James Harden Beard Night

Arizona State wins on James Harden Beard Night

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Arizona State kept their momentum going in the right direction on Wednesday night.

Three days after picking up a big win at Colorado in overtime, Carrick Felix went for 23 points and 11 boards and Jahii Carson chipped in with 21 points and five assists as the Sun Devils knocked off Washington State 69-57.

The win itself isn’t a huge importance to Arizona State’s resume, but given their lack of strength in the non-conference portion of their schedule, this was quite simply a game that the Sun Devils could not afford to lose.

ASU plays Washington at home and then finishes the regular season with a three-game road trip — at UCLA, at USC and then at Arizona. I’d recommend winning at least three of those four games, if not all four.

But back to the more important issue: the Sun Devils won on James Harden Beard Night. To honor their former star, the first 1,000 students to show up to the game received a beard bandana (pictures below). They also decided to remain silent until Arizona State managed to score their 13th point; 13 was Harden’s number when he was in Tempe. The only problem was that it took about ten minutes for the Sun Devils to reach that number, which created quite an awkward situation, playing in front of a silent arena.

After the game, Herb Sendek said that he didn’t realize what the students were planning until after the game, and kept thinking about how quiet the gym was.

Maybe the ASU student section should scrap the whole “let’s be quiet for 13 minutes” plan. Once the students came alive, after a jumper from Felix, the Sun Devils went on a 22-8 run to close the half.

Anyway, since I know you were asking, here are the Arizona State cheerleaders in Beard Bandanas:


Oh, I should probably mention that James Harden went for 46 points in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

(Photo via @krissylindas)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?