Florida

Late Night Snacks: Florida beats Memphis inside Madison Square Garden

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 16 Florida 77, No. 15 Memphis 75

The Gators looked like they would cruise in the final minutes of second half, but the Tigers charged back. Joe Jackson had a chance to tie, but could not convert Florida, finally healthy and still getting players back, are showing how impressive it can be. In back-to-back games the Gators have defeated Kansas and Memphis.

OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: South Florida 68, Florida Gulf Coast 66, 2 OT

It took two overtimes, and almost a third but South Florida escaped with a win over its in-state foe. Chase Fieler caught a full-court inbound pass from Jamail Jones, and scored what would of been a tying bucket. However, he caught the ball with 0.3 seconds remaining, too much time to catch and shoot.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Cincinnati 44, Pittsburgh 43:  Titus Rubles put in the game-winning bucket with four seconds remaining. Pitt was 10-0, and after a weak non-conference schedule, the Panthers lost their first game.

No. 11 Wichita State 72, Alabama 67: The Shockers went into to Tuscaloosa and took the marquee win the Crimson Tide were looking for. Wichita State improves to 11-0 for the first time in school history.

New Mexico State 67, New Mexico 61: Big win for the Aggies, on the road against its arch-rival. The Lobos have lost two straight.

No 13 Oregon 91, UC-Irvine 63: Blowout win for the Ducks, but it was the first time they had sophomores Dominic Artis and Ben Carter, who each served a nine-game suspension, in the lineup. Artis ended with five points, eight rebounds and three assists while Carter ended with four points, four rebounds and three assists.

STARRED

Cleanthony Early, Wichita State: The senior forward scored 26 points and shot 11-of-11 from the free throw line in a win.

Cameron Clark, Oklahoma: Clark went for 31 points and six boards in the Sooners’ 91-89 win over UT-Arlington. He sunk two free throws with 9.7 seconds left for the win.

Shawn Long, Louisiana-Layfayette: Long scored 30 points off a perfect 12-for-12 shooting from the field in a lopsided 103-69 win over Centenary. Long added seven rebounds and had two blocks. He could of had 34 points, but missed four free throws.

STRUGGLED

Pittsburgh: Panthers lost their first game of the season and shot 34 percent (15 percent from three) from the field. Pitt made 19 free throws (missed 10), and only connected on 11 field goals.

Charlotte: The 49ers gave up 106 points (to their 62) committed 19 turnovers and shot 35 percent in a blowout loss to Florida State. Charlotte won last month’s Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the same event Florida State was in.

New Mexico’s first half: The Lobo’s shot 27 percent, which dug them into a 13-point hole heading into halftime. New Mexico’s late-game comeback came up short against rival New Mexico State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 5 Michigan State 78, North Florida 48
  • No. 6 Louisville 90, Missouri State 60
  • No. 7 Oklahoma State 75, Delaware State 43

NOTABLES

  • Manhattan 86, South Carolina 68
  • Georgetown 85, Elon 76
  • Providence 76, Yale 74
  • VCU 72, Wofford 57
  • Toledo 78, Arkansas State 65
  • Creighton 88, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 51
  • Marquette 91, Ball State 53
  • Denver 90, Belmont 62

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.