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Late Night Snacks: Three ranked teams fall on Sunday

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GAME OF THE DAY: Belmont 83, No. 12 North Carolina 80

Thanks to a J.J. Mann three-pointer in the game’s final seconds the Bruins knocked off the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. For the game Belmont hit 15 three-pointers on 37 attempts, and that combined with some incredibly poor foul shooting led to North Carolina’s demise. James Michael McAdoo scored 27 points to lead UNC offensively, while Mann led all scorers with 28. 

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) Iowa State 77, No. 7 Michigan 70: Both Melvin Ejim (Iowa State) and Mitch McGary (Michigan) made their season debuts on Sunday, and in the end it was Ejim and the Iowa State balance that won out. Ejim led five Cyclones in double figures with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Nik Stauskas led the Wolverines with 20. Michigan will now go through the process of re-adjusting to having McGary in the rotation, and they’ll be a better team as they do so.

2) Indiana State 83, No. 21 Notre Dame 70: Just a couple days after dropping a tough decision at Belmont, Indiana State rebounded in a big way in South Bend. Greg Lansing’s team hit 11 three-pointers, putting together a performance that illustrated why many expect Jake Odum and company to be Wichita State’s biggest threat in the Missouri Valley. As for Notre Dame, they need to tighten things up defensively if they’re to be a factor in the ACC.

3) No. 1 Kentucky 87, Robert Morris 49: While some may choose to focus on the whole “revenge” factor, last season’s Postseason NIT meeting had little to do with this matchup. The key for Kentucky: come out focused from the start after watching Michigan State score the first ten points of Tuesday’s showdown in Chicago and that’s what the Wildcats did, scoring ten of the first 11 points and never looking back. And Aaron Harrison rebounded from a rough game on Tuesday, scoring a game-high 28 points to lead the way.

STARRED:  

1) Olivier Hanlan (Boston College): 38 points (11-for-19 FG), four rebounds and two assists in the Eagles’ 82-79 win over Florida Atlantic.

2) Devon Collier (Oregon State): 29 points and 11 rebounds in Oregon State’s 90-83 win at Maryland, providing quite the supplement to Roberto Nelson’s 31-point, seven-assist performance.

3) Eron Harris (West Virginia): 33 points (12-for-19 FG) and six rebounds in the Mountaineers’ 96-83 win over Duquesne.

STRUGGLED: 

1) Northwestern. Chris Collins’ Wildcats trailed by as many as 18 points before mounting a rally against Illinois State that fell four points short, 68-64.

2) North Carolina at the foul line. UNC shot a poor 22-for-48 from the foul line in a three-point loss, with J.P. Tokoto going 4-for-16.

3) Towson. Three days after beating Temple the Tigers struggled mightily against Villanova, shooting 30.9% from the field and committing 24 turnovers.

NOTABLES: 

  • DeAndre Daniels scored 24 points to lead No. 19 UConn to a 77-60 win over Boston University. But the Huskies will need more from him on the glass, as through four games the junior has just ten rebounds.
  • K.J. McDaniels finished three blocks short of a triple-double, tallying 21 points, ten rebounds and seven blocks in Clemson’s 71-57 win over rival South Carolina.
  • Ronnie Johnson scored 16 points to lead four Boilermakers in double figures as Purdue held off Rider, 81-77.
  • No. 17 Gonzaga shot 11-for-20 from three in their 82-67 win over Oakland. Kevin Pangos hit five, finishing with a team-high 21 points.
  • Freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss led Washington to a 92-80 comeback victory over Eastern Washington with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.
  • TaShawn Thomas is one of the American’s best big men, and he had another productive day in Houston’s 80-66 win over Lehigh. Thomas finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks.
  • Marcus Foster’s taken the reins for Kansas State as the Wildcats adjust to life without Rodney McGruder. In K-State’s 71-58 win over Long Beach State, Foster scored a game-high 17 points one game after scoring 25 in a win over Oral Roberts.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.