Saint Louis

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

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
Jon Lopez/Nike
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.