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Late Night Snacks: Villanova, Harvard win in-season tournament titles

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GAME OF THE DAY: Villanova 88, No. 23 Iowa 83 (OT) 

James Bell scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as Villanova came back from 15 down to beat Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game. The win caps a very good three-day run in The Bahamas for Jay Wright’s team, but the same can be said in defeat for Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes. Roy Devyn Marble led Iowa with 24 points, and they’ve got another big one on Tuesday as Notre Dame visits Iowa City as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES: 

1) No. 2 Kansas 67, UTEP 63: By no means was it pretty, but at the very least the Jayhawks managed to leave The Bahamas with a 2-1 mark. Perry Ellis led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds, and it’s clear that this young group has a lot to work on. Andrew Wiggins scored just six points, but he’s got teammates capable of picking up the slack offensively. The question: will he be willing to take over when he’s needed to in the bigger games that lie ahead of Kansas?

2) Pittsburgh 84, Duquesne 67: Pittsburgh capped a 3-0 week with a solid win over city rival Duquesne on Saturday afternoon. And in veterans Lamar Patterson and Cameron Wright head coach Jamie Dixon has two of the most improved players in the country. Patterson finished the game with 18 points, eight rebound, six assists and five steals, with Wright accounting for 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.

3) Ole Miss 79, Penn State 76: The Rebels moved to 6-0 on the season with their win over the Nittany Lions, and the key thing to take out of the 2-0 weekend in Brooklyn is the fact that it wasn’t “The Marshall Henderson Show.” He certainly received his fair share of the publicity, but against Penn State both Jarvis Summers (19 points) and Derrick Millinghaus (14) reached double figures as well. And if Ole Miss is to make a run at a second consecutive NCAA tournament bid they’ll need multiple offensive options to step up.

STARRED: 

1) Prince Okoroh (Howard): Okoroh’s Bison fell 84-79 in overtime to William & Mary but he was outstanding, shooting 15-for-19 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line in scoring 40 points to go along with six rebounds.

2) Kyle Collinsworth (BYU): Collinsworth may have scored just seven points in the Cougars’ 85-74 win over Utah State, but he also accounted for 13 rebounds and eight assists.

3) Jordan Aaron (Milwaukee): 33 points (10-for-14 FG, 7-for-10 3PT) in the Panthers’ 84-79 win over Kansas City.

STRUGGLED: 

1) Xavier: The Musketeers’ 84-78 loss to USC in the seventh place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis capped an 0-3 weekend in The Bahamas, exactly the kind of hit Chris Mack’s team couldn’t afford to take from a resume standpoint.

2) San Francisco’s three-point shooters: The Dons shot 4-for-27 from beyond the arc in their 90-76 loss to Illinois State. Inside of the arc Rex Walters’ team shot 27-for-35 (77.1%).

3) TCU: The Horned Frogs were never in it against Harvard, shooting from the 25% field in the 71-50 defeat.

TOP 25 SCORES: 

  • No. 2 Kansas 67, UTEP 63
  • No. 14 Oregon 91, North Dakota 76
  • Villanova 88, No. 23 Iowa 83 (OT)

NOTABLES: 

  • 6-foot-4 guard Mike Anderson led six players in double figures with 19 points (and 16 rebounds) as Washington held off Long Beach State 92-89 in double overtime.
  • On the day that Georgetown announced Greg Whittington’s dismissal from the program the Hoyas put together a solid second half in their 70-49 win over Lipscomb. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivers led the way with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
  • Harvard took care of business at the Great Alaska Shootout, beating TCU in the title game 71-50. The three wins in Anchorage won’t do much for the Crimson when it comes to a possible NCAA tournament resume, but they avoided the loss that would look really bad come March.
  • Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws combined to score 39 points in BYU’s 85-74 win over Utah State. But it would be wise to not overlook the contributions of some members of the supporting cast, including Eric Mika and Kyle Collinsworth.
  • Kendall Williams went on a personal 8-0 run late in New Mexico’s 73-66 win over San Diego. Williams finished with 28 points and Alex Kirk added 21.
  • Justin Anderson scored 23 points in 23 minutes to help lead Virginia to an 83-63 win over Missouri State that wasn’t all that close. Next up for the Cavaliers is a home game against Wisconsin on Wednesday, and a win would do wonders for their resume.
  • St. John’s rebounded from a sluggish first half to beat Georgia Tech, 69-58, and they’ve got their pressure defense to thank for it.

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
Jon Lopez/Nike
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.