Late Night Snacks: No. 21 Iowa State remains undefeated

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 21 Iowa State 90, BYU 88

With Melvin Ejim, Dustin Hogue and DeAndre Kane all disqualified in crunch time, Iowa State was on the ropes in Provo. But the Cyclones were able to do enough to hang on, with a Daniel Edozie blocking a Tyler Haws jumper in the final seconds to preserve the lead. Georges Niang scored 19 points and dished out eight assists for Iowa State, which also limited the BYU tandem of Haws and Matt Carlino to 4-for-18 shooting in the second half.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) North Carolina Central 82, N.C. State 72 (OT) 

Levelle Moton’s Eagles earned their first-ever win over an ACC school and the foul line was the difference, as North Carolina Central outscored the Wolfpack by 18 (41-23) from the charity stripe. T.J. Warren scored 13 points before fouling out for the Wolfpack, and when he’s kept relatively quiet N.C. State is going to struggle.

2) No. 20 Baylor 69, Charleston Southern 64

Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson showed up for the Bears, combining for 32 points, 19 rebounds and nine blocked shots to help Baylor hold off Charleston Southern. Brady Heslip added 11 off the bench, while Will Saunders led the Buccaneers with 16 off the bench. Baylor shot just 38.9% inside of the arc, a number that’s a bit low when considering the amount of size at Scott Drew’s disposal.

3) No. 8 Ohio State 63, American 52

Amir Williams (16 points, seven rebounds) and Shannon Scott (13, nine and four assists) led the way for the Buckeyes, who played well enough defensively to take care of the Eagles in Columbus. One concern that needs to be addressed is the recent offensive production of LaQuinton Ross. Ross shot 1-for-7 on Wednesday, and on the season he’s shooting just 26.7% from the field. OSU will need more from Ross when taking on better teams.

STARRED: 

1) Alec Peters (Valparaiso): The Crusaders fell 100-92 at Evansville but Peters’ performance should be noted, as he scored 30 points one day after returning from his hometown of Washington, Ill., which was hit hard by a tornado on Sunday. D.J. Balentine led Evansville with 32 points, four rebounds and three assists.

2) Dylon Cormier (Loyola-MD): 34 points, ten rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Greyhounds’ 89-83 overtime win at UMBC.

3) Zaid Hearst (Quinnipiac): 22 points, 14 rebounds and three assists in the Bobcats’ 71-68 win over Hampton.

STRUGGLED: 

1) Central Arkansas: Turned the ball over 24 times in their 94-57 home loss to Louisiana Tech.

2) N.C. State’s three-point shooting: The Wolfpack shot 3-for-20 from beyond the arc, with players not named Ralston Turner (2-for-8) combining to shoot 1-for-12.

3) Fairfield: Remove Marcus Gilbert (8-for-17) from the equation and the Stags shot just 9-for-34 from the field in their 63-49 loss to Holy Cross.

NOTABLES: 

  • Remember Brendan Lane? The former UCLA Bruin is off to a good start at Pepperdine, with his most recent outing being a 23-point, nine-rebound, six-block effort in the Waves’ 83-77 loss to San Jose State.
  • Another big man who’s played well of late is Cincinnati senior Justin Jackson, who accounted for 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in the Bearcats’ 81-62 win over Campbell.
  • Princeton freshman forward Will Barrett will eventually be one of the best players in the Ivy League. Barrett scored 22 points in the Tigers’ 81-80 overtime win over Lafayette.
  • Dayton moved to 4-0 with an 82-72 win at Georgia Tech. Next up for the Flyers is an appearance in the Maui Invitational, which should give them a shot at at least one quality win (if not more).
  • Dave Sobolewski scored 25 points to lead Northwestern to an easy win at UIC, 93-58.
  • Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi were excellent in the Crimson’ 86-68 win over Bryant, with Saunders going for 25 points and Moundou-Missi 23 (he also had nine rebounds and four blocks).
  • Talib Zanna scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Pittsburgh to a 77-58 win over Lehigh.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.

Michigan lands four-star 2018 forward Ignas Brazdeikis

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Michigan added to an already strong Class of 2018 recruiting haul on Friday night as four-star forward Ignas Brazdeikis pledged to the Wolverines on Twitter.

The 6-foot-8 Canadian was one of the premier scorers in the Nike EYBL this past spring and summer playing with CIA Bounce as Brazdeikis averaged 21.1 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor. Well-rounded outside of his scoring, Brazdeikis also put up 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while also showing a workable jumper that was 26 percent from three-point range.

With the job that Michigan head coach John Beilein has done developing forwards, most recently with the rapid improvement of players like D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner, it’ll be fascinating to see how Brazdeikis will look at the college level after some time on campus. Beilein’s offense is favorable for skilled forwards with a penchant for scoring and Brazdeikis could end up being a tremendous fit for the Wolverines.

Brazdeikis becomes the fourth member of Michigan’s Class of 2018 recruiting haul as he joins four-star forward Brandon Johns, four-star guard David Dejulius and three-star forward Taylor Currie.

Sex assault count dropped against ex-Creighton player Watson

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped a first-degree sexual assault charge against former Creighton point guard Maurice Watson after questions arose about the accuser’s story.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced Friday that his office had dropped the felony charge, filed earlier this year when a 19-year-old woman accused Watson of assaulting her early Feb. 4 at a party in an Omaha home. Watson has denied that allegation.

The 24-year-old Watson pleaded no contest Friday to misdemeanor assault for an encounter the same night with a different Creighton student, who said Watson touched her thigh and tried to make her touch his genitals. Watson was sentenced to the five days he’d already served in jail.

Watson was a senior when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, just days before the party.

Storm damage forces Paradise Jam out of Virgin Islands

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MIAMI (AP) — The Paradise Jam basketball tournament will not be played in the U.S. Virgin Islands this year because of damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

The tournament will be played in the U.S., with a new site expected to be announced by Sept. 29.

The Paradise Jam field this year includes Wake Forest, Colorado, Drake, Drexel, Houston, Liberty, Mercer and Quinnipiac, and each of those schools was given the chance to bid for the right to host the tournament.

Tournament officials say they looked at multiple other options, such as moving to another island and using a cruise ship for accommodations, before deciding to move the event to the U.S.

For now, the tournament is scheduled to be played from Nov. 17-20.

Kentucky lands commitment from five-star point guard

Immanuel Quickley (USA Basketball)
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Kentucky landed a commitment from Immanuel Quickley on Friday night, a top ten prospect and arguably the best point guard in the Class of 2018.

Quickley picked the Wildcats over Kansas, who he visited earlier this month, and Miami, who he was scheduled to visit before Hurricane Irma struck south Florida.

The 6-foot-3 point guard is the first commitment in the class of head coach John Calipari, and it really comes as no surprise. He’s been considered a Kentucky lean for months, and Quickley played for Calipari on the USA U19 team during the 2017 FIBA World Cup.

While Quickley has the size and the build – he’s 180 pounds with broad shoulders and long arms – of some of Kentucky’s former elite point guards, he’s not the same kind of point guard as, say, De’Aaron Fox or John Wall. He’s more of a smooth athlete than an explosive one, and while his long strides allow him to get out into transition, he’s not the finisher at the rim that those two were. What he is, however, is an intelligent player. He’s good in ball-screens, he’s an excellent passer and facilitator and he is a good enough shooter that he forces defenses to stay honest. He also has the potential to be a plus defender given his physical tools and the fact that he’ll try on that end of the floor.

Where this commitment gets interesting is the current point guard in Kentucky’s back court, Quade Green. Green was a five-star recruit in his own right, but he’s not quite built as a potential one-and-done prospect. Calipari has maneuvered through two point guards in the past, and each of the last five national champions have played major minutes with two point guards on the floor at the same time, but if Green is back next season that will be something to monitor.

That, however, is a long ways away.

What matters now is that Kentucky has gotten this commitment out of the way, and it paves the way for them to also receive a commitment from Zion Williamson. There has long been talk of those two attending college together, and with Quickley on the board, that likely keeps Kentucky in the driver’s seat as they pursue the South Carolina native.

If Kentucky can also wrangle a commitment out of R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 player in the 2018 recruiting class, that would likely be the end of the discussion of whether or not Duke has surpassed the Wildcats on the recruiting trail.