grambling

Late Night Snacks: Grambling snaps a 32-game losing streak

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GAME OF THE DAY: Grambling 83, Central Baptist 75

Grambling finally captured their first win of the season (1-4) as they knocked off NAIA Central Baptist. But, a win is a win for Grambling. The Tigers had lost their last 32 games coming into Monday night, a streak that included the entire 2012-2013 season in which Joseph Price’s team went 0-28. The last time Grambling won was all the way back in March of 2012, when they closed out the regular season with a victory over Alabama A&M.

As I said, a win is a win for Grambling, but keep this in perspective: Central Baptist entered the night 1-7 on the season, and Grambling struggled to beat them. Anything is better than having a zero on the left side of your record, but this game doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the Tigers’ fortunes are changing.

Here’s a stat for you: the last three wins Grambling had during the 2011-2012 season were all on the road. The last time they won at home? January 5th, 2012. They came up three weeks short of going two years between giving their home fans something to cheer about.

I’m not sure how many of those fans were around to actually see the win, however. The referees were more than an hour late.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 8 Duke 85, Gardner-Webb 66

The Blue Devils came out swinging with a solid first half as they got balanced scoring from Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, Quinn Cook and Andre Dawkins in the win over Gardner-Webb as they only top-25 team playing on Monday.

2) Oakland 90, Illinois State 75 52

The Golden Grizzlies moved to 3-9 on the year as Oakland bounces back from a tough loss to Michigan State. Travis Bader had 21 points and 11 rebounds to pace Oakland as the senior had four three-pointers.

3) North Dakota State 85, Delaware 66

In a game that happened to feature the same score as the Duke game, the Bison had 33 from Tayler Braun and 16 points and nine rebounds from Marshall Bjorklund as North Dakota State builds on last week’s Notre Dame win.

STARRED

1) Billy Baron had 31 points and nine rebounds as Canisius earned a road victory over Holy Cross 83-73

2) Drew Crawford had 25 points and nine rebounds in a 86-64 win over Mississippi Valley State. The senior also added five assists.

3) Senior guard Tate Unruh had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead Northern Colorado to another home win, 63-60, over UC Riverside.

STRUGGLED

1) UTEP fell at home to New Orleans, 71-69, as the Miners fell to 4-3 at home on the season.

2) Oral Roberts had 20 turnovers in a road game they could have won in a 74-64 road loss to Akron.

3) Western Carolina only shot 36 percent from the field in a 66-55 loss to Cleveland State.

TOP 25 SCORES

  • No. 8 Duke 68, Gardner-Webb 63

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.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.