J.J. Moore, Jack Cooley, Eric Atkins, Dante Taylor

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

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.