Late Night Snacks: Shabazz on his way to the NBA?

2 Comments

Game of the Night

No. 3 Duke 79, N0. 5 Miami 76: It’s not often the No. 3 team in the country needs a statement win, but the Blue Devils wanted to bounce back from their loss at Virginia, and Miami had the bad luck to be the next scheduled opponent to come to Cameron Indoor. Ryan Kelly came back from his foot injury and proved his worth. Miami, on the other hand, suffered a loss, but didn’t really much change their standing in the world.

Meaningful Results

UCLA 74, No. 11 Arizona 69: Ben Howland thinks this upset was Shabazz Muhammad’s last game in Pauley Pavilion. Muhammad grabbed the key rebound, got fouled, and hit his free throws to close out the win. Muhammad had 18 points, and his fellow freshman chipped in 17. Defense was the difference, led by (freshman) Jordan Adams’ five steals. This win puts UCLA in a tie with Oregon for the Pac-12 lead.

No. 13 Kansas State 64, Baylor 61: This one seemed headed to overtime, but Baylor’s long pass attempt with one second left sailed the length of the court and out of bounds without being touched by either team, so the second went to K-State instead. Rodney McGruder was left alone on the wing and nailed the game-winner in dramatic fashion, allowing the Wildcats to keep pace with Kansas atop the Big 12.

No. 7 Georgetown 64, Rutgers 51: It’s always important to win the ones you’re supposed to win, especially if you’re in line for a No. 1 seed.

No. 25 Louisiana Tech 88, San Jose State 61: The Bulldogs got to empty the benches in this one, which led them to a 16-0 record with two games to go in the WAC season. The WAC is not a good conference, but unbeaten is unbeaten.

Mississippi State 73, Ole Miss 67: Ole Miss is trying to get into the NCAA tournament, and this is not the way to do it. In fact, it probably won’t happen. A 20-win team should handle a 20-loss team, no matter where the game is played.

Starred

Doug McDermott, Creighton: The Blue Jays have struggled this year, but they rode their main man to a regular-season championship in the Mountain West. McDermott scored 41 points to go with six rebounds and three assists.

Jeff Withey, Kansas: Yes, Ben McLemore had 36 points, and that was huge, but Withey came one block away from his second triple-double of the season, with 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots.

Derrick Marks, Boise State: Marks scored 38 points on 72 percent shooting. His Broncos took down the Colorado State Rams, leaving New Mexico alone with the league title.

Struggled

Reggie Johnson, Miami: It’s a measure of how good Miami is as a team that they nearly beat Duke at Cameron on a day when Johnson played just 17 minutes, scored zero points and had four fouls.

Butler: Just Butler. Twenty team turnovers, many of them on the wrong side of the timeline. Just… ouch.

Colorado’s Shooters: The Buffs shot 23 percent from the floor in a loss to Cal, ending up with just 46 points in a big league game.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

Leave a comment

Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

Baylor Athletics
Leave a comment

Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.