James Dickey

Houston still waiting to hear about Chicken Knowles’ eligibility

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Danrad “Chicken” Knowles was a four-star forward, ranked No. 54 overall in the Class of 2012 by Rivals. Last season, he was expected to be an impact freshman for the Houston Cougars, in program’s final season of Conference USA play, however he was ruled academically ineligible and was forced to miss the entire 2012-2013 season.

Houston, now a member of the newly-formed American Athletic Conference, begins the season on Friday, and the eligibility status of the 6-foot-9 forward is still in question, according Joseph Durante of the Houston Chronicle.  Knowles will sit out Tuesday night’s exhibition game against the University of St. Thomas.

UH officials said they would have no further comment, citing federal student privacy laws. It remains unclear whether the university will hear from the NCAA before Friday’s season opener against Texas State.

James Dickey lost leading scorer Joseph Young, who transferred to Oregon, but does return a talented front court that includes junior TaShawn Thomas and sophomore Danuel House. The addition of Baylor transfer L.J. Rose, who was granted immediate eligibility in August, takes a little bit of the sting away from losing Young, as he teams up with Jherrod Stiggers in the back court.

Houston hosts Texas State on Friday for a 9 p.m. start.

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: