Bryce Cotton

Late Night Snacks: Ranked teams finish the night unscathed

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Providence 82, Boston College 78 OT

The Friars got 28 points from Bryce Cotton, seven of which came in the extra frame, as we got a thriller in the first game of the new Big East. BC forced the overtime when Olivier Hanlon, who finished with 23 points before fouling out, finished a three-point play with 18 seconds to tie the game. Cotton airballed a three at the other end, but redeemed himself by scoring four straight points in overtime after the Eagles had opened a 75-72 lead.

A paragraph worth of a recap doesn’t do this game justice, which is precisely what you should expect when Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery are on the call. Ryan Anderson chipped in with 21 points for BC, while LeDontae Henton had 15 points and 13 boards for Providence. Believe it or not, this could end up being an important win in March as both teams should be in NCAA tournament contention in March.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: Fresno State 98, UC-Irvine 97 OT

How do you feel about half-court, overtime buzzer-beaters? Good? Me too. The crazy part about this game is that it capped an insane final minute that saw five lead chances. Five!

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) No. 19 Oregon 82, Georgetown 75: The Ducks got 55 combined points from their five incoming transfers, picking up a key non-conference win over a very good Georgetown team. Josh Smith finished with 25 points in his first game with the Hoyas.

2) No. 18 UConn 78, Maryland 77: Shabazz Napier led the way for the Huskies with 18 points, seven boards and seven assists as UConn held on despite blowing a 17 point lead in the final 10 minutes of the second half.

3) No. 19 Wisconsin 86, St. John’s 75: Five Badgers finished in double-figures as Wisconsin went 11-23 from beyond the arc in a win that they dominated from the start. St. John’s whittled an 18 point lead to four late in the second half, but Wisconsin answered with a pair of threes to push the lead back to 10.

STARRED:

1) Casey Prather doubled his previous career-high as he went for 28 points in No. 10 Florida’s 77-69 win over North Florida. The Gators needed every single one of those buckets, as they are dealing with starting the season short-handed. Patric Young had a dominating, two-point and two-rebound performance.

2) Trevor Cooney went off for 27 points, hitting 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, as No. 8 Syracuse erased an early 14 point deficit in an 82-60 win over Cornell. It’s worth noting that Tyler Ennis went 0-for-6 from the floor but finished with eight boards and seven assists to just two turnovers.

3) Kadeem Jack went for 30 points and 12 boards as Rutgers beat Florida A&M 92-84. The Scarlet Knights have a lot of work to do, but that work is easier when Jack can go for 30.

STRUGGLED:

1) Miami won the ACC regular season and tournament championships a season ago. The Hurricanes kicked off their defense of those titles by losing to St. Francis NY in overtime at home.

2) Kansas State lost their opener at home to Northern Colorado 60-58. You know who didn’t struggle? 6-foot-4 power forward Derrick Barden, who finished with 16 points and 17 boards for UNC.

3) Whoever was guarding Davante Gardner. Marquette’s big man finished the night with 25 points in 23 minutes off the bench, going 5-for-7 from the field and 15-for-20 from the charity stripe. Efficient. Todd Mayo added 20 off the bench in the 63-56 win over Southern.

NOTABLES:

  • In his first game as the point guard for No. 25 Baylor, JuCo transfer Kenny Chery put together 14 points, four assists and just a pair of turnovers in the Bear’s 72-60 win over Colorado. Not an easy thing to do against a team with that much perimeter defensive talent.
  • Aaron Gordon had 13 points, 10 boards and four blocks as No. 6 Arizona beat Cal Poly 73-62.
  • For the first time in Duke history, the Blue Devils had four players — Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon — score 20 points in the same game in their 111-77 win over Davidson.
  • Andrew Wiggins finished with 16 points and just nine FGAs as No. 5 Kansas beat UL-Monroe 80-63.
  • Julius Randle put on a show (23 and 15) but how about Marcus Lee (17 points) and Alex Poythress (10 points, 13 boards) showing out in Kentucky’s win over UNC-Asheville.
  • No. 7 Michigan struggled early, but ran over UMass-Lowell, 69-42, behind 17 points from Caris LaVert.
  • Marcus Smart had a quiet night as his teammates whipped up on Mississippi Valley State by 55 points.
  • Gary Harris finished with 20 points, 10 boards and six assists in a blowout win over McNeese State.
  • Doug McDermott had 20. Creighton dropped 101 and won by 30.
  • St. Mary’s started the year nicely, knocking off Louisiana Tech by 13 behind 28 points from Brad Waldow and 18 points, seven boards and six assists from Stephen Holt.
  • Kyle Anderson had 12 points, 12 boards and seven assists, but UCLA needed Damion Lee to airball a wide-open three with eight seconds left to hang on to a 72-67 win.
  • Buddy Hield had 19 points and Ryan Spangler added 15 points and 12 boards in a come-from-behind win over Alabama, 82-73, in Texas.
  • Bucknell put a scare into Stanford on the road, losing to the Cardinal 72-68.
  • An impressive start to the season for Khem Birch, who had 13 points, 17 boards and four blocks in an ugly win over Portland State. Roscoe Smith added 16 points and 10 boards for UNLV.
  • A cool 28 points and 13 boards for BYU’s Tyler Haws in a dominating win over Weber State.
  • T.J. Warren had 21 of his 27 points in the second half as N.C. State avoided a loss to Appalachian State.
  • Texas picked up a solid win over Atlantic Sun favorite Mercer, 76-73.
  • Florida-Gulf Coast got worked over by Nebraska as the Cornhuskers unveiled their brand new arena. Is #DunkCity still #DunkCity?
  • Anthony Drmic kicked off the season in a nice way, going for 34 points as Boise State scored 116 on Friday.
  • Drake transfer Rayvonte Rice had 22 points and nine boards in his debut for Illinois while Drake transfer Joey King went for 20 in a win for Minnesota.
  • J.J. Mann went for 21 points as Belmont knocked off Lipscomb in the first Battle of the Boulevard between Rick Byrd and Casey Alexander.
  • James Bell and Jayvaughn Pinkston had 46 points combined as Villanova overcame a 1-for-7 night by Ryan Arcidiacono.

Video: Coach K talks Team USA with Dan Patrick

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Team USA has blown through its competition in its first two exhibition games ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro with wins over Argentina and China by a combined a combined 96 points.

Tonight, they’ll have a rematch against China, which they defeated 106-57 on Sunday, but it will also serve as the unofficial debut of Kevin Durant in front of his new hometown fans with the game taking place at the home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

“Excited for Kevin tonight to make his debut in front of the Golden State fans,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “He got a great reception (Monday) at a function. He was, as he should be, warmly welcomed.”

The team has been together since July 18 in the run-up to its first Olympic contest on Aug. 6 against China. For Krzyzewski, a couple of players have made an impression already.

“You see these guys on TV,” the Duke coach said, “but I don’t get a chance to see them in person. (Clipper) DeAndre Jordan is such a good player. A great athlete, a great guy. To see him run, defend, holy mackerel. He’ s really good.

“I haven’t seen Paul George in two years when he had that horrific (leg) injury in Las Vegas at one of our camps, and he’s so darn good. On defense, tremendous.”

It’s on the defensive side of the floor that Coach K believes his team can really make its mark even with the incredible collection of offensive talent the roster has.

“We’re very athletic so defensively we could be a very good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve shown a willingness to want to do that in the first two games.”

As usual, Team USA is the prohibitive favorite to bring back gold for the third consecutive Olympics, which will be Coach K’s last at the helm after taking over after the 2004 bronze medal debacle.

“I’m excited about the team,” he said. “It’s a short time. to see our guys working so hard and they get along so well, I’m excited about the team we might be in Rio. We’ll use tonight to get a little bit better.

“I kind of have the blinders on. You only have a short time. It’s a little over a month, and we want to win the gold medal in Rio.”

