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Late Night Snacks: Kentucky, Notre Dame roll in their second game of the weekend

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GAME OF THE DAY: Charleston Southern 95, Delaware 93

You like shootouts? So do I. The Buccaneers outlasted the Blue Hens on Sunday afternoon thanks to 24 points, seven boards and six assists from Saah Nimley. Delaware was down six with a little more than a minute left, but four free throws from Devon Saddler cut the lead to two. After a missed free throw with 10.5 seconds left, Delaware’s Jarvis Threatt went coast-to-coast, but he tripped going through the lane and had the shot blocked. No foul was called.

Ten players reached double figures in this one. The two teams combined to hit 24 threes and a total of just 37 fouls were called.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES: 

1) No. 1 Kentucky won another game, this time rolling over Northern Kentucky. Julius Randle finished with 22 points and 14 boards and the Harrisons combined for 29 points. This was the final tune-up for the Wildcats before the Champions Classic on Tuesday.

2) No. 21 Notre Dame waxed Stetson, jumping out to a 51-21 lead at the half.

3) Iowa struggled, but they eventually pulled out an 83-75 win over Nebraska-Omaha. Aaron White led the way with 20 points and 15 boards and Roy Devyn Marble chipped in with 15 points, five boards and four assists. Jarrod Uthoff had nine points and seven boards in his first game as a collegian.

STARRED:

1) UMass picked up a huge non-conference win on Sunday, knocking off Boston College at the TD Bank North Arena in the Coaches vs. Cancer classic. The star for the Minutemen? Cady Lalanne, who finished with 27 points (on 12-15 shooting), 12 boards (eight offensive) and three blocks.

2) Youngstown State finished off a win in the Kennesaw State tournament this weekend, as Kendrick Perry led the Penguins to their third win in three days. Perry finished with 31 points, nine boards and seven assists.

3) Dylon Cormier had 34 points and 11 boards to lead Loyola (MD) to a 93-89 overtime win over Cornell.

STRUGGLED:

1) Oregon State lost to Coppin State in their opener, seemingly the 100th time the Beavers have lost an ugly non-conference game. Players not named Roberto Nelson were 11-33 from the floor and had just 37 points.

2) Florida A&M shot a blistering 32.7% from the floor in their loss to Prince tonight.

3) Doing them one better, Marist finished their 27 point loss to Elon shooting 31.3% from the field and 0-14 from three.

Notables

  • Washington beat Seattle, but Jernard Jarreau had an ugly fall and looks to have hurt himself pretty badly. With a number of front court players out, the Huskies are looking decidely backcourt-centric.
  • Naz Long finished with 26 points and Deandre Kane added 13 points, 11 boards and seven assists as the Cyclones won their opener. They hit 15 threes.
  • I’m sure he’d rather be in Minnesota, but Rakeem Buckles finished with 20 points and 11 boards for FIU.
  • Illinois and Colorado both picked up easy wins, while Jonah Bolden’s 20 points and 10 led Harvard to a win over Holy Cross.

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.