Kevin Willard

Niagara/Seton Hall tilt falls short of NCAA fouls records

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When the NCAA announced the approved rules changes for college basketball back in June, many wondered what the impact would be. With the amount of contact allowed to be limited, naysayers foresaw a day in which a game would go well beyond the usual two-hour timeframe with a seemingly endless parade to the foul line being more memorable than the game itself.

If there’s anything to be learned from Seton Hall’s 83-72 victory over Niagara, it’s that players, coaches and officials will have some adjusting to do during the early portion of the season.

The Purple Eagles and Pirates combined to commit 73 fouls and attempt 102 free throws, with a total of six players fouling out of the game. Four of those six played for Niagara, with four Seton Hall players finishing the game with four personal fouls apiece (Patrik Auda and Brandon Mobley fouled out). And of the 23 players who saw action just one managed to not pick up a foul: Niagara freshman guard David Varoli, who played a grand total of two minutes.

But for all the fouls called at the Prudential Center (40 in the first half), the game didn’t come all that close to establishing a new NCAA record. The records for both combined fouls and combined free throw attempts were both set back on January 26, 1953, when Arizona and Northern Arizona engaged in a hack-fest for the ages.

That game featured a combined 84 fouls and 130 free throw attempts, and for as aggravating as Saturday evening’s game between Niagara and Seton Hall was for all involved those records may not fall anytime soon. Then again, there’s still plenty of time for these new rules to leave their mark in the record book.

As for the scoring, Texas transfer Sterling Gibbs paced the winners with a career-high 23 points (17-for-23 from the foul line) while Niagara’s Antoine Mason picked up where he left off last season with a game-high 34.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.