On Sunday afternoon No. 15 Colorado picked up its best win of the season to date, beating then- No. 10 Oregon 100-91 with the guard tandem of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie combining for 50 points and 11 assists. Those two juniors are expected to lead the way for Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes, and on most nights they do.
Wednesday’s game against Washington State in Spokane (the students are still on break, which is why the game wasn’t played in Pullman) wasn’t one of those occasions, with Booker shooting 2-for-12 from the field (13-for-14 FT) and Dinwiddie accounting for just six points and two assists after not attempting a single shot in the game’s first 20 minutes. In instances like these Colorado’s fortunate enough to have the services of one of the Pac-12’s most improved players in sophomore big man Josh Scott, and against the Cougars his play was a critical factor in the Buffaloes’ 71-70 overtime victory.
Scott accounted for 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, with 15 points and six rebounds coming in the second half and overtime. And with the guards struggling every one of those points and rebounds were needed at Spokane Arena. The Cougars were once again without the services of leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, but 24 points from Dexter Kernich-Drew and double-doubles posted by D.J. Shelton (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Royce Woolridge (ten points, 11 assists) kept Ken Bone’s team in position to pull off the upset.
But the Cougars couldn’t match the production of Scott and Xavier Johnson, who added 14 points, in the paint with the Buffaloes outscoring the Cougars 36-18 in the paint. Wednesday’s performance certainly wasn’t a pretty one for Colorado, with their starting guards struggling as mightily as they did. But in conference play, there are some nights in which teams simply have to gut out a win.
Thanks in part to Josh Scott, Colorado was able to do that and remain undefeated in Pac-12 play.
Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.
Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.
The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.
When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.
Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.
Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.
Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.
The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.
Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.
The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.
Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.
With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.
Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com
A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.
Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.
Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.
The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.
One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.
Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.
That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.