Southern Illinois Wichita St Basketball

Missouri Valley Conference disciplines officials of Wichita State/Illinois State game

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The wild ending to the Wichita State/Illinois State game on Sunday night just got a bit wilder, even after the buzzer.

In a release, the Missouri Valley Conference reprimanded the three-man officiating team of David Hall, Gerry Pollard and Paul Janssen for incorrectly awarding two late technical foul shots to the wrong player in the Shockers 68-67 victory over the  Redbirds.

Following a flagrant I call on Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael for, intentionally or not, kicking Tekele Cotton on a rebound, the crew awarded the shots to the Shockers’ Cleathony Early, who sank both free throws. Wichita State trailed 67-60 at that point and Early would hit a three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left to give Gregg Marshall’s squad the win, capping the comeback.

A replay revealed Cotton was kicked, not Early.

The statement did not say how the officials were punished.

Ok, hindsight being what it is, this wouldn’t have changed the game. Illinois State still allowed Wichita State to score eight points in the final 36 seconds to climb back in and get a road victory. But it does raise some eyebrows.

Why? Because Early shoots 80.5 percent from the free throw line. Cotton? He shoots 58.6 percent. That’s a pretty large discrepancy.

So maybe it wasn’t the deciding factor, but things might’ve been altered had it been Cotton toeing the line with his free throw history, and not Early.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.