Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk takes an early look at the 2013 NBA Draft, including whether Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel has a chance to be selected No. 1 overall despite tearing his ACL earlier this season:This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ATLANTA (AP) — Virginia got off to a sluggish start offensively.
Fortunately for the Cavaliers, their defense never takes a night off.
De’Andre Hunter came off the bench to score 17 points and No. 2 Virginia turned in another defensive masterpiece Thursday, stretching its winning streak to nine in a row with a 64-48 victory over Georgia Tech.
The Cavaliers (17-1, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) limited Georgia Tech to 40.5 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers, leading to 16 points.
“The defense held us in there until we got a little rhythm and hit some shots,” coach Tony Bennett said. “We were stingy to score against. That always carries you on the road.”
Virginia snapped a four-game winning streak for the Yellow Jackets (10-8, 3-2).
After making the first basket of the game, Georgia Tech quickly got an idea of what kind of night it would be. The Jackets missed their next eight shots and turned it over four times before Josh Okogie finally broke a nearly eight-minute scoreless drought with a dunk off a backdoor pass.
Virginia shot just 40 percent in the first half but still led 28-19 at the break.
Georgia Tech never got any closer the rest of the way.
“They’re just a very disciplined team offensively and defensively,” Yellow Jackets center Ben Lammers said. “That makes it very difficult. You can’t make a mistake or you’ll pay for it.”
The last gasp for the home team essentially came in the closing seconds of the first half. It looked as though the Jackets would go to the locker room on a bit of a high after Curtis Haywood hit his second 3-pointer from far beyond the stripe, closing the gap to 24-19.
But Hunter got free in the corner and knocked down a trey with 0.1 seconds left in the half, turning it into a four-point play when Abdoulaye Gueye foolishly went for the block and sent the Virginia player sprawling to the court .
The free throw gave the Cavaliers their biggest lead of the opening period.
“That’s definitely not the way you want to end a half,” Lammers said. “We were on a little bit of a roll. It’s definitely a bit of a downer for our team. I think it helped their momentum.”
Virginia steadily pulled away over the final 20 minutes, dominating the inside for a 44-20 edge on points in the paint. Ty Jerome added 12 points, while Devon Hall and Kyle Guy had 11 apiece.
Tadric Jackson led Georgia Tech with 14 points. No one else was in double figures.
Virginia: The Cavaliers held an opponent under 50 points for the eighth time this season. They came into the night allowing the fewest points of any Division I team, and actually improved on their 52.9 average. That helped to cover for a tough night from 3-point range on which the Cavs connected on just 3 of 13 attempts.
Georgia Tech: Okogie, averaging 18.8 points per game, struggled to get open and finished with just nine points on 3-of-8 shooting. But coach Josh Pastner is especially concerned about Lammers, who attempted only five shots, made one and finished with four points. “We’ve got to get more out of him offensively,” Pastner said. “When you’re not scoring, it sucks the life out of you.”
WILKINS STEPS UP
The Cavaliers switched things up a bit against Lammers, turning to Isaiah Wilkins to handle the bulk of the defensive duties.
When the teams met last season , 6-foot-10 Jack Salt limited Lammers to seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.
This time, it was the 6-foot-7 Wilkins — the stepson of former Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins — making life miserable for Georgia Tech’s big man.
“He played to his personality,” Bennett said. “He’s such a giver. He thinks help. He thinks cover for teammates. He knows how to anticipate. If you can find that, it’s worth its weight in gold for a defensive player.”
It was an especially disappointing performance for the Yellow Jackets, considering it came before their first sellout of the season at 8,600-seat McCamish Pavilion.
Virginia: Plays its second straight ACC road game at Wake Forest on Sunday.
Georgia Tech: Faces a short turnaround before traveling to Chapel Hill on Saturday for another game against a ranked opponent, No. 15 North Carolina.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — James Palmer Jr. scored 19 points, Isaiah Roby had a career-high 14 and Nebraska beat No. 23 Michigan 72-52 on Thursday night for its first win over the Wolverines since joining the Big Ten.
