Senior center Andrew Smith, who missed No. 11 Butler’s game against Charlotte on Wednesday due to an abdominal injury, has been cleared to return to practice and is a game-time decision for Saturday’s game at Fordham according to a school release.
Smith suffered the injury going after a loose ball in the Bulldogs’ 59-56 win at George Washington last Saturday, and early reports had the 6-8 senior sitting out both of Butler’s games this week.
“Andrew has progressed more quickly than expected,” Butler head coach Brad Stevens said in the release. “Whether or not he’ll play at Fordham will be a game day decision.”
On the season Smith’s averaging 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, connecting on 54.3% of his shots from the field. Without Smith on Wednesday, junior forward Erik Fromm moved into the starting lineup and played well, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
On the season Fromm’s averaging 4.0 points and and 3.1 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game for Butler, who will be a prohibitive favorite to beat Fordham on Saturday whether Smith plays or not. But as seen in Duquesne’s surprising win at Temple on Thursday night, nothing is to be taken for granted in the Atlantic 10.
Butler still has games against Saint Louis, VCU and UMass (the VCU and UMass games are on the road) remaining on the regular season schedule, and they’ll need Smith to be at full strength for those matchups.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Using a hot start in which they jumped out to a 16-2 lead, No. 10 Florida State held on from there as they outlasted No. 12 Louisville for a 73-68 ACC home win.
The Seminoles (18-2, 6-1) led for the entire game as this was a one-point game with under two minutes left with a chance for Louisville to take the lead.
Both teams struggled to find consistent offense as 38.5 percent was the high mark between the two teams.
Freshman Jonathan Isaac was a standout on both ends for the Seminoles as the 6-foot-10 forward displayed his versatility in so many ways. Isaac finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds as its his third consecutive double-double. Dwayne Bacon (16 points) and Terance Mann (15 points) also played well for the Seminoles while Michael Ojo finished with 10 points.
Playing another game without Quentin Snider, Louisville (16-4, 4-3) the Cardinals struggled to open the game and never really recovered in this one. Tony Hicks led Louisville with 16 points and 17 field goal attempts and that usually isn’t a good sign for an offense that is facing a top-1o team on the road.
Mangok Mathiang had a solid outing with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Deng Adel (12 points) and Jaylen Johnson (10 points) also finished in double-figures.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M wiped out a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat Georgia 63-62 on Saturday in one of the season’s odder endings.
The Bulldogs had the final possession trailing by one, but the clock inadvertently stopped with 5.6 seconds remaining. Georgia’s J.J. Frazier dribbled the ball near the top of the key, and thought he had time to pass down low to Yante Maten.
Maten received the pass from Frazier, and officials whistled a foul on the Aggies when Maten attempted a layup. With the clock still stuck at 5.6 seconds, officials used game video to count down Georgia’s final possession, and determined that time had run out before the foul was called on A&M.
Here is the play:
Georgia coach Mark Fox kept his composure afterward but was obviously upset at the outcome.
“Our kid (Frazier) looks up and thinks he has time to make a play, but he doesn’t,” Fox said. “I don’t know who stopped the clock; I’d like to know.”
Afterward A&M officials said a “belt-pack” worn by one of the officials malfunctioned and inadvertently stopped the clock. They were checking further into what happened. The Aggies (10-8, 2-5 Southeastern) snapped a two-game losing streak, while the Bulldogs (12-7, 4-3) have lost two of their last three.
Robert Williams led the Aggies with 18 points and D.J. Hogg followed with 16, while Maten led the Bulldogs with a game-high 19 points.
Central Michigan junior Marcus Keene has been a big story in college basketball this season since he’s become the nation’s leading scorer.
The 5-foot-9 guard had his finest scoring display yet on Saturday as Keene dropped 50 points in a Central Michigan win over Miami (OH) in the MAC. Keene only needed 23 field goal attempts to hit 50, as he was 10-for-15 from three-point range and 15-for-23 overall. He also went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Keene was averaging 28.7 points per game entering Saturday as his previous season-high was 44 points against Montana State. Keene also had 40 in a win over Green Bay.
The last player in a Division I game to score 50 points was South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters when he scored 53 points against IPFW on Feb. 7, 2013.
Oregon junior Dillon Brooks was diagnosed with a sprained left foot on Saturday after the star forward left Thursday’s win over Cal.
There is no timetable for when Brooks will return but a sprain is good news compared to what the injury could have been for Brooks.
The 6-foot-7 Brooks is averaging 13.4 points per game this season as the Ducks look like a much better team with him in the lineup. Brooks missed the first three games of this season with a left foot injury, so that is why there was major concern when Brooks left the Cal game.
Oregon’s faces Stanford at home on Saturday.
No. 9 North Carolina survived a scare from Boston College in Conte Forum on Saturday, winning 90-82 in a game that they led by one or two possessions for much of the second half.
Justin Jackson scored 22 points in the win while Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks combined for 34 points, 14 boards, five assists and three blocks.
Boston College isn’t the pushover that they were last season. The Eagles already have a pair of ACC wins in that building this year and their back court seems to have an axe to grind against the schools that didn’t recruit them. Ky Bowman, a Havelock, N.C. native, and Justin Robinson, a Raleigh native, combined for 51 points and seven assists against North Carolina. They had 43 points in a win over N.C. State and 40 points in a loss at Duke.
Put another way, North Carolina had to show up and play well to win this game. Beating BC isn’t a given this year.
And, frankly, UNC didn’t play all that well. They got lit up by BC’s back court and their stars, Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson, did not play all that well. Jackson finished with 22 points and hit a couple big shots, but he was 6-for-16 from the floor. Berry was more-or-less a non-factor. He hit a dagger three with just over a minute left but finished the afternoon with just nine points and sans an assists.
Maybe I’m making too much of it – and maybe I’m undervaluing the return of Pinson and how that affects who UNC needs to be a playmaker – but this win keeps UNC on pace with Notre Dame for first place in the ACC, and teams that win leagues as tough as the ACC is this season can only do so by winning the games in which they don’t play well.