Late Night Snacks: Notre Dame beats Pitt, K-State spoils Huggins’ homecoming

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It was a relatively light night on the action front. A few Top 25 teams in action, two playing each other in the Big East, and some mid-major games that, while looking good on paper, were missing a few things. It’s Late Night Snacks.

Game of the Night

No. 25 Notre Dame 51, No. 20 Pittsburgh 42 – The teams essentially switched jerseys at the half on Monday night. In the first 20 minutes, the Fighting Irish scored 19 points and missed 18 of their first 19 shots. In the second half, the Panthers scored 20 points and finished shooting just 34.8-percent overall and going 0-for-8 from three.

Games of Note

No. 13 Kansas State 71, West Virginia 61 – The score didn’t really reflect how one-sided this game was. The Wildcats never trailed after 2-0 in the opening moments and got out to as large as a 21-point second half lead and were never threatened by the Mountaineers. Will Spradling had a night with 19 points and a 7-for-7 performance at the free throw line as K-State shot 50-percent from the field (23-of-46). Only Deniz Kilicli scored in double figures for West Virginia with 16.

Bucknell 61, Lehigh 55 – This game lost a bit of its luster long ago when C.J. McCollum broke his foot. It still lived up to the Patriot League hype. Mike Muscala went for 12 points and nine rebounds and teammate Bryson Johnson scored a game-high 19 in the win. The Mountain Hawks were 1-for-15 from three-point range in the loss.

Fairfield 66, Iona 64 – Derek Needham’s three pointer with five seconds left lifted the Stags over the Gaels at home. Lamont ‘Momo’ Jones carried Iona in the loss (see below) and Fairfield got 30 points from their bench, including 12 from Justin Jenkins and 10 from Maurice Barrow.

Villanova 71, Rutgers 63 – All five starters scored in double figures for the Wildcats, who needed it because they only got eight points from their bench. JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard and Ryan Arcidiacono all had 14 in the victory. Myles Macks poured in a game-high 24 in the loss for the Scarlet Knights.

Starred

Fred Sturdivant, Texas Southern – A monster night for a player who is sure to garner first-team All-SWAC honors. The forward went for 21 points and 17 rebounds in a 73-57 victory over Mississippi Valley State.

Lamont ‘Momo’ Jones, Iona – The Gaels lost to Fairfield, but the former Arizona transfer dropped in 29 points in the loss. He was 9-of-17 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line.

Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova – The Wildcats big man went for 10 points and 12 rebounds in the win at Rutgers. They needed every point and every rebound from him on Monday night.

Struggled

Eron Harris, West Virginia – The Mountaineer guard averages 9.2 points per game, but finished a rough night against Kansas State with zero points and fouled out in just eight minutes. He spent a majority of the night on the bench and put the bow on his performance by getting a technical foul for his fifth to send him to the bench.

Lamar Patterson, Pittsburgh – The forward averages 10.5 points per game. He finished a bad offensive night for both teams with two points on 1-of-5 shooting, five rebounds and four fouls in 26 minutes in the loss.

Stuffing the Stat Sheet

Rarlensee Nelson, New Orleans – I preface this with the fact that the Privateers played Central Baptist College, a school in Conway, Ark. that plays in the NCCAA. But Nelson had a night with 11 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for UNO in the 100-65 win.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

LaVar Ball having ‘zero’ interaction with UCLA team bodes well for next season

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With the NBA Draft looming in less than a month, the biggest talking point has been just how much of an impact LaVar Ball is going to have on his son, Lonzo’s, NBA career.

It’s a question worth asking given the, ahem, outspoken nature of the eldest Ball.

But in the collegiate ranks, that’s a question that’s been asked about UCLA regarding next season. While Lonzo and LaMelo, who is finishing up his sophomore season in high school, are the stars that get the majority of the attention, there is another Ball brother that will be enrolling at UCLA next season: LiAngelo.

LaVar has already said that he expect Gelo to be a one-and-done player, which may not jibe with how good Gelo actually is. He’s not Lonzo and he’s not LaMelo. He’s not a dynamic athlete or a lead guard. He’s a 6-foot-5, 200 pound shooter with limitless range but limited upside. There’s a reason Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect.

What’s going to happen when UCLA, a top 15 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25, doesn’t give Gelo Lonzo-esque minutes or shots next season? How will LaVar handle it if his second son is coming off the bench for the Bruins?

