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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_

South Dakota State gets two commits

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Tuesday was a busy and productive one for South Dakota State on the recruiting trail.

The Jackrabbits secured two 2017 commitments from the state of Wisconsin in Ryan Krueger and Alex Arians, a source tells NBCSports.com.

Krueger is a 6-foot-5 wing player from New London, Wisc. while Arians is a 6-foot-4 guard from Madison, Wisc., who also held an offer from Wright State, which is coached by former SDSU coach Scott Nagy. Both players spend their summers playing for the Wisconsin Swing grassroots program.

The pair make it a trio of commits for the Jackrabbits in 2017 with another Wisconsinite, Alou Dillon, pledging to first-year Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger, himself a Wisconsin native, earlier this summer.

South Dakota State went 26-8 last year and the bulk of the team that made the NCAA tournament last year, including sophomore Mike Daum, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.

Incoming Gator freshman ineligible for upcoming season

Mike White
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Florida will need to wait a year before seeing 6-foot-11 recruit Gorjok Gak playing games for the Gators.

The NCAA ruled that the incoming freshman will be able to enroll at Florida this year and practice with the team, but will be ineligible for games this season, the school announced Tuesday.

Should he meet all his progress marks during his freshman year, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017-18.

Gak’s eligibility issue centered on his playing games during his postgraduate year at Victory Rock Prep, according to his coach there.

“Following his graduate year from Australia, he was supposed to play from December to December,” Loren Jackson told the Gainesville Sun, “but instead played from December until the following May.”

Gak originally signed with Oklahoma State, but de-committed following Travis Ford’s firing in Stillwater this past spring. Gak averaged 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds last season at Victory Rock in Bradenton, Fla.

Florida went 21-15 last season under first-year coach Mike White.

Video: Coach K talks Team USA with Dan Patrick

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Team USA has blown through its competition in its first two exhibition games ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro with wins over Argentina and China by a combined a combined 96 points.

Tonight, they’ll have a rematch against China, which they defeated 106-57 on Sunday, but it will also serve as the unofficial debut of Kevin Durant in front of his new hometown fans with the game taking place at the home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

“Excited for Kevin tonight to make his debut in front of the Golden State fans,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “He got a great reception (Monday) at a function. He was, as he should be, warmly welcomed.”

The team has been together since July 18 in the run-up to its first Olympic contest on Aug. 6 against China. For Krzyzewski, a couple of players have made an impression already.

“You see these guys on TV,” the Duke coach said, “but I don’t get a chance to see them in person. (Clipper) DeAndre Jordan is such a good player. A great athlete, a great guy. To see him run, defend, holy mackerel. He’ s really good.

“I haven’t seen Paul George in two years when he had that horrific (leg) injury in Las Vegas at one of our camps, and he’s so darn good. On defense, tremendous.”

It’s on the defensive side of the floor that Coach K believes his team can really make its mark even with the incredible collection of offensive talent the roster has.

“We’re very athletic so defensively we could be a very good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve shown a willingness to want to do that in the first two games.”

As usual, Team USA is the prohibitive favorite to bring back gold for the third consecutive Olympics, which will be Coach K’s last at the helm after taking over after the 2004 bronze medal debacle.

“I’m excited about the team,” he said. “It’s a short time. to see our guys working so hard and they get along so well, I’m excited about the team we might be in Rio. We’ll use tonight to get a little bit better.

“I kind of have the blinders on. You only have a short time. It’s a little over a month, and we want to win the gold medal in Rio.”

Rose’s transfer to BYU becomes official

Ge'Lawn Guyn, L.J. Rose
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His commitment came more than a month ago, but L.J. Rose’s transfer to BYU became official Tuesday.

The former Houston guard was officially announced as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer by BYU on Tuesday. He’ll bring much needed help to a Cougars backcourt that lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer to graduation and Jordan Chatman and Jack Toolson to transfers.

“L.J. will add great experience and talent to our guard line,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement released by BYU. “We’re excited about the leadership he will bring on the court and in the locker room. He will make us a deeper and more versatile team.”

As a junior, L.J. Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists, but a foot injury limited him to just two games last season and allowed him to receive a medical redshirt and the opportunity to be a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season. He’ll be a big part of BYU’s attempt to build on last year’s 26-11 season as a former top-100 recruit, who began his career at Baylor, on a team in need of an infusion of talent after absorbing the losses from last year’s roster.

His father, Lynden, Sr., was a teammate of BYU coach Dave Rose at Houston during the program’s Phi Slama Jama era.

UCLA loses key forward to professional ranks

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks steals the ball from Jonah Bolden #43 of the UCLA Bruins during a 76-68 Ducks win at Pauley Pavilion on March 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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UCLA announced on Tuesday afternoon that Jonah Bolden will be forgoing his college eligibility to turn professional.

“Jonah Bolden has informed the coaching staff that he has opted to play professionally this season,” the release said.

Bolden is a versatile, 6-foot-10 forward with some NBA potential. In his only season playing with the Bruins, he averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 boards while starting 11 games. His ability on the defensive end of the floor was something the UCLA staff was counting on this season.

A sophomore this past season, Bolden was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA as a freshman, meaning that he was allowed to be on scholarship and in class but could not play during the 2014-15 season.

He had two seasons of eligibility remaining. Without Bolden, T.J Leaf will likely be counted on to play more minutes at the four.