In case there was any question as to how much Oregon State would miss the suspended front court tandem of Devon Collier and Eric Moreland, we found out on Sunday night.
Collier and Moreland combined to average 22.0 points and 16.6 points per game last season, and without those two the Beavers struggled mightily on offense in their 78-73 loss to Coppin State. Senior Roberto Nelson established a new career high with 36 points on 12-for-26 shooting, but the rest of the team combined to shoot just 33.3% (11-for-33) from the field.
Angus Brandt, making his return to the court after missing most of last season with a torn ACL, scored 13 points and Victor Robbins added 11, but the majority of the scoring from Oregon State players other than Nelson came in the latter stages of the contest. Coppin State certainly deserves credit for the result, with point guard Taariq Cephas dishing out eight assists and Sterling Smith (21 points) and Arnold Fripp (17 points, nine rebounds) leading the way offensively.
And despite Oregon State’s status, this is an important victory for Fang Mitchell’s program when you consider the fact that the Eagles entered Sunday 0-16 all-time against Pac-12 opponents. And there’s also the matter of how poorly the MEAC as a whole has performed against “power conference” programs over the last two seasons.
The good news for Oregon State is that Collier will return from his suspension on Wednesday night when the Beavers host Portland, but this result does nothing for head coach Craig Robinson in a pivotal season for the program.
Oregon State was picked by the coaches to finish 10th in the Pac-12 this season, so the struggles are somewhat predictable. But these are the games a program looking to establish itself cannot afford to lose. In a conference that’s expected to be better this season (and also doesn’t lack for “hot seat” candidates), Oregon State needs all the wins they can get before league play starts in January.
And in order to turn things around, it’s quite obvious that they need some players to step up offensively to help Nelson with the heavy lifting.
Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.
On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.
One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.
As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).
And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.
While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.
And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.
St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.
Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.
St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.
The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?