Nebraska (14-7, 5-3), which needed Palmer’s 3-pointer to beat last-place Illinois 64-63 on Monday, led 32-21 at the half and never let Michigan get closer than 10 points in the last 17 minutes.
Michigan (16-5, 5-3), which had won nine of its last 10, suffered its most lopsided loss of the season and had a season-low for points. Charles Matthews had 15 points for the Wolverines, who shot 37.5 percent from the floor and a season-low 22.2 percent (4 of 18) on 3-pointers.
The Wolverines had come in 8-0 against the Huskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011-12, and they had won 10 straight in the series.
In the final regular-season game last year, Michigan won 93-57 in Lincoln, the Huskers’ most lopsided home loss in program history. Michigan set the arena record for points by an opponent and matched the arena record with 14 made 13-pointers in that game.
Nebraska was in total control this time.
The Huskers played strong defense on the perimeter and forced nine of Michigan’s 12 turnovers the first 20 minutes. Roby, Duby Okeke and Jordy Tshimanga rendered Moritz Wagner a non-factor.
Wagner, who scored 27 points last Saturday against Michigan State and had reached double figures in all but two games, missed his only shot of the half. He finished with a season-low two points, his only basket coming on a dunk early in the second half.
Roby had two dunks and another basket during an 18-4 run that turned Nebraska’s 12-10 deficit into a 28-16 lead. The Wolverines went scoreless for more than 6 minutes and without a field goal for 7½ as the Huskers broke things open. The Wolverines missed 14 of their last 16 shots of the half.
The Huskers built the lead to 21 with less than 5 minutes to play.
Tshimanga, who missed the last two games for personal reasons, entered the game in the middle of the first half. The first time he touched the ball, he passed to Roby for a dunk.
Michigan: Though the Wolverines have owned Nebraska, Pinnacle Bank Arena is a tough place to play, and they might have been out of gas after an emotional win over Michigan State and having to rally to beat Maryland 68-67 on Monday.
Nebraska: This was a crucial win for a team that has hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. Michigan came into the game No. 30 in the RPI; no other opponent Nebraska has beaten is in the top 50. Another big opportunity comes Monday when the Huskers visit Ohio State (No. 18 RPI).
Michigan hosts Rutgers on Sunday.
Nebraska visits No. 22 Ohio State on Monday.
No one should probably get too worked about about one game in mid-January.
First of all, it’s one game. Forty minutes of small sample size randomness that could very well mean next to nothing.
Second, there is still nearly two months of regular season to play. What seems important now very well could fade to irrelevance come mid-March. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to attach much meaning to one game between two teams well ahead of when the stakes are actually clear.
Unless you’re St. Mary’s and you’re at Gonzaga.
Then, you can get hyped.
The Gaels finally delivered a resume-boosting win this season by dispatching the 13th-ranked Bulldogs, 74-71, in Spokane to invigorate a season that seemed destined to end with plenty of wins but few – if any – that really mattered.
Yeah, it’s one game. Yeah, it’s mid-January. Yeah, a lot can happen between now and Selection Sunday to render this moot. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But make no mistake about it, St. Mary’s beating Gonzaga at The Kennell is a monumental victory for Randy Bennett’s team when the Gaels lacked even a notable one before it.
St. Mary’s non-conference schedule has become a tired topic, but it is absolutely why they find themselves in such a high-stake game just a couple weeks after New Year’s. It’s also perhaps maybe less their fault than ever. Bennett can’t be faulted for Cal being awful and Dayton being down. Those should be solid wins. But they aren’t. Then there’s the loss to Washington State. That should have been an opportunity for a good win. Instead it’s become a blight on their resume with the Cougars unable to compete in the anemic Pac 12.The one true chance for a meaningful win came against Georgia, and the Bulldogs nipped them in OT.
