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Late Night Snacks: La Salle, James Madison advance to Round of 64 Wednesday

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Game of the Day: La Salle 80, Boise State 71

On the 150th anniversary of its founding, La Salle got an NCAA tournament victory of a quality Boise State team to advance to the Round of 64. Tyrone Garland and Ramon Galloway are proving to be a dynamic scoring combo in the backcourt, with 22 points and 21 points respectively on Wednesday night. La Salle now moves on to play Kansas State, a team that they match up well against. The Explorers’ four-guard set can run with the Wildcats, especially considering the ability of both Garland and Galloway to create for themselves and teammates off the dribble.

Important Outcomes

1. James Madison 68, LIU Brooklyn 55

The key for James Madison Wednesday was to control the pace. They hit shots and didn’t turn the ball over, which kept LIU Brooklyn from getting out on the run in transition where they are used to flourishing. A.J. Davis’ hot shooting in the first half helped to extend the lead and Rayshawn Goins cleaned up on the glass in the second half to secure the win. JMU moves on to play Indiana.

2. Stony Brook 71, Massachusetts 58 (NIT) 

Stony Brook missed out on the NCAA tournament when it lost in the America East tournament and did not have the resume to score an at-large bid. That’s a shame, because the Seawolves are a quality basketball team and they showed it Wednesday against UMass. Anthony Jackson, Dave Coley, and Jameel Warney combined to score 56 of Stony Brook’s 71 total points.

3. Baylor 112, Long Beach State 66 (NIT)

Baylor exploded offensively on Wednesday. Seven players scored in double figures for the Bears in the huge win and they advance to play Arizona State, who also won tonight. That sets the stage for a high-level point guard matchup: Baylor’s Pierre Jackson vs. Arizona State’s Jahii Carson.

Starred

1. Tyrone Garland, La Salle (22 points, 9-of-11 FG, 3 assists)

Garland was one half of the impressive backcourt with Ramon Galloway Wednesday in La Salle’s win over Boise State. He’ll need to bring the same kind of intensity in the Round of 64 against Kansas State.

2. A.J. Davis, James Madison (20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists)

Davis’ ability to stretch the LIU defense and hit his shots in the first half allowed James Madison to survive a push from the Blackbirds at the end of the half. JMU pulled away in the second and it advances.

3. Anthony Drmic, Boise State (28 points, 4 rebounds)

Drmic did all he could for the Broncos on Wednesday night, but La Salle had too many different scoring options on the offensive end. Leon Rice’s team has a good number of its key pieces returning next season, though, so Boise won’t be fading next year.

Struggled

1. Jordan McRae, Tennessee (7 points, 3-of-14 FG)

Tennessee’s season comes to an end Wednesday with a loss in the NIT to Mercer. McRae, who was the main reason Tennessee was able to go on such a tear down the stretch to finish the regular season, went cold tonight.

2. Tyreek Duren, La Salle (4 points, 1-of-6 FG)

Duren normally averages more than 15 points per game for the Explorers, but couldn’t find his stroke from the field Wednesday. Fortunately for him, La Salle was able to find other sources of scoring and beat Boise State to advance. To his credit, he took on a facilitator’s role and added five assists.

3. Mike Caffey, Long Beach State (4 points, 1-of-8 FG)

Long Beach State lost by 46 to Baylor Wednesday night and giving up 112 points in the process. Caffey was among those who struggled, going just 1-of-8 from the floor in the NIT loss.

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

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.