UNC Wilmington Old Dominion Basketball

Appeal denial ends ODU guard Donte Hill’s college career

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Two months after learning that his initial appeal of the decision that cost him a season of eligibility was denied, Old Dominion guard Donte Hill’s final appeal has met the same fate as announced by the ODU athletic department.

That means Hill, who averaged 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season, has played his final game as a Monarch. The issue that cost Hill a season of eligibility was his playing in a closed scrimmage at Clemson just before deciding to transfer to ODU in 2010. Hill played eight minutes in that scrimmage, and they turned out to be a costly eight minutes at that.

“I am very disappointed by the NCAA’s decision to deny my appeal, as I was hopeful there would have been reconsideration for my case, I am very appreciative of the efforts on my behalf by Old Dominion,” said Hill in the release. “I enjoyed my time here and I will be a Monarch forever.”

Rules certainly have to be followed, but this ruling seems very harsh. In a climate of enforcement that has “successfully” managed to confuse the very adults asked to make sure their schools are compliant with NCAA rules, we’re to expect a student-athlete to automatically know that playing in a scrimmage could potentially cost him a full season of eligibility?

A similar situation involving former Montana State forward Mohamed Fall occurred last spring, when his playing in two junior college showcases counted as a full season due to the fact that he turned 21 before enrolling at the Big Sky school.

If the powers that be want to hold out an “offending” party for a few games as a trade-off for being allowed to play their senior seasons, then fine. Not exactly ideal, but at least a player like Hill or Fall would be able to finish their careers on the court.

But taking away a player’s entire season over eight minutes? As many pointed out back in June when the initial decision regarding Hill’s status was made, the NCAA has far bigger fish to fry. Or at least they should.

On the bright side, at least Hill leaves ODU with his degree.

“Obviously, this news is extremely disappointing to our staff and team and of course to  Donte,”  ODU head coach Jeff Jones said. “He had a short, but successful career at ODU and more importantly has his sociology degree from the university.

“Donte is a great representative of the ideals the NCAA encourages in its student athletes. We know Donte has a bright future ahead of him.”

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.