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Late Night Snacks: No. 9 Iowa State, two other ranked teams fall

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 6 Wichita State 72, Missouri State (OT) 

Wichita State trailed by as many as 19 points in the second half but Gregg Marshall’s team refused to lie down, with Fred VanVleet scoring 12 of the Shockers’ final 13 points to cap the comeback. Cleanthony Early tallied 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead the way for Wichita State, which is now 17-0 on the season.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Oklahoma 87, No. 9 Iowa State 82

And then there were four. Oklahoma knocked the Cyclones from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday afternoon, with Buddy Hield leading four double-digit scorers with 22 points and Ryan Spangler posting a 16-point, 15-rebound double-double. DeAndre Kane scored 23 points to lead all scorers but Iowa State shot just 6-for-26 from beyond the arc. And of greater concern with a game against No. 18 Kansas scheduled for Monday night is the sprained ankle suffered by Kane in the game’s final minute.

2) Clemson 72, No. 16 Duke 59 

The Blue Devils dropped to 1-2 in ACC play with a disappointing loss at Clemson, with K.J. McDaniels being the best player on the floor. The Clemson wing accounted for 24 points, ten rebounds and three blocks on the afternoon, and defensively the Tigers limited Duke to 33.9% shooting from the field. Next up for Duke: a home game Monday night against Virginia.

3) No. 10 Florida 84, Arkansas 82 (OT)

With leading scorer Casey Prather out due to swelling in his knee Florida’s trip to Fayetteville became even tougher, and they needed a late basket from Scottie Wilbekin to force overtime before winning in the extra session. Wilbekin would score 18 off the bench and Dorian Finney-Smith added a game-high 22 to go along with 15 rebounds to lead the way for the Gators. Rashad Madden led four Razorback starters in double figures with 23 points.

STARRED

1) D.J. Balentine (Evansville)

Balentine played all 40 minutes in Evansville’s 75-69 win at Southern Illinois, scoring 33 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

2) Alan Williams (UCSB)

Williams posted 33 points and 15 rebounds in the Gauchos’ 72-64 loss to Cal Poly.

3) Patrick Miller (Tennessee State) 

Miller tallied 37 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals in the Tigers’ 98-97 loss to Southeast Missouri State.

STRUGGLED

1) N.C. State

The Wolfpack shot 28.9% in their 76-45 home loss to Virginia, with leading scorer T.J. Warren limited to four points on 1-for-9 shooting.

2) UL Monroe

The Warhawks shot 26.4% from the field in their 61-36 home loss to Texas State, scoring just nine points in the second half.

3) Albany

Shot 29.8% from the field and finished with more turnovers (18) than made field goals (14) in their 68-38 loss at Vermont.

NOTABLES

  • Markel Brown’s three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as No. 11 Oklahoma State won 73-72 at West Virginia. Brown hadn’t made a three-pointer in nearly a month.
  • With Adreian Payne sidelined with a foot injury No. 5 Michigan State needed overtime to beat Minnesota, with Keith Appling and Gary Harris combining to score 43 points in the Spartans’ 86-75 victory.
  • No. 18 Kansas rolled in-state rival No. 25 Kansas State 86-60 in Lawrence, with Andrew Wiggins scoring 22 points and Wayne Selden adding 20 for the victors.
  • A Markel Starks three-pointer forced overtime for Georgetown in its game at Butler, with the Hoyas winning 70-67 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The result drops the Bulldogs to 0-4 in Big East play.
  • Texas A&M came back from a 14-point deficit to win 57-56 at Tennessee, with an Antwan Space three-pointer with 4.4 seconds remaining giving the Aggies their lone lead of the game.
  • Cole Huff scored 16 points and Deonte Burton added 14 as Nevada moved to 4-0 in Mountain West play with their 62-54 win over Utah State.
  • Justin Cobbs scored all 20 of his points in the second half to lead Cal to an 88-83 win at Oregon State. The win moved Cal to 3-0 in Pac-12 play, and this is the first time since 1957 that the Golden Bears have opened league play with three road wins since 1957.
  • A Larry Nance Jr. basket with 1.6 seconds remaining gave Wyoming a 52-50 win at Boise State.
  • With 11:40 remaining in the game BYU led Loyola Marymount 60-58. Final score: BYU 91, LMU 68, with Tyler Haws scoring 31 points to lead the way.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

Four-star 2017 shooting guard commits to Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams celebrates a play in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP) LOCAL STATIONS OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL; MANDATORY CREDIT
Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP
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Recruiting, and on-court results, have picked up at Virginia Tech since Buzz Williams took over as head coach. In his second year at the helm the Hokies won ten conference games, and in reaching the Postseason NIT made their first postseason appearance since 2011.

