Late Night Snacks: Georgia knocks off No. 21 Missouri

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Georgia 70, No. 21 Missouri 64 

This was an emotional one for the Bulldogs, as the father of head coach Mark Fox passed away on Friday. Charles Mann scored 18 points and Nemanja Djurisic added 16 off the bench for Georgia, which ended the Tigers’ 26-game home win streak. Jabari Brown paced Missouri with 19 points but Jordan Clarkson struggled, shooting 4-for-14 from the field, and he’s the one guy Missouri can’t afford to have struggle.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) No. 4 Wisconsin 95, No. 23 Illinois 70

After getting off to a very slow start in their win over Iowa on Sunday night Wisconsin had no such issues against the Fighting Illini, scoring 50 points in the first half to essentially end the game by halftime. Ben Brust led five Badgers in double figures with 18 points, and defensively Wisconsin made life difficult for Rayvonte Rice. Rice scored 19 points but he did so on 21 shot attempts, making seven.

2) No. 18 Kansas 90, Oklahoma 83

Wayne Selden scored 15 of his team-high 24 points in the first half and Perry Ellis accounted for 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Jayhawks rebounded from their loss to No. 13 San Diego State. Cameron Clark led the Sooners with 32 points, but their 6-for-19 night from beyond the arc proved to be one of the deciding factors in the outcome.

3) No. 13 San Diego State 69, Boise State 66

Steve Fisher’s team was in control for much of the night in San Diego, but the Aztecs’ inability to close things out resulted in the Broncos having a chance to take the lead in the game’s final seconds. But a Derrick Marks jumper missed the mark, and two Xavier Thames free throws provided the final margin. Thames and Winston Shepard III scored 16 points apiece to lead SDSU, with Marks scoring 24 points to lead all scorers.

STARRED

1) Desmar Jackson (Southern Illinois) 

Jackson accounted for 31 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals in the Salukis’ 71-67 win at Loyola (IL).

2) Deonte Burton (Nevada) 

Burton scored 29 points on 12-for-20 shooting, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists in Nevada’s 74-71 win at UNLV.

3) James Young (Kentucky) 

Young tallied 26 points, ten rebounds and a career-high five assists in No. 14 Kentucky’s 85-63 win over Mississippi State.

STRUGGLED

1) Georgetown

The Hoyas shot 39.6% from the field in their 70-52 loss at Providence, and players other than D’Vauntes Smith-Rivers and Mikael Hopkins combined to shoot 7-for-27.

2) Wake Forest 

Just three days removed from their win over North Carolina the Demon Deacons struggled on the road, shooting 35.4% from the field in a 74-51 loss at Virginia.

3) Illinois State

The Redbirds shot 32.7% from the field and 7-for-26 from beyond the arc in their 66-47 loss at No. 6 Wichita State.

NOTABLES

  • Illinois State certainly struggled offensively, and for that No. 6 Wichita State deserves credit. Also of note are the ten assists and no turnovers tallied by guard Fred VanVleet, who has now gone four games without committing a turnover.
  • Marcus Smart shot 16-for-20 from the foul line, accounting for 24 points, 11 rebounds, six steals and five assists in No. 11 Oklahoma State’s 87-74 win over Texas.
  • A Maxie Esho steal and dunk with 1:01 remaining gave No. 19 UMass a lead it would not relinquish in its 66-62 win over Saint Joseph’s. Chaz Williams tallied 22 points and four assists, and the Minutemen closed the game on an 18-5 run.
  • Cameron Bairstow led four players in double figures with 15 points as New Mexico won at Wyoming, 72-69 in overtime.
  • North Carolina dropped to 0-2 in ACC play with a 63-57 loss to Miami in Chapel Hill. Next up for the Tar Heels: a trip to No. 2 Syracuse this weekend.
  • A Dre Mathieu basket with 1:43 remaining gave Minnesota a lead it would not relinquish, ultimately winning 68-65 at Penn State.
  • Shabazz Napier scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half to lead UConn to a 61-56 win over Harvard, with the Crimson missing out on a valuable resume-building opportunity.
  • No. 14 Kentucky got off to a slow start against Mississippi State in its SEC opener but the Wildcats were much better in the second half, rolling to the 85-63 win in Lexington.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?

North Carolina’s Luke Maye declaring for NBA draft without hiring agent

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina junior Luke Maye has declared for the NBA draft but isn’t hiring an agent.

The 6-foot-8 forward was a third-team Associated Press All-American after averaging 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player after increasing his scoring average by 11.4 points from his sophomore to junior seasons.

Coach Roy Williams says in a statement that it’s ”a great opportunity” for Maye to work out for NBA teams and get feedback on what to improve in his game.

The deadline for college players to declare early for the draft was Sunday night. Players who don’t hire an agent can maintain their college eligibility as long as they withdraw by May 30, which is 10 days after the NBA draft combine.

Gonzaga star undergoes surgery on his shoulder

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The most important players for Gonzaga heading into the 2018-19 season will have an offseason dedicated to rehabilitation.

Josh Perkins, Gonzaga’s starting point guard, underwent surgery on Friday to repair a shoulder that he injured back in December. According to the Spokesman-Review, Perkins expects to be healthy and ready to play by the start of next season.

Perkins averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 assists during the 2017-18 season despite playing through those shoulder issues. After December’s win over Washington, a game in which Perkins left wincing in pain and clutching his shoulders, Perkins said “Just popped out a little bit. It’s not very strong right now, but everything is good.”

For my money, Perkins is the player that is going to be the x-factor for the Zags next season. They have a terrific front court with Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie returning, and with the likes of Zach Norvell and Corey Kispert back, there is plenty of talent on the wings. Perkins, the senior point guard, is the blue that is going to be needed to hold it all together.

Gonzaga is a top five team heading into next year. They have national title aspirations. Perkins might end up being the guy that determines whether they live up to those goals or get knocked out of the field in the Sweet 16.