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Late Night Snacks: Two undefeated teams go down and No. 3 Ohio State survives

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Ohio State 64, Notre Dame 61

Notre Dame had their marquee victory all locked up. Losses at home to Indiana State and North Dakota State were nullified. The Irish were back in the conversation as one of the best teams in the ACC. With less than a minute left, they had taken a 58-50 lead on No. 3 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden. And then it all went awry, as the Irish missed two free throws, committed four turnovers and fouled a three-point shooter and lost, 64-61.

The good news for the Irish? For 19 minutes in the second half, they dominated one of the best teams in the country. As disappointing as the finish was, Notre Dame is a talented team that looks like they are getting close to finding their stride.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 13 Oregon 100, BYU 96 OT

You knew that pitting Oregon and BYU against each other would result in an uptempo, high-scoring game filled with fast breaks and threes. That’s exactly what happened. The added bonus? BYU was in control for most of the game, only trailing in regulation when Oregon scored the first basket of the game. But Oregon came storming back, choking away a chance to win in regulation when Elgin Cook missed two free throws with just 1.8 seconds left. They would eventually go on to win in overtime.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 7 Oklahoma State got 23 points and 11 boards from Markel Brown in a 78-73 win over No. 20 Colorado. Brown’s first double-double of the season was a needed boost with the Oklahoma State big men struggling.

2) Cullen Neal scored 24 points for New Mexico, allowing to Lobos to forget about missing Hugh Greenwood and help them pick up a much-needed, 75-68 win over Marquette. Raphielle Johnson wrote a couple of stories off of this game.

3) No. 18 Kansas dominated Georgetown, winning 86-64 despite getting just 12 points on 3-for-10 shooting from Andrew Wiggins. Their four big men combined to shoot 14-for-16 from the floor.

STARRED

1) Adreian Payne went for 33 points in a dominating performance against Texas as No. 5 Michigan State knocked off the Longhorns 92-78. He was 10-for-13 from the field.

2) J.P. Tokoto finished with 22 points, 11 boards, five steals, four blocks and two assists in a 97-85 overtime win over Davidson.

3) Julius Randle popped off for 29 points and 10 boards, shooting 8-for-10 from the floor, as No. 19 Kentucky erased an eleven point deficit in a win over Belmont.

STRUGGLED

1) Chaz Williams finished with just 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting as No. 22 UMass picked up their first loss of the season to Florida State.

2) Gary Bell Jr. finished just 1-for-7 from the floor as No. 21 Gonzaga suffered a damaging loss against Kansas State in Wichita.

3) Jordan Clarkson went for 25 points, eight assists and six boards for No. 23 Missouri, but the rest of his supporting cast had an off-night as the Tigers lost to Illinois 65-64.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 5 Michigan State 92, Texas 78
  • No. 6 Louisville 85, FIU 56
  • No. 8 Villanova 88, Rider 67
  • No. 15 Memphis 77, Southeast Missouri 65
  • No. 16 Florida 66, Fresno State 49
  • No. 24 San Diego State 65, McNeese St. 36

NOTABLES

  • N.C. State has one of the best forwards in the ACC (if not America) in sophomore T.J. Warren, and he led the Wolfpack to a 90-79 win over East Carolina with 32 points and eight rebounds.
  • D.J. Irving scored 25 points to help lead Boston University to an 83-77 win at Maryland. The Terrapins turned the ball over 17 times, and it’s clear that their issues are bigger than not having PG Seth Allen.
  • With point guard Rysheed Jordan out due to a family illness, St. John’s scored 96 points in their nine-point win over Youngstown State. D’Angelo Harrison scored 29 points and became the school’s all-time leader in made three-pointers.
  • J.D. Weatherspoon scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Toledo’s 71-67 win over Cleveland State, moving the Rockets to 11-0 in the season.
  • Siyani Chambers scored 27 points to lead Harvard to a 74-68 win over Vermont, moving the Crimson to 10-1 on the year.
  • VCU ripped off a 31-0 first-half run against Virginia Tech, coasting to an 82-52 victory over the Hokies. VCU beat both in-state ACC teams this season.
  • Jermaine Marshall scored 27 points and Jahii Carson fell three rebounds short of a triple-double (16 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds) in Arizona State’s 76-62 win over Texas Tech.
  • Isaiah Philmore and Matt Stainbrook scored 17 points apiece in Xavier’s 77-74 win at Alabama.
  • Jarvis Threatt scored nine of his team-high 29 points in overtime as Delaware outlasted Bryant 108-107. Dyami Starks led all scorers with 35 points in a losing effort.

Villanova’s Jenkins to return for senior season

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) reacts to play against North Carolina during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After briefly taking part in the NBA Draft evaluation process, Villanova forward Kris Jenkins announced Monday night that he’s decided to withdraw and return to school for his senior year. Jenkins, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Wildcats the win over North Carolina in the national title game, announced the news via Twitter.

2015-16 was a breakout season for Jenkins, who moved into the starting lineup and averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 forward shot 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and with starters Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu graduating he’ll have even more opportunities to produce next season.

Jenkins’ decision to return leaves wing Josh Hart as the lone Wildcats going through the early entry process at this time. Hart was a first team All-Big East selection as a junior, and his return would be the final piece to the puzzle for a team that many expect to be a national title contender in 2016-17.

Jenkins and Hart wouldn’t be the only returnees who had a part in the national title run, with guards Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth, wing Mikal Bridges and forward Darryl Reynolds back as well. To that group Villanova adds Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and a recruiting class anchored by Omari Spellman and Dylan Painter with Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney available after being hampered by injuries last season.

Delaney missed all of last year after undergoing surgical procedures on his hips, and DiVincenzo played a total of 74 minutes over the first nine games before having to sit due to a broken foot.

Florida State guard Rathan-Mayes to return for junior season

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) drives past Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger, left, for a score in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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With their top three scorers from last season all deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, Florida State was facing the possibility of having to rebuild their backcourt ahead of the 2016-17 season. However two of those three have decided to return to Tallahassee, with rising junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes announcing on Monday that he will be back in school.

Rathan-Mayes joins rising sophomore Dwayne Bacon in returning to play another season for head coach Leonard Hamilton, with Malik Beasley hiring representation and remaining in the draft.

Rathan-Mayes had more scoring help last season and as a result was able to concentrate more on the distribution aspects of the point guard position, as he averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per contest. With the return of Rathan-Mayes and Bacon, Florida State will have two of its top three scorers from last season back on campus.

The Seminoles did lose some veteran players, most notably guard Devon Bookert and center Boris Bojanovsky, but the returnees and a recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jonathan Isaac means that they won’t lack for options next season.

Auburn lands third transfer within the last week

Auburn guard T.J. Dunans (4) and coach Bruce Pearl celebrate a 75-74 win over UAB in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.  (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)
Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP
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After receiving commitments from former Purdue/Houston guard Ronnie Johnson and former Presbyterian forward DeSean Murray, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl continued to load up on the transfer market Monday. Forward LaRon Smith, who was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year at Bethune-Cookman last season, announced that he will use his final season of eligibility at the SEC program.

Like Smith, Johnson will also be eligible to compete immediately for the Tigers while Murray will have to sit out next season before having two years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-8 Smith played two seasons at Georgia State before transferring to Bethune-Cookman, where he averaged 7.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest in 2015-16. Smith played just over 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats, shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

Smith reached double figures in scoring in four of the Wildcats’ final seven games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound, three-block outing in an overtime win over North Carolina A&T. He joins a front court in need of depth following the departures of the likes of Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris, with Horace Spencer, Trayvon Reed and incoming freshman Anfernee McLemore also competing for minutes in 2016-17.

SMU lands former Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt

Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt (24) leaps for a layup past Tennessee guard Shembari Phillips (25) during an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Arkansas won 75-65. (Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP
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With a five-member recruiting class set to arrive on campus this summer, SMU added a talented transfer Monday afternoon. Jimmy Whitt, who played his freshman season at Arkansas, committed to join Larry Brown’s program. Whitt, a 6-foot-4 guard from Columbia, Missouri, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016-17 campaign.

As a freshman at Arkansas, Whitt averaged 6.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over 17 minutes of action per game. He reached double figures in scoring nine time, with the high being a 15-point outing in a blowout win over Missouri in mid-January. Whitt produced a stretch of four consecutive games in double figures during non-conference play, but he struggled to maintain that consistency against SEC competition.

At SMU he’ll join a perimeter rotation that will lose rising senior Sterling Brown following the 2016-17 season. Among those who will have eligibility remaining when Whitt becomes eligible are Ben Emelogu, Shake Milton, Jarrey Foster and incoming freshmen Tom Wilson and Dashawn McDowell.

 

Boise State assistant named head coach at Northern Colorado

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Courtesy UNCBears.com
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GREELEY, Colo. (AP) Jeff Linder is the new basketball coach at Northern Colorado. He spent the last six seasons at Boise State, where he was associate head coach for the Broncos since 2013-14.

Linder replaces B.J. Hill, who was fired last month amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of violations in the program.

University President Kay Norton and Athletic Director Darren Dunn announced Linder’s hiring Sunday.

Linder played high school ball in Lafayette, Colorado, and college ball at Mesa State and Western Colorado State. He began his coaching career under Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton.

In a statement, Linder said, “I look forward to returning home to the state of Colorado and continuing to build this program into something everyone can be proud of.”

Hill was 86-98 in six seasons at UNC.