stenger

Xavier forward Erik Stenger sidelined with stomach ailment

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During their three games in The Bahamas last weekend the Xavier Musketeers were shorthanded in the front court, as senior forward Erik Stenger was unable to participate due to an illness. The issues began shortly before the Musketeers left the States, as Stenger underwent medical testing (including bloodwork) after being “unusually lethargic” during practices.

On Thursday it was reported that Stenger could miss the next 2-3 weeks due to a stomach ailment.

“Anytime you hear the word ‘bloodwork,’ you get a little nervous. But Erik’s fine,” Mack said. “I don’t know the technical term for it but he’s got a very aggravated stomach. He’s on medication now. He’s going to be fine. But he’s also going to be out until his blood gets to where it needs to be.”

Stenger played an average of 16 mpg in Xavier’s first four games of the season, posting averages of 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. His season highs in points (nine) and blocks (two) came in the Musketeers’ season-opening win over Gardner-Webb, and he grabbed a season-high seven rebounds in a win over Tennessee.

In their three losses in The Bahamas the Musketeers had some issues in regards to defensive efficiency, with Iowa, Tennessee and USC each scoring at least one point per possession. In no game prior did Xavier allow the opposition to do so. Stenger will help defensively and on the boards, but until he returns the current big men at coach Mack’s disposal will need to step up.

Matt Stainbrook (7.9 rpg) and James Farr (6.2) are the team’s leading rebounders with redshirt freshman Jalen Reynolds adding four rebounds per contest in just over 14 minutes of action per game.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: