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Nebraska hires Kenya Hunter away from Georgetown

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Nebraska has hired Kenya Hunter as associate head coach, according to a release from the school. Hunter had previously been an assistant coach at Georgetown under John Thompson III.

“I’m really excited to add Kenya Hunter to our staff. He brings a wealth of experience in many areas which will help the Huskers reach our goals,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said. “Through my discussions with Kenya, I was very impressed with his knowledge of the game and his feel for the game, and I believe his extensive network of contacts will help us expand our recruiting boundaries.”

This hiring clears up some of the confusion regarding Georgetown’s coaching staff. After Mike Brennan was hired as the head coach at American, JT3 went out and hired both Tavaras Hardy and Kevin Sutton as assistants. Hunter’s decision to take the job with Nebraska makes sense, as it opened up a third assistant coach position.

The bigger news here is that this is just the latest example of Nebraska funneling money into the hoops program. Gary Parrish explains:

The Big Ten school opened a new $20 million basketball practice facility in October 2011, will open a new $179 million basketball arena this season, and is paying second-year coach Tim Miles a salary that’ll eventually exceed $2 million annually, which brings me to Hunter and his salary. A source told CBSSports.com that it’ll be $230,000 a year, and that all three Huskers assistants now make at least $200,000 a year. So while Nebraska is still quite obviously a “football” school, the administration has made it clear it thinks there’s no reason basketball can’t operate at a high level, too.

Now dumping money into a program doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s guaranteed to be successful, especially not when the Cornhuskers share a conference with Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, both Michigans, and a number of other programs — Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, eventually Maryland — with significantly more hoops notoriety.

But the fact that the Huskers are investing in their hoops program means that they do care about getting better. They want to have a relevant basketball program.

And that’s the first step that needed to be made.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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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.

No. 23 USC falls at Arizona State

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley applauds the efforts of his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
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No. 23 USC missed a golden opportunity to make up a game in the Pac-12 standings on Friday night.

No. 11 Oregon lost to Colorado on Thursday night, dropping back into a tie for first place in the league with the Trojans, a game ahead of No. 17 Arizona. But USC fell at Arizona State, 74-67, keeping them a game off of the pace that the Ducks have set.

The loss is even more painful when you consider that, on Sunday, the Trojans will be making the trip to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Wildcats are not what we have become accustomed to seeing under Sean Miller, but they are still a top 25 team and the McKale Center is still one of the toughest places in the country to get a win.

Thanks to Friday’s loss, instead of entering McKale with an outside chance of taking over sole possession of first place in the league, USC will have top hope they don’t fall two games off the pace.

As far as the game itself was concerned, USC committed 17 turnovers, shot 2-for-11 from three and gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Arizona State. That’s how you lose a game where you shoot better than 51 percent from the floor. USC was just never able to consistently get out into transition, and that caused them to struggle executing in the half court.

Nikola Jovanovic led the way with 25 points and 15 boards for USC.

Tra Holder’s 20 points made the difference for Arizona State, who kept themselves within striking distance of an at-large bid with the win.