Gary Harris

Report: Gary Harris finishes rehab, is working out again

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Michigan State needed Adreian Payne to return to school if they were going to make a run at a national title.

With Derrick Nix graduating and with their only incoming front court player being Gavin Schilling — who isn’t exactly the second coming of Greg Oden — Tom Izzo’s team was going to have a massive question mark along their front line had Payne put his name in the NBA Draft.

But he decided to play out his final season in East Lansing, which means that the Spartans immediately became the early favorites to win the Big Ten and arguably the best team in the country outside of the state of Kentucky.

For them to reach that potential, however, a couple of things need to happen.

First of all, Branden Dawson needs to take advantage of finally having an offseason to develop. He’s an athletic specimen, but after spending the whole of last summer recovering from ACL surgery, he needs to put in the effort to become more than just an athlete; he needs to learn to be a basketball player.

The second key for the Spartans is to get Gary Harris healthy. He spent last season dealing with a shoulder injury, and as a result, we, as Izzo put it, “haven’t seen the Gary Harris I recruited yet”. The good news? It looks like Harris is healthy enough to resume offseason workouts. From Diamond Leung over at MLive.com:

Michigan State guard Gary Harris is participating in staff-supervised workouts allowed by the NCAA after dealing with shoulder injuries while capturing Big Ten freshman of the year honors last season.

Harris elected to avoid surgery on his left shoulder after spraining it in November and seeing it nag him throughout the season. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had said that was “a good decision,” and now he’s seeing the benefits of it as the Spartans prepare for a national title run.

The key, Gary Harris Sr. told The Drive with Jack Ebling, was to simply take some time off, focusing on rest and rehab. Assuming that Harris has gotten his shoulder back to 100%, he still has all summer to become a better basketball player.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

No. 25 Wichita State pounds Drake 74-48

Gregg Marshall
AP Photo/AJ Mast
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Ron Baker and Shaq Morris had 11 points each and No. 25 Wichita State pounded Drake 74-48 on Tuesday night for its 13th win in 14 games.

Thirteen players scored for the Shockers (18-5, 12-1 Missouri Valley Conference), who moved within two victories of clinching at least a share of its third straight league title.

Wichita State had little trouble with the Valley’s worst team, rattling off a 27-5 run to close the first half in beating the Bulldogs for the ninth straight time.

Reed Timmer scored 20 points for Drake (6-19, 1-12), which lost for the 15th time in 17 games.

Wichita State was coming off just its second Valley loss in three seasons, as it fell at Illinois State 58-53.

The woeful Bulldogs didn’t stand a chance against a Shockers team seeking a measure of redemption.

Drake hung in for a few minutes, even closing within 17-16 at one point midway through the first half. But the Shockers tightened up their defense and spread the ball around, getting baskets from nine players in the first half to pull away from the overwhelmed Bulldogs.

Wichita State went 7 of 12 from 3-point range in the opening half, while Drake went 1 of 16 from the field and failed to score in the final 5:23 before halftime.

Fred VanVleet’s wide-open 3 with 17 minutes left made it 50-25.

The Shockers held Drake to 25 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.

TIP-INS

WICHITA STATE: The Shockers were the eighth team in this week’s Top 25 to play a road game in Iowa – and that doesn’t include the fourth-ranked Hawkeyes or 14th-ranked Iowa State. … Early in the second half, the 6-foot VanVleet was alone in the paint to defend a 3-on-1 break. VanVleet forced a jump ball.

DRAKE: Timmer twice tricked opponents into fouling him on a 3-point attempt. He converted all six free throws. … Dominik Olejniczak, a freshman from Poland, had nine points in his second career start.

UP NEXT

Wichita State hosts Northern Iowa on Saturday.

Drake plays at Southern Illinois on Saturday.

No. 19 Dayton rallies late for 76-74 win over Duquesne

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) Scoochie Smith hit a 3-pointer that put No. 19 Dayton ahead to stay as the Flyers overcame a late 12-point deficit and beat Duquesne 76-74 on Tuesday night.

The Flyers (20-3, 10-1 Atlantic 10) got their eighth straight win by going on a closing 19-5 run. Smith’s 3-pointer from the top of the arc put Dayton ahead 73-70 with 46 seconds left, and the Dukes (15-9, 5-6) never pulled even again. Smith hit a free throw with 2.7 seconds left.

Charles Cooke led Dayton with 22 points and Smith added 14.

Micah Mason had 27 points for Duquesne. Derrick Colter had 19 of his 21 in the second half.

Dayton took the court with its highest regular-season ranking since Nov. 19, 2009. The Flyers hadn’t been ranked so highly this late in the regular season since Feb. 15, 1968.

They needed their home-court advantage to pull it out. They have won 35 of their last 36 at home, and have won 20 straight A-10 games at Dayton Arena.

Mason missed the Dukes’ 66-58 loss to the Flyers on Jan. 2 with an ankle injury. He made the difference early, hitting his first three shots from beyond the arc and his first five overall. He had 13 points as the Dukes pulled ahead 28-16, making 12 of their first 17 shots overall against the A-10’s stingiest defense.

Sam Miller had two 3s and a follow-up basket as Dayton went on an 11-0 run. The Dukes went more than 4 minutes without a basket, helping Dayton pull into a 35-35 tie at halftime.

The Flyers opened the second half with a 10-2 run featuring a layup, a free throw and a 3-pointer by Kyle Davis.

Colter, the Dukes’ leading scorer at 18.3 points per game, made only one of his six shots in the first half. He rallied the Dukes after Dayton’s opening run in the second half, making two 3s and a three-point play as the Dukes pulled ahead 56-53 midway through the half.

Two 3-pointers by Mason pushed the lead to 69-57 with 5:41 to go, but the Dukes couldn’t hold on.

TECHNICAL ISSUE

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry got a technical foul while yelling at referee Tony Chiazza after one of the Dukes was called for a foul with 3:48 left in the first half.

TIP-INS

Duquesne: The Dukes are 47-118 all-time against ranked teams. They beat No. 10 Saint Louis 71-64 on Feb. 27, 2014, and lost to No. 17 VCU 70-64 on Jan. 17, 2015, in their last two.

Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre had only six points, ending his streak of nine consecutive games in double figures. Pierre missed the first part of the season under a university suspension, but has played in the last 12 games, starting 10.

UP NEXT

Duquesne: Hosts Massachusetts on Sunday.

Dayton: Plays at Rhode Island on Friday.

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay