Josh Pastner

No. 24 Memphis overpowers depleted Temple for road AAC win

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Memphis capped a strong week in the American Athletic Conference with its 79-69 win over Temple on Saturday to give the Tigers their second road win in AAC play this week.

The No. 24 Tigers (12-3, 3-1) were in a bad place last Saturday, when Cincinnati thoroughly outplayed Memphis in the FedEx Forum, but Memphis clawed back with a road win at Louisville on Thursday and followed that up with Saturday’s win at Temple.

Temple is really depleted thanks to the injury bug biting them hard, but the Owls (5-9, 0-4) still made it a tough game for Memphis, as they led the Tigers 37-36 at the break. But Memphis hit the glass hard and did a better job of sharing and moving the ball as they surged past a noticeably tired Temple team in the second half.

Shaq Goodwin came alive for the Tigers, scoring a team-high 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds — eight of them on the offensive glass — to help pace the Tigers on the interior. Memphis outrebounded Temple 45-28 overall and 16-5 on the offensive glass as they sent multiple players to the offensive glass after each shot.

Memphis was also much better about not forcing shots and moving the ball around for good looks on the offensive end. After a solid dose of “hero ball” in the loss to Cincinnati, the Tigers had 21 assists, including three different guards — Chris Crawford (eight), Joe Jackson (six) and Mike Dixon (five) — with five or more assists. Memphis is still prone to some bad shots here-and-there, but if they take the time to take smart shots and maintain their potentially lethal fast-break opportunities, they are really tough to stop on offense.

Memphis did a nice job of getting their big men more involved this week and not hoisting bad jumpers. When they bring a balanced offensive approach, the Tigers have an offense that can really get rolling and be tough to stop.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.