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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’s Jenkins to return for senior season

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) reacts to play against North Carolina during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After briefly taking part in the NBA Draft evaluation process, Villanova forward Kris Jenkins announced Monday night that he’s decided to withdraw and return to school for his senior year. Jenkins, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Wildcats the win over North Carolina in the national title game, announced the news via Twitter.

2015-16 was a breakout season for Jenkins, who moved into the starting lineup and averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 forward shot 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and with starters Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu graduating he’ll have even more opportunities to produce next season.

Jenkins’ decision to return leaves wing Josh Hart as the lone Wildcats going through the early entry process at this time. Hart was a first team All-Big East selection as a junior, and his return would be the final piece to the puzzle for a team that many expect to be a national title contender in 2016-17.

Jenkins and Hart wouldn’t be the only returnees who had a part in the national title run, with guards Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth, wing Mikal Bridges and forward Darryl Reynolds back as well. To that group Villanova adds Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and a recruiting class anchored by Omari Spellman and Dylan Painter with Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney available after being hampered by injuries last season.

Delaney missed all of last year after undergoing surgical procedures on his hips, and DiVincenzo played a total of 74 minutes over the first nine games before having to sit due to a broken foot.

Florida State guard Rathan-Mayes to return for junior season

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) drives past Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger, left, for a score in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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With their top three scorers from last season all deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, Florida State was facing the possibility of having to rebuild their backcourt ahead of the 2016-17 season. However two of those three have decided to return to Tallahassee, with rising junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes announcing on Monday that he will be back in school.

Rathan-Mayes joins rising sophomore Dwayne Bacon in returning to play another season for head coach Leonard Hamilton, with Malik Beasley hiring representation and remaining in the draft.

Rathan-Mayes had more scoring help last season and as a result was able to concentrate more on the distribution aspects of the point guard position, as he averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per contest. With the return of Rathan-Mayes and Bacon, Florida State will have two of its top three scorers from last season back on campus.

The Seminoles did lose some veteran players, most notably guard Devon Bookert and center Boris Bojanovsky, but the returnees and a recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jonathan Isaac means that they won’t lack for options next season.

Auburn lands third transfer within the last week

Auburn guard T.J. Dunans (4) and coach Bruce Pearl celebrate a 75-74 win over UAB in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.  (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)
Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP
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After receiving commitments from former Purdue/Houston guard Ronnie Johnson and former Presbyterian forward DeSean Murray, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl continued to load up on the transfer market Monday. Forward LaRon Smith, who was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year at Bethune-Cookman last season, announced that he will use his final season of eligibility at the SEC program.

Like Smith, Johnson will also be eligible to compete immediately for the Tigers while Murray will have to sit out next season before having two years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-8 Smith played two seasons at Georgia State before transferring to Bethune-Cookman, where he averaged 7.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest in 2015-16. Smith played just over 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats, shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

Smith reached double figures in scoring in four of the Wildcats’ final seven games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound, three-block outing in an overtime win over North Carolina A&T. He joins a front court in need of depth following the departures of the likes of Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris, with Horace Spencer, Trayvon Reed and incoming freshman Anfernee McLemore also competing for minutes in 2016-17.

SMU lands former Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt

Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt (24) leaps for a layup past Tennessee guard Shembari Phillips (25) during an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Arkansas won 75-65. (Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP
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With a five-member recruiting class set to arrive on campus this summer, SMU added a talented transfer Monday afternoon. Jimmy Whitt, who played his freshman season at Arkansas, committed to join Larry Brown’s program. Whitt, a 6-foot-4 guard from Columbia, Missouri, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016-17 campaign.

As a freshman at Arkansas, Whitt averaged 6.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over 17 minutes of action per game. He reached double figures in scoring nine time, with the high being a 15-point outing in a blowout win over Missouri in mid-January. Whitt produced a stretch of four consecutive games in double figures during non-conference play, but he struggled to maintain that consistency against SEC competition.

At SMU he’ll join a perimeter rotation that will lose rising senior Sterling Brown following the 2016-17 season. Among those who will have eligibility remaining when Whitt becomes eligible are Ben Emelogu, Shake Milton, Jarrey Foster and incoming freshmen Tom Wilson and Dashawn McDowell.

 

Boise State assistant named head coach at Northern Colorado

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Courtesy UNCBears.com
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GREELEY, Colo. (AP) Jeff Linder is the new basketball coach at Northern Colorado. He spent the last six seasons at Boise State, where he was associate head coach for the Broncos since 2013-14.

Linder replaces B.J. Hill, who was fired last month amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of violations in the program.

University President Kay Norton and Athletic Director Darren Dunn announced Linder’s hiring Sunday.

Linder played high school ball in Lafayette, Colorado, and college ball at Mesa State and Western Colorado State. He began his coaching career under Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton.

In a statement, Linder said, “I look forward to returning home to the state of Colorado and continuing to build this program into something everyone can be proud of.”

Hill was 86-98 in six seasons at UNC.