Pat Skerry

Towson sets NCAA record, goes from 1-31 to 2nd place in CAA

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Last season, Towson was the worst team in college basketball. The struggling Tigers finished 1-31 on the season, including a 22-game losing streak to start the year.

What a difference a year can make.

With its 67-64 home win over Hofstra Saturday, Towson finishes the season at 18-13, an NCAA record-setting 17.5-game turnaround from the previous season. The Tigers improved by 17 wins, but played one less game in the 2012-13 regular season, which accounts for the half-game.

That mark breaks the record previously held by Mercer in 2002-03 and UTEP the year after in 2003-04. Both teams improved by 17 games. For coach Pat Skerry’s team, this is the most wins the program has had in one season since 1993-94 when the Tigers were 21-9 and won the Big South title.

One of the biggest keys to Towson’s turnaround has been likely CAA Player of the Year and double-double machine Jerrelle Benimon. The Georgetown transfer averaged 17.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game and has recorded 20 double-doubles this year, including Saturday in the win over Hofstra.

Towson finished tied for second place in the CAA, but is barred from the conference tournament and any other postseason play after APR sanctions placed on the program by the NCAA.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.