Indiana v Ohio State

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

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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

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
Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP
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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
Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP
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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.