Dewayne Russell, Anthony Marshall

High scoring sophomore guard DeWayne Russell to leave Northern Arizona

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After posting averages of 14.4 point and 3.2 assists per game as a freshman in 2012-13, Northern Arizona guard DeWayne Russell had the look of a player head coach Jack Murphy could build around as he looks to improve the Lumberjacks’ standing within the Big Sky. However that won’t be happening, as it was reported by VerbalCommits.com that Russell has decided to leave the program.

The news was confirmed by multiple outlets, and Russell’s decision comes just three days before NAU opens regular season play at UTSA.

The 5-foot-11 Russell, who hails from Peoria, Ariz., originally committed to attend USC before ultimately landing at NAU. Last season Russell reached double figures (scoring)  in 25 of the Lumberjacks’ 32 games, scoring a career-high 25 points on two separate occasions. Russell’s departure means that NAU will be without their top two scorers from last season, as Gabe Rogers (17.9 ppg) graduated.

Russell scored a team-high 27 points in the Lumberjacks’ lone exhibition, a 92-85 loss to Arizona Christian on October 31. Three other NAU players reached double figures on the night, including freshman guard Kris Yanku (12 points), and he stands to see even more playing time now that Russell has left the program.

Forwards Gaelen Bewernick (6.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Max Jacobsen (9.0, 4.6) are the two returning starters for NAU, with ten newcomers (five junior college transfers) joining the program.

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: