Austin Hollins

Late Night Snacks: Minnesota holds off Nebraska-Omaha, Princeton proves legitimacy

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Minnesota 92, Nebraska-Omaha 79 — Friday nights in college hoops tend to be quiet, but Minnesota and Omaha put on a show at The Barn tonight with the Gophers holding on for the win. Deandre Mathieu led all scorers with 27 points for Minnesota.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) SMU went on the road and beat Wyoming to improve to 10-2 on the season. This all but concludes the Mustang’s non-conference schedule — they still have a date with Hofstra in mid-January — and now things really begin to ramp up. Their next three: at Cincinnati,vs. Connecticut, at Louisville. SMU is a solid team, but we’ll find out just how good they are during this stretch.

2) Princeton went out west and dismantled a solid Pacific team, 83-58, in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic. The win pushes the Tigers to 9-1 on the season.

3) For the second time this season, Utah State and UC Santa Barbara did battle, and for the second time the Aggies came out on top. The Gauchos figured to have a better chance this time around as their star player Alan Williams, who missed the first meeting, was back for tonight, but Utah State won 77-71 in overtime. Spencer Butterfield at 31 and 10 in the win.

STARRED

1) Stephen Croone, a 6-foot-0 guard from Furman, had some kind of night going off for 40 points and 11 rebounds in an 86-83 victory against Liberty. Scoring 40 points on just 16 shots is downright efficient. Croone could have had even more if he hit his free throws as he was 13-21.

2) SMU’s bench was the reason for coming away victorious at Wyoming as they combined to score 32 of the Mustangs’ 62 points. Markus Kennedy led the way with 15 point.

3) Marist entered tonight’s game against Bucknell at 1-9, but their record may not be the best indicator of what kind of team the Red Foxes are as six of their losses have come against teams ranked in the Top 100, according to Ken Pomeroy. Marist has won two straight games after thrashing Bucknell, 69-51. Chavaughn Lewis had 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in the win.

STRUGGLED

1) Not having played in close to two weeks, Bucknell may have felt the lingering effects of the exam break tonight at Marist. The Red Foxes, who were 1-9 entering the game, jumped out to a 21-3 lead. The closest the Bison would get the rest of the way was 14 points — just a thorough beating.

2) Sacred Heart’s trip out west got more difficult tonight as they lost 82-50 to UNLV. The Pioneers shot just 3-17 3PT and 1-6 FT. They are now 2-10 in Anthony Latina’s first season at the helm.

3) Yale (minus Javier Duren) lost tonight to Albany, 70-62. The loss isn’t necessarily a bad one, but the performance of everyone with the exception of Javier Duren was poor. Duren was 8-15 FG for 26 points, while the rest of the team was 10-42 for 36 points.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.