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.

Cyclones add big man for 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Head coach Steve Prohm of the Murray State Racers shouts from the sidelines against the Colorado State Rams  during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Iowa State secured its first commitment Wednesday of what will be a pivotal class of forwards in 2017.

KeyShawn Faezell of Mississippi committed to Steve Prohm and the Cyclones, he announced Wednesday.

“After praying to God to lead me in the right path and talking with my dad,” Faezell wrote, “I’ve decided to further my education and basketball career under coach Prohm at Iowa State University.”

Faezell, a 6-foot-9 consensus top-150 forward in the 2017 class, joins wing Terrence Lewis as the first two members of a class that figures to number at least six for ISU. The addition of Faezell is key because ISU will be losing three members of its frontcourt it will likely be leaning on heavily in 2015-16 in Deonte Burton, Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie. A 2016 big man, Cameron Lard, has also yet to enroll in classes this fall due to academic issues, making Faezell’s commitment even more important should Lard be unable to get clearance.

“They need some people to come in and compete,” Feazell told the Ames Tribune. “I think I fit in the program.”

Prohm’s teams dating back to his Murray State days have always been guard-oriented and guard-heavy, but beginning to stack the roster with quality big men will be key as he looks to continue the Cyclones’ success in the Big 12, which includes a school-record five-straight NCAA tournament appearances.

BYU adds commit for 2019

Dave Rose
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BYU added a commitment from a high school senior this week, but the Cougars won’t be seeing him on campus until 2019.

Kolby Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward from Idaho, pledged to BYU on Monday evening, but won’t suit up until after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints, according to the Deseret News.

“I had a great feeling about BYU, and I prayed about it,” Lee told the paper. “I just feel like it’s the right fit for me. It just seems right. It feels right.”

Lee chose BYU over offers from  Utah State, Boise State and UC Davis. He was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and three by Scout.

His decision to forego immediately joining BYU certainly isn’t a new wrinkle for the Cougars, who routinely see their players either delay their initial eligibility or pause it mid-career while serving on missions.

Self pays freshman Jackson a major compliment

Josh Jackson, from Napa, Calif.,, dunks over Nancy Mulkey, from Cypress, Texas, as he competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Freshman phenom production under Bill Self has been something of a contentious topic. Many fault the coach, who has won one national title and 12-straight Big 12 championships, for not developing one-and-done talent to their fullest potential during their single-season stays in Lawrence. Cliff Alexander and Cheick Diallo are Exhibit 1-A and 1-B for this argument in recent years.

Whatever outside criticism there is (Andrew Wiggins did go No. 1 overall just 2 years ago, after all), Self isn’t shying away from hyping the latest freshman with big expectations to come to KU. When asked who the greatest athlete of all-time is at the school’s annual Tradition Night last week, Self had a simple, if tongue-and-cheek, response.

“I’ll say Josh Jackson,” Self said of the the 6-foot-8 shooting guard ranked No. 1 in his class, according to Lawrence Journal-World.

With others answering with the likes of Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, it’s pretty fair to say Self was playing to the crowd with the answer, but it’s still telling that he was willing to deliver such a sound bite, even if it was before a welcoming audience. Self didn’t try to seriously depress expectations for Wiggins, a player Jackson is often compared to, and it looks like he won’t for Jackson as well.

Jackson, though, won’t have the burden Wiggins had as there’s one of the country’s best backcourts in Frank Mason II and Devonte Graham to help shoulder the workload for the Jayhawks.

 

ACC non-commital on HB2 stance

John Swofford
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With North Carolina unwilling to rescind their controversial so-called bathroom bill, the NBA has withdrawn its All-Star Game from the state this year and numerous high-profile music acts have canceled performances as a result.

The ACC is declining to join them with a hard-line, or really any, position.

“We don’t want to damage our league with any premature decisions,” commissioner John Swofford said on The David Glenn Show. “We’ll just see how it plays out.”

The ACC, of course, has quite the presence in the state with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all in the Tar Heel State. Swofford’s comments are sure to draw the interest of the LGBT community, which has roundly been critical of the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, and has recently been active in college athletics, opposing the Big 12’s potential inclusion of BYU in its expansion plans over concerns of the Church of Latter Day Saints school’s honor code.

North Carolina’s bill has also drawn the eye of the NCAA, which is requiring potential championship sights to provide information on local anti-discrimination laws.

One of the loudest voices in the ACC, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has come out against the law.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Coach K said last month.

The Champions Classic renewed through 2019

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Champions Classic is back, baby!!!

On Wednesday, the four schools that participate in the event — Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — announced that they have signed deals to extend the life of the doubleheader for another three years.

This is terrific news. The Champions Classic is always the best early-season event of the season, an annual double-header that always ends up putting together two of the best non-conference games in packed NBA arenas. This year, it features Duke, the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, squaring off with Kansas, who is a consensus top three team with the No. 1 freshman in the class, Josh Jackson, on their roster, in one game.

The other game? Kentucky, the third consensus top three team nationally, going up against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who will be, at worst, a top 15 team in the preseason polls.

So yeah, we’re going to get a pair of sensational basketball games in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15th. MSG also just so happens to be the best arena to watch a great neutral site basketball game.

It’s going to be awesome.

There’s only one possible way to make it better: turn it into a two-day event, with the winners squaring off for the Champions Classic title the following night.

Make it happen.

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

Nov. 14, 2017 (United Center, Chicago)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Michigan State

Nov. 13, 2018 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky

Nov. 12, 2019 (Madison Square Garden, New York)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky