Late Night Snacks: Arizona State earns big home win

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GAME OF THE DAY: Arizona State 79, Marquette 77

The Sun Devils earned a nice home win over a top-25 opponent as the No. 25 Golden Eagles lost a tough one after a second-half comeback. Jordan Bachynski had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks, as he swatted Derrick Walton’s runner at the end of the game to secure the victory for undefeated Arizona State (6-0).

The Sun Devils had 23 points from Jahii Carson and 21 points from Jermaine Marshall as well in the win.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 75, Minnesota 67

The Orange only led in this one by two points, 67-65 before pulling away at the end. Syracuse led most of this game despite a so-so effort from Tyler Ennis, who was 1-for-9 from the field, but 10-of-11 from the free throw line and had five assists and no turnovers and five steals.

C.J. Fair had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Syracuse while Trevor Cooney contributed 15. The No. 8 Orange advance to the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, where they’ll face California.

THE UPSET?: Dayton 84, No. 11 Gonzaga 79

The Flyers scored 56 second half points to erase a Gonzaga lead and advance in the Maui Invitational. They will play Baylor on Tuesday. More importantly, this was a potentially disastrous loss for Gonzaga. Read why here.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) In the opening battle of undefeated teams in the Maui Invitational, Cal outlasted Arkansas 81-72 as the Bears showed that they have multiple scorers from multiple places on the floor. Senior guard Justin Cobbs is developed in the mid-range and in the post, senior Richard Soloman and junior David Kravish can both add some scoring punch. Kravish had 19 points and 15 rebounds for Cal and Bird was 3-for-4 behind the three-point for 15 points to lead five Golden Bears in double figures.

2) The No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats held on for a 68-61 win over Cleveland State despite not shooting the ball very well from deep. The Wildcats were only 21 percent from three and the Harrison twins struggled until the final minutes of the game. 

3) BYU held off Texas 86-82 and are off to a 5-1 start an advance to face Wichita State in the championship game of the CBE in Kansas City thanks to a 23-point second-half performance by Tyler Haws. Haws had 25 for the game and scored the go-ahead bucket with under two minutes remaining to give BYU a solid neutral site win against Texas. BYU will likely be the road team against a very pro Shockers crowd in the championship game.

STARRED

1) The N0. 17 Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the young season with a 110-51 thrashing of UMKC at home. Twelve different players scored for Iowa State and they all played at least six minutes in the balanced scoring attacking for the Cyclones.

2) No. 5 Oklahoma State cruised to a 93-67 road win over South Florida as Marcus Smart and Markel Brown each had 25 points.

3) The No. 7 Buckeyes pulled away from Wyoming for a 65-50 home win. Lenzelle Smith had 20 points and eight rebounds while Amir Williams had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

1) Elon, one of the preseason favorites for the Southern Conference, lost 75-74 at home to Division II Metro State. Metro State nearly beat Rhode Island earlier this season.

2) DePaul allowed No. 12 Wichita State to shoot 59 percent from the field and only had four assists total in a 90-72 loss in the CBE semifinals in Kansas City.

3) Providence shot 27 percent from the field and only 18 percent from three-point range as they struggled to score in their 56-52 loss to Maryland in the opening round of the Paradise Jam. The loss was the first for the Friars on the season.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  •  The No. 15 Gators had 27 points from Casey Prather as Florida cruised to an 86-60 win over Jacksonville.
  • In the Maui Invitational, the No. 18 Baylor Bears defeated Division II host Chaminade 93-77.

NOTABLES

  • Xavier cruised past Abilene Christian 93-65 as Semaj Christon had 17 points and six assists.
  • Missouri outlasted IUPUI 78-64 as Jabari Brown finished with 24 points for the 5-0 Tigers.
  • Kyle Fuller pumped in 20 points to lead Vanderbilt to a 77-68 win over St. Mary’s at the Paradise Jam.

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.