Beyond that, there’s a lot of wins on the resume for the Gaels, but not a lot of substance. Beating up a couple times each the likes of Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and Santa Clara doesn’t exactly move the needle.
That’s what made Thursday night so incredibly critical for St. Mary’s, and, if we’re being honest, for college basketball. The Gaels are absolutely one of the 68 best teams in the country. Conservatively, I’d say somewhere around the top 30. The NCAA tournament simply would have been worse off without them.
They showed why against Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs looked poised to pull away on numerous occasions, leading by as many as nine in the second half, but the Gaels wouldn’t let them gain comfortable separation. There was always an answer.
At least there was always Jock Landale.
The 6-foot-11 senior brought his All-American stuff to Spokane, going for 26 points on 12 of 15 shooting while also posting 12 rebounds and three assists. There’s not much flash to Landale’s game, but his fundamentals do the work for him. He established great position early and just went to work, abusing Gonzaga’s frontline time and again.
Landale is one of the most efficient offensive players in the country while simultaneously being one of its better rebounders. That’s a dude who in his senior year needs to be in the NCAA tournament. I won’t hear arguments to the contrary.
This win doesn’t guarantee a spot for the Gaels, obviously. They can’t afford a major slip-up, and another win against the Zags would go a long way, but it at least puts them in a tenable position with more than six weeks until March.
It’s the cruel reality of life in the WCC. Whether it would have won or lost Thursday night, St. Mary’s clearly established itself as a peer to Gonzaga, a team whom no one wonders about its NCAA tournament viability. St. Mary’s is right there with them. If they would have lost, it may not have mattered. The W-L, the RPI and the resume just wouldn’t have enough evidence to support what was so readily apparent to anyone watching.
They did win, though.
Sure, it’s still only one game. Sure, it’s still early. Sure, plenty can still go wrong.
Sure beats the alternative, though.
What started off as a father’s attempt to promote and support his son may have morphed into an NCAA issue for Duke.
The father of Blue Devils star freshman Marvin Bagley III designed shirts with the younger Bagley’s likeness on them and distributed them to Duke students last week, but the design has subsequently shown up online for sale on all sorts of different merchandise, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.
Apparently, it was without the consent or knowledge of the Bagley family.
“THESE CROOKS on this website tried to copy my shirt and ILLEGALLY profit on my son’s name, image and likeness!” Bagley, Jr., the father of the star forward, wrote on Facebook on Jan. 14, according to the News & Observer.
It is, of course, impermissible under NCAA rules for a player or his family to profit of his likeness.
Duke “will take whatever action is necessary for NCAA, intellectual property and trademark purposes,” spokesperson Jon Jackson told the News & Observer. “This is not the first time we’ve had to address this kind of issue with one of our student-athletes and we are taking the necessary steps through our compliance office and legal counsel to address it.
“In all other instances such as this, the eligibility of the student-athletes was not in question.”
Given that both the Bagley family and Duke appear to be pushing back on the monetization of his likeness – and not profiting from it themselves – there would seem to be little concern that Bagley III would be in any sort of jeopardy with the NCAA. It does, though, highlight the problematic nature of the NCAA’s amateurism rules.
By apparently no fault of their own, the Bagley family is having to deal with this situation instead of simply being in the position to better control Bagley III’s name and likeness themselves if NCAA rules didn’t keep them from making money off it while Duke and the NCAA can use it in their own promotional material.
Bagley will likely cash in as a top-five pick in June’s NBA Draft, but this episode just shows there’s a market for his celebrity that he’s banned from participating in, leaving the door open for the more unscrupulous.
Creighton big man Martin Krampulj will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his left team, the team announced on Thursday.
Krampelj was one of the most improved players in the Big East this year, averaging 11.9 points and 8.1 boards while starting 19 games. He suffered the injury in a win over Seton Hall on Wednesday.
Last year, the Bluejays lost all-american point guard Mo Watson to a torn ACL right around this same point in the season.