Kenny Kadji

Late Night Snacks: No. 3 Miami survives, No. 20 Wisconsin rolls

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Game of the Day: James Madison 72, Delaware 71 

The Blue Hens entered Sunday’s game against JMU with a chance to pull within a game of first-place Northeastern (in the loss column) in the CAA, but a lob from Devon Moore to Andre Nation with less than a second remaining gave James Madison the win in Newark. As a result of the win JMU is now tied for second with Towson (10-5), and with the Tigers banned from postseason play due to their APR score the Dukes lead the race for the two-seed in next month’s conference tournament. Delaware’s Devon Saddler led all scorers with 23 points, while Moore and Rayshawn Goins paced JMU with 19 apiece.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 3 Miami 45, Clemson 43

Sometimes teams simply have to gut out wins, especially on the road, and that was the case for the Hurricanes as they scored seven of the game’s final eight points to win at Clemson. A Kenny Kadji three-pointer in the final minute gave Miami the lead for good, and they’re now 12-0 in the ACC. Three games up on No. 2 Duke with six conference games remaining, Miami is in excellent position to win their first-ever ACC regular season title. Kadji finished with 12 points to lead the Hurricanes, and Jordan Roper led the Tigers with a game-high 19. But Clemson shot just 30.4% from the field, which left the door open for a Miami comeback.

2. No. 20 Wisconsin 71, No. 13 Ohio State 49 

This one was ugly from the start for the Buckeyes, who shot 37.5% from the field and 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. It didn’t help matters that they were unable to slow down Wisconsin on the other end, as the Badgers shot 52.7% on the afternoon. Ben Brust and Jared Berggren scored 15 apiece to lead four Badgers in double figures, and Bo Ryan’s swing offense resulted in Wisconsin shooting 22-of-36 inside the three-point arc. Deshaun Thomas scored 18 to lead all scorers but outside of Sam Thompson (ten points) the other Buckeyes struggled mightily on offense.

3. Iowa 72, Minnesota 51 

With 12:57 remaining in the first half Minnesota led 21-5 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It all went downhill from there, as Iowa stormed back and left no doubt by the end of the game. Andre Hollins scored just three points and Rodney Williams went scoreless in ten minutes of action for Minnesota, who is now tied with the Hawkeyes and Illinois for sixth in the Big Ten. The question for Iowa is whether or not they can climb back into the NCAA tournament conversation, but Fran McCaffery’s team has some work to do given their poor non-conference strength of schedule ranking (323).

Starred

1. G Trey Burke (Michigan) 

29 points (9-of-16 FG), five assists and three rebounds (without a turnover) in the Wolverines’ 79-71 win over Penn State.

2. G Allen Crabbe (California) 

Things got a bit heated between Crabbe and head coach Mike Montgomery (h/t @Stephen_Nelson) early in the second half but the junior finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and five steals in the Golden Bears’ 76-68 win over USC. For his part Crabbe offered the following in the postgame press conference:

3. F Stephen Lumpkins (American) 

Lumpkins played 42 of a possible 45 minutes in the Eagles’ 64-61 overtime win over Holy Cross, accounting for 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.

Struggled

1. South Florida

The Bulls haven’t fared well this season after getting to the NCAA tournament in 2012. Now 1-12 in Big East play, the Bulls shot 24.5% from the field in their 59-41 loss to No. 12 Louisville. USF finished the game with more turnovers (16) than field goals (13).

2. Minnesota 

The Golden Gophers hit six of their first nine shots and led Iowa 21-5. For the remainder of the game Minnesota shot 11-of-38, losing a game they led by 16 at one points by 21 (72-51).

3. Northwestern

The Wildcats nearly established a new record for fewest points scored in a game during Bill Carmody’s tenure but got going late in their 62-41 loss to Illinois. Northwestern shot 25% from the field and attempted 27 three-pointers, making five. And just like South Florida, Northwestern’s turnovers (14) beat out their made field goals (12).

Three Facts 

1. Wichita State picked up a big win, 68-67 at Illinois State, to take over sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley. A Cleanthony Early three-pointer capped an 8-0 rally that began with a flagrant 1 called on Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael with 41.2 seconds remaining.

