Alex Len, Mason Plumlee, Quinn Cook

Late Night Snacks: Duke loses; Kansas dances; Oregon lucks out

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Game of the Night

Maryland 83, No. 2 Duke 81: This win meant so much to Mark Turgeon, it apparently got a little dusty up in the postgame press conference. It meant so much to Maryland fans, they attempted to destroy their own campus.

Joking aside, this was a big win for the Terps. Potentially season-saving. Alex Len outplayed Mason Plumlee, and Maryland as a team somehow survived a vintage Seth Curry shooting night. With Virginia failing to seize the day in a loss at UNC today, there’s still room for a hungry team to move up in the ACC.

Meaningful Results

No. 14 Kansas 73, Texas 47: We all remember Kansas’ three-game losing streak. Well, it’s definitively over, with the Jayhawks swamping K-State and Texas at home, and seeming a bit more relaxed. Relaxed enough to put out absolutely bat-poo insane gifs of themselves in bizarre outfits dancing in the locker room.

source:

That… that has to be some kind of NCAA violation. Right?

No. 23 Oregon 79, Washington State 77 (OT): The Cougars had this thing tied up. E.J. Singler was bringing the ball up the floor in the extra period, ready to try for a game-winner with 3.8 seconds to go. Then, in the fog of battle that strikes so many college-age players, WSU’s Dexter Kernich-Drew – a sophomore from Australia – fouled him intentionally. Singler sank the free throws, and Oregon avoided a possible resume-killing loss in Pullman. That wasn’t the only wacky moment from the game. Oregon center Tony Woods got tossed in the first half for elbowing Brock Motum in the head. At this point, everyone involved is probably just glad this game is in the history books.

N0. 10 Kansas State 81, Baylor 61: The Wildcats looked sharp in this easy win over a team once considered to be a serious Big 12 contender. Bruce Weber has some dangerous parts at his disposal, and when Angel Rodriguez is on, as he was tonight, the Wildcat machine is sharp and on-target. It may be time for K-State to seize their first-ever Big 12 title.

No. 24 Colorado State 89, Air Force 86: Huge game for Air Force cadet Michael Lyons. He scored 45, but the Rams stayed in the hunt for the MWC title, overcoming Lyons’ incredible individual effort with all five starters in double figures.

N0. 19 New Mexico 60, Boise State 50: The Lobos stayed one step ahead of the Rams, surviving a feisty group of Broncs to win again in the Pit, and stay a half-game ahead of CSU.

Starred

Michael Lyons, Air Force: Can’t argue with 45 points, though the paucity of the rest of his stat line (two rebounds, no assists, two turnovers) probably isn’t ideal.

Royce Woolridge, Washington State: His team lost, but Woolridge had a career night, scoring 36 points to go with five assists and three steals. The talented sophomore will give Ken Bone something to build on as he attempts to get the Cougars back into the top echelon of the Pac-12.

The Memphis Tigers: Josh Pastner’s squad is back in the national spotlight, sporting an 11-0 record in C-USA after downing Marshall in Huntington. Adonis Thomas was big in this one, with 23 points and 10 boards.

Struggled

Eli Carter, Rutgers:

The Scarlet Knights are 4-9 in league play, and nobody likes to see an athlete get hurt. Very unfortunate news.

Maryland: Yeah, they won, but 26 turnovers? Ouch. That will get you an L more often than it will a W.

The Longhorns: Texas had some bad numbers against Kansas: 21.8 percent from the floor, 9.5 percent from deep, and 65.6 percent from the line. They must have used some kind of quantum math to somehow turn that into 47 points.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

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.