Illinois v Miami

How will Reggie Johnson’s injury affect Miami?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The biggest news coming out of the East Regional has less to do with the players that will be taking the court on Thursday night and more to do with the guy that didn’t make the trip to Washington DC.

Reggie Johnson, Miami’s starting center  and a constant double-double threat, injured his knee in Miami’s win over Illinois on Sunday night. He’s out for this weekend, and may miss the rest of the tournament.

Johnson hasn’t played well since returning from a broken thumb in January. In the last eight games, he’s averaging 1.9 points and 5.5 boards while shooting 20% from the floor. That’s not good, but it doesn’t change the fact that Johnson is a big body and a veteran front court presence. Is this the kind of injury that could influence the outcome of the No. 2 Hurricane’s Sweet 16 game with No. 3 Marquette?

“Our gameplan isn’t going to change,” Miami’s new featured center Julian Gamble said. “A lot of guys have to step up. … Me specifically, just staying out of foul trouble is important and to be relentless on the boards and try to be more aggressive and hold the interior down like Reggie did, that’s going to be important for me. To be able to help my guards in, setting screens and doing anything they need me to do.”

The interesting part here is that Johnson’s thumb injury has become a blessing in disguise. Miami has played without Johnson in the lineup. They’ve won games without Johnson in the lineup. At this point, they should be comfortable without him on the floor simply because they’ve been through it before.

And, frankly, it’s not like Gamble is a bad basketball player. He’s really developed this season, and at times has been more effective that Johnson. He’s not as good on the glass as Johnson is — “Reggie Johnson is our best rebounder at both ends of the court,” head coach Jim Larranaga said — but he can hold his own. More than anything, the biggest loss will simply be depth. Instead of having two big bodies to throw out there, Larranaga is only going to have one. It may also limit lineup versatility, as he won’t be able to play as big.

“Just one less wide body,” Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said. “I don’t think — maybe it will — I don’t think that it will necessarily change how they play.”

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.

Division III William Paterson forfeits game to protest coach’s firing

William Paterson Athletics
William Paterson Athletics
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William Paterson, a Division III basketball program in New Jersey, forfeited a game on Tuesday night to protest the firing of their head coach, Jose Rebimbas.

Rebimbas, a player for the 1990 Seton Hall team that reached the national title game, had been with the program for 20 years, amassing nearly 400 wins, winning six league titles and reaching nine NCAA tournaments. He announced his firing earlier this week on FaceBook, and the players on his team responded by boycotting Tuesday night’s matchup with Ramapo.

Dylan Burns, a William Paterson student that does play-by-play for the school’s athletic teams, tweeted that the basketball players came out of the locker room for layups lines, took off their warmups, threw them in a pile on the court and walked off the floor.

The following screengrabs from instagram videos that have since been removed show the players leaving the floor:

Screengrab via Instagram

And the jerseys piled in the middle of the court:

Screengrab via Instagram

The crowd at the game can be heard cheering when it is announced that the game has been forfeited.

Rebimbas wrote the following on FaceBook over the weekend:

“It is with great sadness and extreme frustration that after today I will not be coaching the basketball team at William Paterson University. WP has been my home and family for more than 20 years and yet the University has taken action to remove me from the service I love. People I have trusted and served with have defied logic and are pursing my termination because of a misunderstanding over a facility rental fee for a camp that I run.”

“These actions come despite the University hearing officer determining that termination was not warranted. The University has unfairly and illegally taken my right to coach and mentor the student-athletes I love. I am prepared to fight the actions of William Paterson University and restore my good name and that of the program.”