2. Niagara was once again without the services of leading scorer Antoine Mason (ankle) but point guard Juan’ya Green made up for his absence, scoring 18 points to lead the Purple Eagles to a 60-56 win at Manhattan. The win keeps Niagara alone atop the MAAC standings, and with Rider’s win over Marist later in the day Rider is almost guaranteed of not having to play in the first round of next month’s conference tournament (the bottom four teams play in the first round).

3. No. 9 Arizona was too reliant on the three-pointer, attempting 22 of their 53 shots from beyond the arc (making six), but thanks to some big plays late from seniors Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill the Wildcats held off Utah 68-64 in Salt Lake City. Jarred DuBois led Utah with 16 points, but it was another case of “close but no cigar” for a team that’s played better than their 11-14 record would indicate.

Video James Madison’s game-winner at Delaware (at the 2:05 mark)

Top 25 Scores 

No. 3 Miami 45, Clemson 43
No. 4 Michigan 79, Penn State 71
No. 9 Arizona 68, Utah 64
No. 12 Louisville 59, South Florida 41
No. 20 Wisconsin 71, No. 13 Ohio State 49

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

Before he won an Academy Award, Mahershala Ali played at Saint Mary’s

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  Actor Mahershala Ali accepts Best Supporting Actor for 'Moonlight' onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Mahershala Ali won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in the film ‘Moonlight’ on Sunday night.

How does that tie into college basketball?

It’s simple: Ali played college basketball for four years at Saint Mary’s, from 1992-1996.

Now, this was before Saint Mary’s turned into the Saint Mary’s that Randy Bennett has built. At the time, Ernie Kent was the program’s head coach, and the teams that Ali — whose used his given last name of Gilmore at the time, although he was already using the shortened version of his first name, Mahershalalhashbaz — played on weren’t really all that good. They finished under .500 in the WCC three of the four season, finding a way to finish in a tie for second place in his junior year.

As a senior, Ali averaged 7.0 points for the Gaels.

This would probably make Ali the most famous player that Kent has ever coached. He’s more famous than Aaron Brooks, who had about two good NBA seasons, and he’s definitely more famous than Luke Ridnour, who is best known either for getting traded four times in a week or being name-dropped in a song by the rapper Wale, who bragged about being able to turn ‘Ducks into Bucks [like] Luke Ridnour.’

 

VIDEO: Tom Izzo’s touching senior day tribute to Eron Harris

EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY 26: Eron Harris #14 of the Michigan State Spartans kisses the midcourt logo on senior day during the second half of the college basketball game against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Breslin Center on February 26, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
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Eron Harris suffered a career-ending knee injury in a game at Purdue earlier this month, meaning that he would not be able to take the floor for his Senior Day.

Tom Izzo made sure to rectify that, as he called a timeout with just 12 seconds left in Michigan State’s win over No. 16 Wisconsin on Sunday, giving Harris a chance to go out to the center of the court, get a standing ovation and give the Spartan logo a smooch.

He was also greeted by the Wisconsin team. All around great moment:

Nick Ward-led Michigan State beats No. 16 Wisconsin 84-74

EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY 26: Nick Ward #44 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates during a game against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half at the Breslin Center on February 26, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Nick Ward had 22 points and nine rebounds, Miles Bridges had 17 points and Matt McQuaid added a season-high 15 to help Michigan State beat No. 16 Wisconsin 84-74 on Sunday.

The Spartans (18-11, 10-6 Big Ten) have won six of their last eight games, moving them into a third-place tie in the conference and perhaps sealing their spot in a 20th straight NCAA Tournament.

The Badgers (22-7, 11-5) have lost four of five and lost a chance to pull into a first-place tie with No. 14 Purdue.

Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes scored 22 points, Bronson Koenig had 17 and Zak Showalter added 15. Ethan Happ fouled out with eight points, more than six points below his average for the Badgers.

Michigan State went on an 11-1 run midway through the second half, building a 12-point lead that it was able to maintain unlike a big lead in the first half.

In the first half, the Spartans led 36-23 only to allow the Badgers to come back with a 15-4 run to pull within a point at halftime.

Michigan State’s Cassius Winston had 10 points and eight assists and Joshua Langford had nine points.

In the last game of the season at Breslin Center, senior guard Eron Harris checked in late in the game a little more than a week after he had a season-ending knee injury. Harris, with a brace on his right knee, went to center court and kissed the Spartan logo to follow a senior tradition Shawn Respert started in 1995.

