Late Night Snacks: Princeton battles Harvard for Ivy League crown

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Game of the Day

Princeton 58, Harvard 53

The Tigers needed to beat the Crimson at home Friday or NCAA tournament hopes would be all but gone. Princeton shrugged off a 15-2 run with under three minutes to go from Harvard. With 1:06 to go Ian Hummer hit two free throws, putting Princeton up 54-53. Princeton missed the front-end of a one-and-one but hustle plays kept the ball in the Tigers’ hand. Princeton is only half a game behind Harvard in Ivy League standings, avenging an earlier loss to the Crimson.

Important Outcomes

Princeton 58, Harvard 53

Princeton has kept alive the hopes of an Ivy League play-in game with the win over Harvard. The Tigers trail half a game in the conference standings. If Princeton had lost, Harvard would only have to win two of its final three games. A play-in game happened two years ago.

Iona 90, Loyola (MD) 86

Iona dropped a double overtime game against Manhattan last Friday, starting a three-game losing streak. The Gaels got back on track and stayed in the MAAC standings mix with a win over Loyal (MD), who held sole possession of second place entering the game. Lamont Jones had 22 of his 35 in the second half for Iona. The MAAC has five teams with 10 wins.

Mahattan 34, Fairfield 31

It’s hard to win a game only scoring 34 points, but somehow the Jaspers did. Manhattan and Fairfield combined for the second-lowest point total since 3-point was added in 1986. Fairfield shot 26 percent, while Mahattan shot 25 from the floor. Shane Richards has 11 points for the Jaspers, the only player to score in double figures.

Starred

Lamont Jones, Iona

Jones scored 22 of his game-high 35 points in the second half, snapping a three-game losing streak and keeping Iona in the crammed MAAC standings. The Gaels had lost six of their last seven and topped Loyola (MD) who was in second place entering the game. Jones was 7-for-7 from the field in the second half.

Ian Hummer, Princeton

Hummer scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Harvard had 24 rebounds as a team. Hummer shot 8-of-14 from the field and doubled Harvard’s production on the offensive glass with four rebounds.

Adam Kemp, Marist

Kemp had 24 points 14 rebounds and five blocks in a two-point win over Siena. What’s more impressive is he did this against a frontline that includes O.D. Anosike. Kemp played above the rims, dunking on seven of his 10 field goals.

Struggled

Harvard 3-point shooting

The Crimson were 0-of-8 from behind the arc. The Crimson were dominated on the glass, but were unable to connect on an area where they shine. Harvard’s loss makes the Ivy League a battle that will go down to the final day.

Fairfield and Manhattan

The Stags and Jaspers hit an almost all-time low, with the second-lowest combined score since the 3-point line has been in use. Only one player in double figures and neither team shot better than 26 percent. Fairfield and Manhattan joins Tennessee-Georgetown in the 30-30 club this season.

East Tennessee State defense

The Bucs allowed USC Upstate Spartans to shoot 49 percent from the field, including 46 from behind the arc (13-for-28) opposed to their 35 percent and 22 percent from deep. East Tennessee State allowed four of USC Upstate’s five starters to score in double figures.

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

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

Cal promotes assistant Wyking Jones to head coach

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Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com

A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.

Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.

Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.

The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.

One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.

Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac declares for 2017 NBA Draft

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Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.