Late Night Snacks: UConn and Florida go down to the wire

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 12 UConn 65, No. 15 Florida 64

Duh.

Shabazz Napier knocked in two ridiculous clutch shots, including a buzzer-beater in which he went 1-for-2 on the trip, in UConn’s 65-64 win over Florida.

It was a tremendous back-and-forth early-season clash of top-15 teams, and although there were a few too many turnovers, there was a lot of high-level play from both sides when the game went to crunch time.

Florida lost a tough one, but I also wrote about what there is to like about the Gators after the one-point road loss to a tough opponent like UConn.

CBT’s Rob Dauster also asked how good UConn really is at this point.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Texas 70, Vanderbilt 64

This one got really interesting in the final minutes as Vanderbilt cut a 13-point second-half deficit to one with under a minute remaining, but the Longhorns held on and pulled off the home win in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

You can read more on the Longhorns in this one with my take on CBT here.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Oklahoma had all five starters finish in double-figures as the Sooners improved to 6-1 (5-0 at home) with a 96 to 82 win over Mercer. Ryan Spangler led the way as the sophomore forward put up 20 points and 13 rebounds.

2) Georgia continued to climb back towards .500 with a home blowout of Chattanooga 87-56. The Bulldogs are 3-4 now on the season and got 14 first-half bench points from junior forward Nemanja Djurisic as Georgia went 14 deep for at least seven minutes of playing time. Can this effort help propel Georgia to play more consistently?

3) California picked up a 73-56 home win over UC Irvine as center David Kravish went for 19 points and 10 rebounds and Richard Soloman went for 13 points and eight rebounds. The win helps the Golden Bears bounce back from a 1-2 Maui Invitational.

STARRED

1) West Virginia’s balanced scoring effort led them to a 96-47 thrashing of Loyola (Md.). The Mountaineers held a 62 to 22 advantage on the glass and slowed down Dylon Cormier — the nation’s second leading scorer at 28.1 points per game — to 11 points as he was the only Greyhound in double-figures.

2) SMU scored plenty in their 88-59 win over McNeese State, but the Mustangs only had two double-digit scorers in a balanced effort. Point guard Nic Moore had 15 points and Ben Moore chipped in 12 as 11 players saw double-digit minutes.

3) Loyola Marymount picked up a nice road win over UC Riverside. The Lions are now 6-2 and 3-1 on the young season and Gabe Levin had 13 points and 14 rebounds while Anthony Ireland went for a team-high 16 points.

STRUGGLED

1) Wright State, a preseason favorite in the Horizon League, is now 5-4 as the Raiders lost to Youngstown State 74-69. Wright State missed the front end of 1-and-1s in the game’s final five minutes.

2) Quinnipiac blew a halftime lead at home and was outscored 37-30 in the second half as they fell to Boston 69-66 on Denzel Irving’s three-pointer with three seconds remaining. Boston moved to 6-2 on the year while Quinnipiac is now 4-2.

3) Western Kentucky trailed by two at the half to Bowling Green on the road but gave up a 15-0 lead early in the second half of a game they never came close to competing in. The Hilltoppers are 4-3 and still seeking their first road win of the year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 19 Iowa State blew past Auburn 99-60. The Cyclones had 28 assists on the night in the impressive home win.

NOTABLES

  • Seattle junior guard Isiah Umipig had 30 points in a win over UC Davis. The stat-sheet stuffing guard is averaging 18 points, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game this season.
  • Troy needed two overtimes to topple Alcorn State 73-70.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.

Blue Ribbon release college basketball preseason top 25, all-american teams

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Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.

Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.

What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.

Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.

But that will all play out during the season.

And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.

That was a miss.

It happens to the best of us.

But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.

Dayton freshman Toppin ineligible for 2017-18 season

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Dayton announced Tuesday afternoon that one of the program’s incoming freshmen will not be eligible to compete this season. 6-foot-8 forward Obadiah Toppin has been ruled by the NCAA to have not met initial eligibility requirements, and he will have to sit out the 2017-18 season as a result.

Toppin will be allowed to remain a member of the team and participate in practices, and he will have four seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018-19 season. While the NCAA’s decision leaves the Flyers short a front court option in head coach Anthony Grant’s first season at the helm, it did not come as a surprise.

“We knew this was a possible scenario for Obi early on in the recruiting process,” Grant said in the release. “And if it came to pass, we saw this as a chance for him to utilize this year acclimate as a student and enhance his strength and skill as an academic redshirt. This is a great opportunity for Obi to develop as a player and student over the next 12 months, and prepare himself for a very successful college career.”

Toppin, who averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game at Mt. Zion Academy last season, is one of five freshmen who have joined the program. Matej Svoboda and Jordan Pierce will look to earn minutes alongside returnees Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams, and the same can be said for redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo.

Toppin being declared ineligible is the third hit Dayton has taken to its front court this offseason. Ryan Mikesell, who played in 32 games last season, will redshirt after undergoing two hip surgeries. And Sam Miller, who was also part of the team’s front court rotation last season, was suspended from school for the fall semester after he was arrested during the summer.