Despite lack of size, Bonzie Colson has proven to be a high-major forward this summer in the EYBL

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At 6-foot-5 Bonzie Colson isn’t the typical high-major power forward. Yet this summer playing with the renowned Boston Amateur Athletic Club (BABC), he cemented himself as a breakout prospect in the Class of 2014.

Colson was already in the middle of a solid 2013 year after averaging 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.5 blocks this season as a junior at St. Andrew’s School (R.I.), earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors. He was a New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AA first team selection, and would have led the Saints to the Class AA title if it weren’t for this play.

However, he attributes the rise in his recruitment to playing on the EYBL circuit.

“I think the biggest thing was the EYBL,” Colson told NBC Sports in July. “Last year I was suppose to play in California, but I didn’t have the chance because I had school.”

Colson got that chance this time around, manning the BABC frontline — a spot that has been held in previous summers by the likes of Nerlens Noel, Georges Niang and Alex Oriakhi. All of those alums stand 6-foot-7 or taller, and despite being several inches shorter Colson was able to help BABC qualify for the Peach Jam while averaging 18.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

“He’s been in the program and this year was just his year to assume those responsibilities,” BABC coach Leo Papile told NBC Sports in a phone interview last week. “In our system, the four is a guy that we go to a lot in the pick-and-roll.

“He’s an undersized power forward, but he has extraordinary length and reach. All those factors with his craftiness led him to be one of the best scoring power forwards.”

He isn’t over quick or athletic, but Colson is crafty. He scores in a variety of ways. He is good at getting his defender off balance, which can help create space to face up and shot or he can draw contact when driving to the basket. He wasn’t just one of the more efficient scorers in the EYBL, he was the league’s most efficient player with a 29.89 player efficiency rating (PER).

“He is very productive, high field goal percentage, low turnover, high-volume rebounder,” Papile added. “All those numbers lend to a solid offensive player.”

Colson’s skill set help make up for his lack of size in the post, but his willingness to do the little things also make him an even more intriguing college prospect.

“I’m more in shape now,” Colson said. “I’m working on doing the things that people don’t usually do on the court like taking charges and helping out on defense.”

Now at the end of the summer, Colson currently holds offers from multiple ACC schools such as Florida State, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, as well as programs like Iowa State, Minnesota, Temple and his father’s alma mater Rhode Island.

According to Papile, Colson is leaning towards taking visits to Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, though, nothing is scheduled at the moment. He has the luxury of having Papile, St. Andrew’s coach Mike Hart — who coached Philadelphia 76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams — and his father, Bonzie, Sr. — who has been both a high school recruit, as well as an assistant coach at URI, George Washington and Boston College — guiding him through the recruiting process.

This summer, after logging major minutes in the EYBL, going up against some of the top posts players in the nation, Colson went from little-known recruit to high-major prospect.

“I got the chance to play with some of the best competition in the country, and it paid off for me,” Colson added.

UMBC becomes first No. 16 seed to beat No. 1 seed in beatdown of Virginia

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UMBC made sports history on Friday night by becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The America East champions pulled off a shocking 74-54 upset over No. 1 seed Virginia in the South Region.

The Retrievers (25-10) not only made history by beating a No. 1 seed — they also knocked off the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament in dominating fashion. Tied at the half, UMBC jumped out to a double-digit lead and maintained its dominance throughout the second half by consistently knocking down three-pointers and keeping the pressure on.

Senior guard Jairus Lyle, the team’s hero in the America East title game, finished with 28 points to pace the Retrievers as he went 9-for-11 from the field.  Joe Shurburne (14 points), Arkel Lamar (12 points) and K.J. Maura (10 points) also finished in double-figures for UMBC, as they extended its winning streak to six games.

Virginia (31-3) won the ACC regular season by four games. They took the league’s conference tournament as well. The Cavaliers were the most consistent team in college basketball this season. The Cavaliers lost sixth man DeAndre Hunter to the season with an injury earlier in the week. They were still a heavy favorite in this game.

But Virginia struggled to knock down three-pointers. It was clear Virginia started playing scared once the upset became apparent. And that’s how once of the biggest upsets in sports history went down. Sophomore guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome led Virginia with 15 points each.

Virginia shot only 41 percent (23-for-56) from the field and 19 percent (4-for-22) from three-point range as they couldn’t find consistent offense or a go-to player.

UMBC advances to battle No. 9 seed Kansas State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats advanced earlier on Friday night with a balanced effort in a win over No. 8 seed Creighton.

UMBC social media won the night as much as the basketball team

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The eyes of the sports world are on UMBC. Cinderella has arrived.

The No. 16 seed shocked No. 1 seed Virginia by double digits on Friday night as the Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

UMBC’s basketball team wasn’t the only group from the school ready to go on Friday night.