Thursday night Virginia Tech landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker made his pledge.

The 6-foot-5 Alexander-Walker, who’s ranked 91st in his class by Rivals.com, also took official visits to Maryland and USC before making his pledge to the ACC program. Alexander-Walker attends Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but as a native of Canada plays his grassroots basketball for the Canada Elite program on the Under Armour Association circuit.

Good with either hand, Alexander-Walker can play either on or off the basketball. And that versatility should serve him well in a system that places a high value on “switch-ables,” or players who can fill multiple roles.

The Canada connection paid off for Virginia Tech in the recruitment of Alexander-Walker, with assistant coach Jamie McNeilly being a native of the country himself and having a connection to the Walker family. The Hokies will lose two perimeter players at the end of the 2016-17 season in Devin Wilson and Seth Allen, which will give Alexander-Walker the opportunity to earn minutes as a freshman.

Oakland lands former Oklahoma State guard Clark

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AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File
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When point guard Stevie Clark began his career at Oklahoma State in 2013, the Top 100 prospect was expected by many to be an impact player for the Cowboys. Things didn’t go as planned however, as off-court issues ultimately led to Clark’s dismissal from the program before his sophomore season. Add in a lawsuit filed by Clark in which he alleged that he was forced by the school to take psychotropic drugs, and it’s safe to say that his time in Stillwater was anything but smooth.

Clark ultimately landed at Arkansas Baptist College, and on Thursday it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that he’s committed to Oakland University to play for head coach Greg Kampe. Clark joins a program with an immediate need at the point, with All-American Kahlil Felder having entered the NBA Draft and hired an agent as well.

The obvious question regarding Clark is whether or not he’s managed to take care of business off the court, and in an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press the Oklahoma native made note of the benefits of getting away from home for college.

Playing in Rochester, far from his home, will serve him well, he said.

“Anywhere away from home is the best thing,” Clark said. “It’s just hard balancing everything being close to home.”

Clark will be one of the options Kampe has to choose from at the point, with incoming freshmen Brailen Neely and Billy Thomas also among the new arrivals, and sophomore Jaevin Cumberland looking to earn more playing time than the 5.6 minutes per contest he averaged as a freshman.

Creighton point guard Watson Jr. to return for senior season

Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (10) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Creighton won 70-56. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
AP Photo/Nati Harnik
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Creighton’s chances of moving up the Big East standings and returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 improved a great deal Thursday, as starting point guard Maurice Watson Jr. announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Watson, who began his college career at Boston University, entered his name into the NBA Draft pool without hiring an agent but decided that another year in Omaha would be best for him.

Watson was one of the most impactful transfers in the country last season, as his play at the point was a major factor in the Bluejays winning 20 games and going 9-9 in conference play after being picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll. Watson averaged 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game last season, earning second team All-Big East honors.

With Watson’s return the Bluejays will welcome back three of their top four scorers from last season, with center Geoffrey Groselle being the lone departure. Head coach Greg McDermott adds a talented shooting guard in Marcus Foster, who sat out last season after transferring in from Kansas State. With Watson and Foster working together, Creighton will have a formidable perimeter tandem leading the way in 2016-17 with the likes of forward Cole Huff and guard Isaiah Zierden also being key contributors.

In addition to what Watson can provide in games he’ll also serve as a good mentor for Kaleb Joseph, who will have to sit out next season after transferring in from Syracuse. Joseph, who will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, fell out of the rotation as a sophomore so the year in residency should benefit him as he works towards grabbing the reins in 2017-18.

h/t ESPN.com

UConn, four-star 2017 big man Brown part ways

Brown, Zach
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Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.

The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.

Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.

UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.

UCF lands commitment from transfer Terrell Allen

New UCF men's NCAA college basketball coach Johnny Dawkins speaks at his introductory press conference Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP
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Having already landed one transfer in former Michigan guard Aubrey Dawkins (the new head coach’s son), UCF landed a second Thursday afternoon as former Drexel guard Terrell Allen announced that he’ll finish out his college career playing for Johnny Dawkins.

Allen, a CAA All-Rookie Team selection in his lone season at Drexel, announced the news by way of his Twitter account. After sitting out the 2016-17 season per NCAA transfer rules, Allen will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

On a team that struggled throughout the 2015-16 season, winning just six games, Allen averaged 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 32.5 minutes of action per game. The 6-foot-2 point guard finished the season ranked in the top ten in the CAA in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, with his assist tally ranking eighth and his A/T ratio of 1.9 placing him seventh.

With B.J. Taylor entering his junior season and Jeremy Carter-Sheppard joining the ranks this summer, the addition of Allen gives UCF another option at the point for the 2017-18 campaign.