Explorers guard Peterson battles for a rebound with Wildcats forward Henriquez during the second round of their NCAA men's basketball tournament in Kansas City

Sophomore guard D.J. Peterson to remain at La Salle

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On Monday, La Salle sophomore guard D.J. Peterson was granted a release from his scholarship, as the Burnsville, Minn. native cited a desire to attend a school closer to his hometown.

But after considering his options and discussing the situation with both his parents and teammates, Peterson has decided to return to La Salle for his junior season.

“D.J. is close to his family and has missed them during his long absences from home,” head coach Dr. John Giannini said in a statement released by the school. “He also is close to his La Salle teammates. After deciding to transfer, he spoke with his parents and teammates and has since decided to stay at La Salle. D.J.’s decision is strictly personal and not basketball-related.”

“It is hard for a young person to be pulled in two different directions,” Giannini continued. “I respect that D.J. has had to make a difficult personal decision. Our recent success is largely due to our chemistry and family atmosphere. We would support any decisions D.J. makes for his future and we are happy that we will continue to be a part of our team.”

Peterson started 17 of the 34 games in which he played this past season, averaging 3.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest for the Explorers.

His numbers certainly aren’t as flashy as those posted by the likes of Ramon Galloway, Tyreek Duren or Ty Garland, but Peterson proved to be a solid member of a rotation that reached the Sweet 16.

His decision to return next season gives Dr. Giannini more depth on the perimeter as Galloway is out of eligibility. La Salle adds newcomer Amar Stukes on the perimeter, and they’ll also have the services of Cleon Roberts (redshirted in 2012-13).

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: