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Marquette receives verbal commitment from 2014 forward Malek Harris

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With a talented five-member recruiting class joining the program this summer, Marquette head coach Buzz Williams has the pieces needed to contend for a Big East title. On Wednesday, the Marquette program landed its first verbal commitment in the 2014 class.

6-7 combo forward Malek Harris (Orland Park, Ill.) verbally committed to attend Marquette (subscription required), as first reported by Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. Harris would later announce the news himself via Twitter.

Harris can be a factor at either forward position due to his size and skill, and his versatility is a trait that has been of high value at Marquette during Williams’ tenure as head coach.

Harris made the decision while on an unofficial visit to Marquette, which made landing Harris a priority throughout the recruiting process. In an interview with Scott Burgess of Chicago Hoops, Harris noted Williams’ straightforward nature in discussing why he committed to Marquette.

“I chose MU because I love it.  I had a gut feeling about it from the start, but I really wanted to get down here and sit down face to face with Buzz (Williams).  He didn’t sell me a dream.  He told me the truth.  I can’t wait for him to be my future head coach!”

Harris could potentially join a front court in 2014 that includes 2013 newcomers Deonte Burton and Jameel McKay, not to mention returnees Juan Anderson and Steve Taylor Jr. That’s not a bad group to have if you’re Marquette.

Raphielle 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: