Quade Green left in the second half after being poked in the eye. Both will be available against the Hokies and return knowing that the bench can fill the void after it combined for a season-high 27 points.

Granted, Monmouth is not a barometer for success against the likes of Tech, UCLA or Louisville. But considering Kentucky’s early struggles, any growth is welcome.

“We think highly of ourselves as a team,” Gabriel added. “I think we deserve more credit than we’re getting, so we’re going to go out there and try to earn it.”

Arizona State rising fast beyond the desert

David Becker/Getty Images
Leave a comment

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State has taken college basketball by devilish hurricane, running and gunning its way into the national consciousness while igniting an often-blase local fan base.

Even the Sun Devils’ rivals down south have taken notice.

“Bobby Hurley, he’s en route right now to be one of the coaches talked about for national coach of the year because of what he’s done with their program,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said of the coach of his biggest rival. “He’s played a tough nonconference schedule. It shows some guts to play who they play. Their results speak really clearly. They might be underrated where they’re at right now.”

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, at least not yet.

The Sun Devils were expected to be better in Hurley’s third season in the desert. They returned three senior guards and finally got them some front-court help with the addition of Romello White and De’Quon Lake.

Kodi Justice, ASU’s 6-foot-5 guard, would no longer have to guard 7-footers. Arizona State would be better defensively and on the glass. The guards would not have to carry the entire load.

Even so, the Sun Devils were projected to be at the middle of the Pac-12, picked to finish sixth.

The big jump was supposed to be next season, when a trio of transfers will be eligible and could possibly lead the Sun Devils to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014.

This breakneck band of Devils spun the narrative forward a year early.

Playing with a confidence bordering on cocky and with an offensive freedom afforded them by their coach, the Sun Devils have pushed their way into the national spotlight.

They made a blip by beating Xavier, No. 15 at the time but now No. 10 in the AP Top 25 . Blew the Musketeers away, actually, turning a 15-point first-half deficit into a 102-86 rout with an onslaught of fast breaks and 3-pointers.

Arizona State next moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2008-09, coming in at No. 20 after the win over Xavier. The Sun Devils climbed four spots the next week.

The catapult launched last Sunday: Arizona State 95, No. 2 Kansas 85. At Allen Fieldhouse.

One of the biggest wins in program history led to another bit of history: A No. 5 ranking this week, ASU’s highest since reaching No. 3 in 1980-81. The Sun Devils even garnered the first No. 1 votes as a program. Five of ’em, actually.

Now Arizona State is 9-0 and being mentioned as a possible national-title contender. Yeah, really.

“I knew the success was going to be better, but you don’t expect necessarily when you look at a schedule to run the table up to this point, and beat the type of teams we’ve beaten,” Hurley said. “So you just appreciate it and then you kind of move on and get ready for the next battle.”

Arizona State’s success starts with its quartet of fearless guards, turning Arizona State into “Guard U.”

With carte blanche from Hurley to shoot from anywhere at almost any time, they’ve gone from carrying the load last season to ferrying the Sun Devils closer to college basketball’s upper echelon.

Tra Holder has transformed himself from steady freshman to unquestioned, sometimes nasty senior floor leader. He scored 40 points against Xavier and leads Arizona State with 21.2 points per game. He also grabs 5.6 rebounds, dishes out 5.2 assists and won consecutive Pac-12 player of the week honors, a first by a Sun Devil since James Harden in 2008.

Shannon Evans II followed Hurley from Buffalo, had to sit out a season as a transfer and was solid as a junior, averaging 15 points per game. The 6-1 guard had become go-to guy 1-A this season, second on the team with 19 points while matching Holder in assists. Big shots? He’s go those, too, including a clutch 3 to kill a Kansas rally in one of the loudest atmospheres in the game.

Justice plays with Pete Maravichian flair, has a range that seems to extend to the opposing team’s free-throw line.

Then there’s Remy Martin. The freshman guard is more spiced rum than cognac, playing with a confidence and intensity well beyond his years.

Martin treats irritation by the opposing team’s point guard as the highest honor, often nodding his bouncy hair in approval when he officially finds his way under their skin. He was the spark off the bench against Kansas, finishing with 21 points and five steals.

“They are now freed up to be who they are more,” Hurley said. “I think they would have shown that on a more regular basis last year if I had done my job a little better and sooner and gotten them some help.”

That help is here and the Sun Devils are running and gunning with it.

Follow John Marshall on Twitter @jmarshallap

Oklahoma State dismisses two players

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Leave a comment

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State has dismissed junior Davon Dillard and freshman Zack Dawson from the team for failing to meet unspecified standards set by the program.

Coach Mike Boynton says he could not “make compromises in our core values when it comes to individual players.” Dillard and Dawson were suspended before the season for reasons the school has not disclosed. Dawson missed one game and Dillard missed the first five.

Oklahoma State (7-2) faces No. 19 Florida State (9-0) in Sunrise, Florida, on Saturday.