Khalif Wyatt

Temple couldn’t have asked for more from Khalif Wyatt, but it wasn’t enough

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Khalif Wyatt went for 31 points in Temple’s win over No. 8 NC State to advance to the Round of 32. Against No. 1-seeded Indiana Sunday, he had an encore performance with a Sweet 16 berth on the line.

Wyatt scored 31 points against the Hoosiers on 12-of-24 shooting, but the Owls got little production offensively from anyone else in a 58-52 loss to Indiana at Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. The loss ends Temple’s season and see the Hoosiers advance to the Sweet 16.

Wyatt has been big for Temple in previous nationally televised games. Remember Dec. 22 against Syracuse at what ultimately amounted to a home gave for the Orange at MSG? He scored 33 points in a four-point win. How about just over two weeks later in early January against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse? His 26 points kept Temple in it until the final minutes.

It was a repeat performance from him Sunday, even in a loss.

Indiana tried a few different defenders on Wyatt, including Remy Abell and one of the nation’s best defenders in junior Victor Oladipo. If Wyatt was able to touch the ball in the first half, it didn’t seem that he could be contained for any extended period of time. Instead, Indiana did a good job in the second half of working to deny him the basketball and forcing other Temple scoring options to make shots.

There were two separate major stretches where Indiana’s defense forced a drought. The first came from the 19:34 mark of the second half, right when it appeared Wyatt would continue his offensive dominance, until the 10:34 mark. During that span, though, Indiana was unable to capitalize and still trailed by three points.

It was the second drought that allowed Indiana to regain the lead. After hitting a three-pointer with 6:30 to play to put his team up three, 46-43, Wyatt did not his a field goal from the floor for the remainder of the game. Indiana went on a 15-6 run to close out the game and advance.

Aside from some inside and second-chance looks from forward Anthony Lee, there were no other real options for Temple. Scootie Randall was 0-of-12 from the floor. Jake O’Brien, who was so key in the Round of 64, was 0-of-4. Wyatt had nearly 60 percent of the total offense, but the Owls were helped by the fact that they pulled even on the boards with Indiana and had 11 offensive rebounds.

Credit goes to Temple for grinding out a game and forcing Indiana into a style with which it was not comfortable. Of Indiana’s six prior losses this season, three times they failed to score 60 points, but a lack of scoring down the stretch sunk the Owls Sunday.

The Atlantic 10 was 6-0 through the first two rounds of this NCAA tournament, but is now 0-4 in the Round of 32.

For more on Temple-Indiana, check out CSNPhilly.com.

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

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.

VIDEO: Jim Boeheim makes TV appearance to talk Carmelo Anthony

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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has drawn attention for some recent comments about former Orange star Carmelo Anthony.

After Anthony captured his record third gold medal with USA Basketball, his former college coach told Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard that Anthony didn’t have a great chance at winning an NBA title.

“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said of Anthony. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title.”

Boeheim maintains that he was speaking of Melo’s legacy being about more than an NBA title and that he’s one of the game’s greats thanks to other accomplishments like the Syracuse title and gold medals. On SportsCenter, Boeheim made sure to stress where those comments were coming from, while also making sure his kids would stop being mad at him.

It’s much easier to understand where Boeheim is coming from in this instance and it clears up something that will probably go away now.