Steve Lavin, Wally Rutecki

NCAA grants St. John’s forward Orlando Sanchez one year of eligibility

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St. John’s received some good news on Thursday afternoon, as the school announced that the NCAA has granted forward Orlando Sanchez one season of eligibility.

Sanchez will not see the court this season however, as he’ll use his one year in 2013-14.

So why would the fact that Sanchez, who according to the New York Times was essentially being punished over three-plus minutes he played for the Dominican Republic’s national team in 2010, will play just one season be seen as good news?

Because it was feared that he would never be allowed to take the court in a St. John’s uniform.

Under the N.C.A.A.’s eligibility calculations, Sanchez used two years of eligibility when he played junior college basketball at Monroe College in New York from 2010 to 2012, and another year when playing eight games with a Dominican amateur club team in 2009, after he turned 21, lawyer Robert Orr said. His fourth and final year was used when he played with the national team in 2010, Orr said.

“It seems to be a punitive, unfair rule, all wrapped up in the idea that we can’t have schools with older players,” Orr, who is representing Sanchez, said, noting that under the N.C.A.A.’s interpretation, Sanchez used two years of eligibility despite playing with Monroe and the Dominican national team in the same calendar year.

Sanchez is just one of two upperclassmen in the St. John’s front court with the other being senior God’sgift Achiuwa, who is redshirting this season and will graduate in the spring. Achiuwa would have a season of eligibility remaining should he return in 2013-14, and the Red Storm also have talented youngsters such as freshmen Chris Obekpa and JaKarr Sampson and sophomores Amir Garrett and Sir’Dominic Pointer.

St. John’s has yet to land a commitment in the 2013 class, and who returns for the 2013-14 campaign will impact what the Red Storm look to do in the spring.

But at the very least St. John’s will have Sanchez available next season, and given the road he’s traveled on the way to Queens it’s good to see the NCAA declare him eligible to play.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

No. 23 USC falls at Arizona State

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley applauds the efforts of his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
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No. 23 USC missed a golden opportunity to make up a game in the Pac-12 standings on Friday night.

No. 11 Oregon lost to Colorado on Thursday night, dropping back into a tie for first place in the league with the Trojans, a game ahead of No. 17 Arizona. But USC fell at Arizona State, 74-67, keeping them a game off of the pace that the Ducks have set.

The loss is even more painful when you consider that, on Sunday, the Trojans will be making the trip to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Wildcats are not what we have become accustomed to seeing under Sean Miller, but they are still a top 25 team and the McKale Center is still one of the toughest places in the country to get a win.

Thanks to Friday’s loss, instead of entering McKale with an outside chance of taking over sole possession of first place in the league, USC will have top hope they don’t fall two games off the pace.

As far as the game itself was concerned, USC committed 17 turnovers, shot 2-for-11 from three and gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Arizona State. That’s how you lose a game where you shoot better than 51 percent from the floor. USC was just never able to consistently get out into transition, and that caused them to struggle executing in the half court.

Nikola Jovanovic led the way with 25 points and 15 boards for USC.

Tra Holder’s 20 points made the difference for Arizona State, who kept themselves within striking distance of an at-large bid with the win.

Davis helps No. 19 Dayton beat Rhode Island 68-66

Dayton's Scoochie Smith (11) drives past Rhode Island's Jarvis Garrett (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Kingston, R.I., on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Joe Giblin)
(AP Photo/Joe Giblin)
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KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) Darrell Davis made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 21.1 seconds left and No. 19 Dayton beat Rhode Island 68-66 on Friday night.

Rhode Island’s Four McGlynn missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. Dayton got the rebound, and Steve McElvene made one of two free throws for the Flyers with 0.3 seconds to go.

Dyshawn Pierre led Dayton (21-3, 11-1 Atlantic 10) with 17 points and also had nine rebounds. Scoochie Smith added 16 points, and Davis finished with eight.

The Flyers won their ninth straight game and ended a six-game losing streak in Kingston.

McGlynn had 19 points for Rhode Island (14-11, 6-6). Hassan Martin added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

There were 17 lead changes, three in the final 55 seconds.

Pierre made two free throws with 55 seconds left to give the Flyers a one-point lead. Martin countered for the Rams with a three-point play 40 seconds left.

TIP-INS

Dayton: Dayton’s 21-3 start is its best since also opening 21-3 in 2008-09. … The Flyers shot 52.0 percent, going 26 of 50.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island’s six Atlantic 10 losses have been by a combined 30 points. … Martin made his 15th career double-double.

UP NEXT:

Dayton: at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night.

Rhode Island: at VCU on Tuesday night.