Improved offensive showing results in a blowout win for No. 23 Iowa (VIDEO)

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What a difference a day made for both No. 23 Iowa and UTEP in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday night. Iowa struggled offensively for much of the night in their overtime win over Xavier on Thursday, but Fran McCaffery’s team had no such issues against the Miners. As a team the Hawkeyes shot 52.5% from the field with Aaron White (17 points) and Zach McCabe (14) leading four players in double figures in the 89-53 beating.

UTEP was able to confuse Tennessee with a variety of defenses on Thursday, and the Volunteers’ inability to convert shots a close range was also a factor, but they had no such luck against Iowa. Twenty-two of Iowa’s 31 made field goals were of the assisted variety, and they turned the ball over just five times. Iowa advances to Saturday’s final, where they’ll take on either Villanova or No. 2 Kansas, and the win means that Iowa will get a shot at a quality non-conference victory after entering the event without one on their current resume.

Julian Washburn was the lone Miner to reach double figures, scoring 13 points on 4-for-14 shooting. As a team UTEP shot 34.6% from the field and finished with an offensive rebounding percentage of just 15.8%, and given how poorly Tim Floyd’s team shot they needed to find a way to earn some second-chance opportunities. Unable to do so, UTEP suffered their worst loss of the season thus far.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.