BIG PICTURE

Wisconsin: The Badgers have been shooting poorly and it is catching up with them. They were held to 43.1 percent shooting against Michigan State, a ninth straight game of connecting on 44 percent or fewer of their shots. They made 13 of 25 free throws at Michigan State after shooting 67 and 57 percent from the line the previous two games.

Michigan State: The Spartans are surging at the right time and are gaining confidence perhaps allowing them to position themselves for better seeding at the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

POLL IMPLICATONS

With Wisconsin’s losses at Michigan State and Ohio State, the Badgers will likely plummet from No. 16 in The Associated Press poll on Monday.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: The Badgers end the regular season at home, hosting Iowa on Thursday night and Minnesota on Sunday.

Michigan State: The Spartans close on the road, playing Illinois on Wednesday night and No. 24 Maryland on Saturday.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Update: Creighton’s Watson turns himself into police

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31: Injured guard Maurice Watson Jr. of the Creighton Bluejays looks on during the game against the Butler Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse on January 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Creighton defeated Butler 76-67. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Update: Later Sunday, Watson turned himself into the Douglas County Jail, a law enforcement official told the Omaha World-Herald. Watson’s attorney told the paper that Watson was driving back to Omaha from his native Philadelphia and was slowed by the snowstorm that hit parts of the country this week.

Law enforcement has been unable to arrest Creighton guard Maurice Watson since a warrant for his arrest on the charge first-degree sexual assault was issued last week, according to police.

“The U.S. Marshals Service and the Omaha Police Fugitive Unit continue to look for Mr. Watson,” Omaha Police said in a statement Sunday. “At this point in time, Mr. Watson is dodging law enforcement efforts to arrest him.

“Until he is located and arrested by law enforcement, or turns himself in, the entire Douglas County Court system is operating off of Mr. Watson’s time frame.

“Neither OPD nor the Douglas County Attorney’s Office is part of any specific arrangements for Mr. Watson to turn himself in.”

Watson was accused by a 19-year-old acquaintance, who reportedly is also a Creighton student, of sexual assault in the bathroom of an Omaha residence around 3 a.m. on Feb. 4. A report was filed later that day.

The point guard was in the midst of a banner season for the Bluejays before he tore his ACL in January, which ended his collegiate career. Creighton announced on Feb. 13 he was suspended from the team and not allowed to participate in senior night act due to  “alleged actions that are contrary to university policies and core values.”

The warrant for his arrest was issued Thursday.

 

Seventh-ranked Louisville dominates Syracuse

Rick Pitino
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The hint arrived early that Louisville might be no kind of matchup for Syracuse when the Cardinals jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead. The Orange, though, appeared to steady and seemed intent on delivering an interesting Sunday afternoon and a maybe another resume-changing win after beating Duke earlier in the week as the roared back to take a lead.

Everyone should have taken the early hint.

Louisville used a 21-4 first-half run to gain separation and never looked back as the Cardinals dominated Syracuse, 88-68, on Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center.

The win was the fourth in five games for Louisville, which shot 56.9 percent from the floor and held the Orange to 35.7 percent shooting.

Donovan Mitchell was sensational, going for 25 points on 9 of 16 shooting, including 6 of 10 from deep, while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. It was his third-straight game with at least 20 points.  He also had an absolutely dynamic one-handed alley-oop late that was just fantastic.

The Cardinals showed no ill effects of a hangover stemming from the loss earlier this week at North Carolina, but instead it was as dominant a performance as they’ve had in weeks.

On the losing side of the ledger are the Orange, who looked to be building some momentum after a three-game losing streak by beating Duke on Wednesday. Then, the Blue Devils went and lost to Miami and Syracuse just got smashed by another ACC contender. That doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

For Syracuse, it looks destined to spend another Selection Sunday sweating, though there’s certainly enough time for it to go either way. The Orange can really only hurt themselves until the ACC tournament with Georgia Tech heading to the Carrier Dome this week. That’s a game Syracuse will need to win, lest they really want the pressure ratcheted up in Brooklyn.

A big part of the issue for Syracuse pinning its hopes on the ACC tournament is its total lack of depth. Tyler Lydon and Andrew White both went at least 40 minutes for the 11- and 10-straight games, respectively. Syracuse played seven and got 28 minutes total from its bench.

With a few days typically between days, that’s pretty sustainable for the regular season, but those minutes are sure to weigh on players going on back-to-back (and maybe longer) days.