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While his dad is headed to the Final Four in Atlanta with Louisville, a report says that FIU head coach Richard Pitino could steal at least a share of the family spotlight this week.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Minnesota is finalizing a deal to make Pitino its head coach and fill the vacancy that was created with the firing of Tubby Smith on March 25.
Pitino coached FIU to an 18-14 overall record this past season, including 11-9 in Sun Belt play. He came within one game securing an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, but his team lost to Western Kentucky in the conference tournament championship game.
If the move happens, it would be a bold one for the Gophers. But Pitino, 30, has experience as a high-major assistant at Louisville with his father and at Florida under head coach Billy Donovan. Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague was at Virginia Commonwealth when he gave another one-time assistant, Shaka Smart, his first major head coaching break.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.