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

1 Comment

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.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

Leave a comment

Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averagedΒ 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

Baylor Athletics
Leave a comment

Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.