Rose’s transfer to BYU becomes official

Ge'Lawn Guyn, L.J. Rose
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His commitment came more than a month ago, but L.J. Rose’s transfer to BYU became official Tuesday.

The former Houston guard was officially announced as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer by BYU on Tuesday. He’ll bring much needed help to a Cougars backcourt that lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer to graduation and Jordan Chatman and Jack Toolson to transfers.

“L.J. will add great experience and talent to our guard line,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement released by BYU. “We’re excited about the leadership he will bring on the court and in the locker room. He will make us a deeper and more versatile team.”

As a junior, L.J. Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists, but a foot injury limited him to just two games last season and allowed him to receive a medical redshirt and the opportunity to be a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season. He’ll be a big part of BYU’s attempt to build on last year’s 26-11 season as a former top-100 recruit, who began his career at Baylor, on a team in need of an infusion of talent after absorbing the losses from last year’s roster.

His father, Lynden, Sr., was a teammate of BYU coach Dave Rose at Houston during the program’s Phi Slama Jama era.

UCLA loses key forward to professional ranks

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks steals the ball from Jonah Bolden #43 of the UCLA Bruins during a 76-68 Ducks win at Pauley Pavilion on March 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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UCLA announced on Tuesday afternoon that Jonah Bolden will be forgoing his college eligibility to turn professional.

“Jonah Bolden has informed the coaching staff that he has opted to play professionally this season,” the release said.

Bolden is a versatile, 6-foot-10 forward with some NBA potential. In his only season playing with the Bruins, he averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 boards while starting 11 games. His ability on the defensive end of the floor was something the UCLA staff was counting on this season.

A sophomore this past season, Bolden was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA as a freshman, meaning that he was allowed to be on scholarship and in class but could not play during the 2014-15 season.

He had two seasons of eligibility remaining. Without Bolden, T.J Leaf will likely be counted on to play more minutes at the four.

D.J. Harvey cuts list to ten schools

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With the July Live Period coming to an end, it’s time for schools to starts deciding who they’re going to target, who they’re going to offer a scholarship to and who they’re going to cut bait with.

At the same time, we’re going to see a flurry of players starting whittling down the number of schools they’re actually considering.

D.J. Harvey was once considered a top ten prospect in the Class of 2017, and while the DeMatha product has seen his stock slide a bit in the last year, he’s still a top 50 player that has a number of power programs knocking on his door.

Over the weekend, he announced that he has cut his list to ten schools: Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Duke, Texas, Villanova, UConn, UCLA, Maryland, Arizona and Louisville.

Rick Pitino: ‘We’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed’

Louisville coach Rick Pitino shouts instructions to his team during the first half of its NCAA college basketball game against Florida State, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Rick Pitino hopped on the air with 93.9 in Louisville recently and discussed the stuff you expect to hear a coach discuss on the radio in July.

He talked about the players that are improving (Jaylen Johnson). He talked about how he’s worried about how his team is going to score next season. He talked about the glut of big men on his roster and how none of them have done much to separate themselves from the pack.

It was all fairly typical.

But this line did catch my eye:

“Defensively, we’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed,” Pitino said. “We’ve pressed a lot in the past but this team is very long, very athletic. I’m very bullish on this basketball team.”

Pitino’s teams have always pressed but he hasn’t been mentioned with the likes of Shaka Smart (Havoc) or Bobby Huggins (Press Virginia) because it isn’t an all-out press. Typically, the Cards run a 2-2-1 zone press that drops back to a half-zone/half-man amalgam that’s designed, in part, to confuse opponents as much as it is to force turnovers.

Is that going to change this year?

It would make some sense. This team is as athletic, long and versatile as any that he’s coached in recent memory. Think about the kind of physical tools that Ray Spalding and Jaylen Johnson and Deng Adel have. Think about what Donovan Mitchell can do if he’s allowed to ball-hawk the way Peyton Siva and Russ Smith did in the past.

This group can cause a lot of problems if they’re allowed to fly around the floor, and it sounds like Pitino may let them do just that.