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

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.