The school’s social media presence was trolling everyone and showing tons of swagger as the Retrievers built a second-half double-digit lead on Virginia.

The UMBC Athletics account called out pundits, trolled doubters and had fun with fans during a special moment in sports history.

Some examples:

Now that the historic win has gone down, UMBC, and their social media account, have become immortal.

No. 1 Xavier takes down No. 16 Texas Southern

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Xavier got off to a slow start, but rallied to run past No. 16 Texas Southern for a 102-83 NCAA tournament victory on Friday night in the West Region.

The Musketeers (29-5) had huge performances from seniors Trevon Bluiett (26 points) and J.P. Macura (29 points) as the duo combined for seven three-pointers and 35 points in the first 20 minutes. The duo ended up getting a third major scorer in the second half when senior big man Kerem Kanter stepped up his play. Kanter ended up with 24 points.

Xavier shot 45 percent (11-for-24) from three-point range and 54 percent from the field (35-for-64) in the win.

Texas Southern (16-20) went on a 16-0 run at one point in the first half to take a 20-13 lead. The Tigers had the momentum, but things quickly turned the other way when Xavier responded with its own 16-0 flurry.

The Tigers had five double-figure scorers, led by point guard Damontrae Jefferson with 20 points, but they couldn’t get stops on the other end. Guard Derrick Bruce finished with 18 points while Robert Lewis (14 points), Donte Clark (12 points) and Trayvon Reed (10 points) also finished in double-figures.

The Tigers started this season 0-13 as they lost all road games against tough competition. The SWAC champions rallied to win eight straight games before the NCAA tournament and put up an admirable fight before falling to the Big East regular season champions.

Xavier moves on to face the winner of No. 8 seed Missouri and No. 9 seed Florida State as the Musketeers could have a tough matchup against either team.

No. 4 seed Auburn survives off-night, beats No. 13 Charleston

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Auburn did everything they possibly could to become the third No. 4 seed to fall to a No. 13 seed in their first round game of the NCAA tournament.

Charleston, who was essentially playing without their best player, Joe Chealey, who was a shell of himself as he battled an ankle injury, turned the ball over 21 times and shot 5-for-22 from beyond the arc and still managed to find a way to be ahead in the final three minutes.

The Tigers, who are eighth in the country in free throw shooting percentage, made just 15-of-32 from the charity stripe. They missed all 13 threes they shot in the first half — a first for the program in Bruce Pearl’s tenure — and finish the night just 5-for-24 from beyond the arc while shooting 35.6 percent from the floor.

After Bruce Brown missed a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, Charleston’s Grant Riller had a shot to tie the game. He missed, Auburn finally made a free throw down the stretch, and the Tigers escaped with a 62-58 win that they barely deserved.

The most important part of that sentence, however, is “win”.

There’s a reason that the saying in March is “survive and advance”. As long as you survive, as long as you live to advance and play another day, there’s always a chance.

I don’t think there is a single player on that Auburn roster, on the Auburn coaching staff or in the state of Alabama that will believe that the way they played on Friday night will be enough to get this team — who were co-champions of the SEC that went wire to wire in first place in the league — where they want to be this year. And to be frank, with the injury to Anfernee McLemore and the shoulder issue that is plaguing Bruce Brown, there’s a chance that this team may be too beaten down to make any kind of serious run in March.

But they’re still here.

Hope is still alive.

And that counts for something.

Miles Bridges goes into takeover mode as No. 3 Michigan State survives Bucknell

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It took a while for No. 3 seed Michigan State to get into a rhythm, but once they did, Bucknell, the Patriot League champs, didn’t have enough of an answer.

After heading into halftime with just a 44-40 lead, the Spartans held Bucknell to just 14 points in the first 16 minutes of the second half, pushing their lead as high as 18 points in an 82-78 win. The Bison hit a flurry of shots in the final seconds to make the final score look much more flattering than the second half actually was.

For Michigan State, however, the story of this game was Miles Bridges.

Oft-derided this season as a talent that couldn’t take over when his team needed him to, a player that was said to have “no game” by Big Ten expert that shall remain nameless, the NBC Sports Preseason Player of the Year took over against Bucknell. He finished with 29 points, nine boards and four assists, taking 22 shots from the floor with just seven of them coming from beyond the arc.

He went into takeover mode without simply settling for jumpers.

And that is when the Spartans end up at a different level. That’s when they reach their peak, and if we are going to see that Bridges for the rest of the NCAA tournament, then maybe — just maybe — this team has a chance to live up to the potential we all bestowed upon them at the start of the season.

The Spartans will advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where they will face off with the winner of tonight’s No. 6 TCU-No. 11 Syracuse game.