Late Night Snacks: Saint Louis top team in Atlantic 10

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Game of the Day

Saint Louis 65, No. 15 Butler 61

The Billikens used a 15-4 run in the first few minutes of the second half to take a lead they would never surrender. Butler would cut it close, but missed free throws and turnovers kept the Bulldogs trailing. Saint Louis was led by Mike McCall with 18 points. Dwayne Evans added 17 points while Kwamain Mitchell scored 12 for the Billikens. The win gives Saint Louis a 4-1 record against ranked opponents. Saint Louis swept Butler this season, also defeating No. 24 VCU earlier in the week.

Important Outcomes

Harvard 65, Brown 47

The Crimson beat Princeton last Saturday to provide some breathing room in the Ivy League standings. Harvard forced 14 turnovers in the first half giving the Crimson an 11-point lead heading into the break. Brown cut the lead to six midway through the second half, but Harvard rallied off five straight points to get the lead back to double digits. Wesley Saunders went for 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Akron 68, North Dakota State 53

The Zips still own the nation’s longest win streak, which is now at 18. Akron led by 14 at half, but in the second half the Bison were able to cut the led down to six with under eight to go. Akron countered with nine unanswered. Zeke Marshall had 14 points and five blocks. Demetrius Treadwell finished with 11 point and 14 boards.

Stephen F. Austin 68, Long Beach State 60

Stephen F. Austin is tied for first place in the Southland standings with Northwestern State. But the Lumberjacks were able to add a nice non-conference win against Long Beach State Friday night. Antonio Bostic went for a team-high 21 points off 8-for-14 shooting. SFA has also beaten Oklahoma this season.

Starred

Tony Hicks, Penn

The Quakers got back to .500 in conference play thanks in large part to Tony Hicks’ shooting. The freshman went for 29 points off 11-of-18 shooting. Miles Cartwright had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Harvard defense

The Crimson locked down on the defensive end, forcing 14 first half turnovers giving them a double-digit lead at half. Harvard forced 19 miscues in all, and held Brown to 37 percent shooting.

Saint Louis defense

Saint Louis forced 14 turnovers as opposed to its own four miscues. Saint Louis took care of the ball this week with only 12 turnovers while forcing 24. The Billikens also made several defensive stops when the Bulldogs were threatening.

Stetson shooting

The Hatters hit 11-of-28 threes en route to an 80-71 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Joel Naburgs was 6-of-9 from behind the arc for a game-high 27 points.

Struggled

Butler free throws

Saint Louis didn’t shoot well from the line, but Butler had opportunities to tie the game from the line, but couldn’t get in a rhythm from the charity stripe. Roosevelt Jones missed four foul shots on the night, three came in the second half. On the night Butler was 15-of-26, one shot better than Saint Louis.

Brown 3-point shooting

The Bears were 1-of-14 from behind the arc. Tucker Halpern connected on a three with 27 seconds to go in the first half and that was the only three ball Brown would hit on then night.

North Dakota State offense 

The Bison shot a miserable 31 percent from the field, 21 from deep. NDSU also committed 13 turnovers. Laurence Alexander and Mike Felt were the only two to score in double figures, both over their season averages, including Felt who almost doubled it with 15 points.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Washington’s Thybulle returning for senior season

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Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”

Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?