Steve Alford doesn’t seem concerned about it, telling a reporter from the LA Times that LaVar was “never at practice, never called me” and was around the team “zero.”

“I think all parents probably should know that moving on to the collegiate level anyway,” Alford said. “It’s not high school, it’s not AAU. Your son’s on scholarship; your son’s at UCLA getting an incredible opportunity academically and athletically.

“Playing time, shots, that kind of stuff — we don’t entertain some of those phone calls anyway. I never had any issues at all with LaVar.”

It will be interesting to see if that continues next season.

The Bruins have a chance to be pretty good. Maybe not quite as good as last season, maybe not a Pac-12 title favorite or even the best team in LA — USC is loaded — but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them end up as a top four seed in the NCAA tournament with Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh returning and Jaylen Hands headlining the recruiting class.

Will LaVar be able to handle UCLA’s success if it comes at the expense of his son’s?

NCAA: Former USF assistant provided extra benefits, lied to NCAA investigators

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The NCAA has alleged that former South Florida assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided roughly $500 in impermissible benefits and initially lied to NCAA investigators about it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the NCAA’s summary disposition report.

Oliver Antigua is the younger brother of Orlando Antigua, who was the head coach at USF until he was fired in January. Now an assistant on Brad Underwood’s staff at Oklahoma State, Orlando was not alleged to have committed an NCAA violation in the report.

Oliver is alleged to have provided the extra benefits to two student-athletes while they were being tutored by the sister-in-law of Gerald Gillion, a special assistant to Orlando who resigned last fall, four months after Oliver did. USF has already self-imposed a $5,000 and reduced their scholarships from 13 to 12, according to the report.

“The University of South Florida and the NCAA continue to work together to resolve the inquiry into violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by a USF intercollegiate athletic program,” according to a statement released by the school. “USF anticipates having a final resolution with the NCAA sometime this fall. Until the process concludes and the matter is fully resolved, USF cannot provide further comment.”

Villanova lands four-star 2018 guard

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Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.

Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.

The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.

Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.

He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.

Comic-Con forces Providence to play at Alumni Hall for home opener

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Providence will play its first game at Alumni Hall, the on-campus facility, for the first time in 35 years this fall.

The Friars unveiled their 2017-18 non-conference schedule on Thursday afternoon. The team’s home opener will play either Houston Baptist or Belmont in Mullaney Gym inside Alumni Hall.

According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, the reason for that is a schedule conflict at Providence’s home arena, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, in downtown Providence. A Comic-Con convention is scheduled Nov. 10-12. As McNamara notes, it’s a busy part of the season for The Dunk. The arena also is home to the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and by mid-November, their season is in full swing.

The Friars haven’t played at Alumni Hall since 1972, the same year the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was opened. In the three decades since Providence last played a regular season game there, the facility has gone under necessary renovations, as you could imagine. Even with added seats, Mullaney Gym can host a maximum of 1,549. That’s a fraction of what The Dunk’s capacity of 12,400.

Providence will return to its downtown home on Nov. 13, hosting Minnesota as part of the Gavitt Games. The Golden Gophers will likely be a top-20 team to open the season. The Friars, who bring back every notable player from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, is a fringe top-25 team.

Jalen Coleman-Lands to transfer out of Illinois

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The already-thin Illinois roster got thinner on Thursday afternoon.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com reported that sophomore guard Jalen Coleman-Lands has requested and received his release from the program. He will have to sit out next season but will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Coleman-Lands was a top-40 recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. He becomes the second player from that recruiting class this month to exit the school. Reserve guard D.J. Williams elected to transfer on May 8. With Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett, two incoming recruits, both previously reopened their recruitments following John Groce’s firing.

Even with the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who officially joined the Fighting Illini on Wednesday, Illinois is left with only nine scholarship players as of right now.

Coleman-Lands’ production dipped from his freshman campaign, ending the 2016-17 season averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 38 percent from three.

One destination that will likely be rumored will be nearby DePaul. Coleman-Lands played for new DePaul assistant coach Shane Heirman at prep school powerhouse La Lumiere School. Heriman quickly tapped into that prep pipeline, helping secure a commitment from La Lumiere from five-star 2019 point guard Tyger Campbell earlier this month.

Coleman-Lands had taken official visits to Notre Dame and UNLV before committing to the Illini in September 2014.