Late Night Snacks: No. 20 Iowa gets its signature road victory

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GAME OF THE DAY: Akron 83, Ohio 80 (2OT)

Quincy Diggs was the difference-maker for the Zips on Sunday, as he scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds while making some key plays down the stretch for the visitors. Diggs scored Akron’s final five points of the first overtime to force a second extra session, and his basket with 34 seconds remaining in double overtime gave Akron the lead for good. Maurice Ndour led Ohio with a career-high 25 points, but it’s Akron who remains undefeated in MAC play.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 20 Iowa 84, No. 3 Ohio State 74

Fran McCaffery’s team finally grabbed the signature road victory they were looking for, with Roy Devyn Marble scoring 22 points to lead five Hawkeyes in double figures. Iowa shot 47.5% from the field and did a good job of getting into the paint against the Ohio State defense, scoring 44 points in the paint. Just as important were the 27 points Iowa scored off of 17 Buckeye turnovers. LaQuinton Ross led Ohio State with 22 points, but there are still some defensive issues that need to be addressed.

2) Washington 71, No. 15 Colorado 54

C.J. Wilcox established new career-highs for points (31) and blocked shots (four) in a game to lead Washington to the win in Seattle. The victory snaps a 12-game losing streak for the Huskies against ranked opponents, but that wasn’t the big news of the day. Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie left the game late in the first half with a left knee injury, and the severity of the injury will be learned on Monday. Washington outscored Colorado by 20 points after Dinwiddie left the game.

3) Creighton 95, Xavier 89

After falling behind 12-0 to start the game Creighton turned things around, with Doug McDermott once again leading the way offensively. He scored 35 points and Ethan Wragge knocked down five three-pointers to lead the Bluejays to the win. Xavier may have fallen short but the game Semaj Christon deserves mention as well, as he accounted for 27 points, five assists and four rebounds.

STARRED

1) Doug McDermott (Creighton)

35 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the Bluejays’ 95-89 win over Xavier.

2) C.J. Wilcox (Washington) 

A career-high 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting to go along with four rebounds and four blocks int he Huskies’ 71-54 win over No. 15 Colorado.

3) Billy Baron (Canisius) 

26 points (8-for-12 FG), eight rebounds and six assists in the Golden Griffins’ 87-67 win over Monmouth.

STRUGGLED

1) Maryland

Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins had issues on both ends of the floor in their 85-61 loss at Florida State, shooting 33.3% from the field with the Seminoles knocking down 16 three-pointers and shooting 50% overall.

2) Bowling Green

Shot 29.3% from the field and 9-for-21 from the foul line in their 45-36 home loss to Northern Illinois.

3) No. 23 Illinois

The Fighting Illini shot 28.1% from the field and 3-for-6 from the foul line in their 49-43 loss at Northwestern.

NOTABLES

  • T.J. McConnell knocked down five three-pointers (19 points, six assists) and Brandon Ashley also scored 19 as No. 1 Arizona recovered from a slow start to beat USC 73-53. The Wildcats’ 17-0 start is the best in school history.
  • UCLA saw their 23-point lead cut to nine before holding on to beat Arizona State 87-72. Kyle Anderson tallied 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists to lead the way.
  • Anthony Brown (24 points) and Chasson Randle (23) combined for 47 points as Stanford beat No. 17 Oregon, 82-80. Oregon once again had trouble slowing down bigger guards, and that’s an issue they must address.
  • Luke Hancock and Russ Smith scored 23 points apiece as No. 12 Louisville beat SMU, 71-63.
  • Keifer Sykes scored 34 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Green Bay’s 93-86 overtime win at Milwaukee. Jordan Aaron led the Panthers with 26 points.
  • J.J. O’Brien led five players in double figures with 18 points (and 11 rebounds) as No. 13 San Diego State won 79-72 at Air Force.
  • Michael Alvarado scored 33 points and dished out four assists to lead Manhattan to an 86-79 overtime win over Marist, the Jaspers’ first full game without injured guard George Beamon.

Syracuse’s Tyus Battle to test NBA draft waters

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Syracuse announced on Friday afternoon that sophomore guard Tyus Battle will be declaring for the NBA draft without signing with an agent, giving him until the NCAA’s May 30th deadline to withdraw from contention and return to school.

Battle averaged 19.2 points as a sophomore for the Orange, who made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

He is a projected late-first round or early-second round pick given his size, shooting ability and skill with the ball in his hands.

Losing Battle would be a massive blow to a Syracuse team that is already going to be without Matthew Moyer, who transferred out of the program, and Dareus Bazley, who is heading to the G League instead of enrolling in college.

Maryland’s Kevin Huerter declares for NBA draft, won’t hire agent

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Maryland wing Kevin Huerter announced on Friday afternoon that he will be declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, giving him the option of returning to school by May 30th.

“This will be a great experience for Kevin to get honest feedback from NBA teams and executives,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow Kevin and his family to make an informed decision about his future.”

Huerter is a 6-foot-7 wing known for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He averaged 14.8 points and shot 42 percent from three as a sophomore.

He is also the third player from Maryland to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. Justin Jackson, a borderline first round pick who missed time last season with a shoulder injury, has signed with an agent while Bruno Fernando is testing the waters. Maryland, who has an excellent recruiting class coming in, will be a preseason top 20 team if Huerter and Fernando both return to school.

Huerter is a borderline first round pick.

Michigan’s Charles Matthews to test NBA draft waters

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Michigan guard Charles Matthews announced on Friday that he will be declaring for the NBA draft, but that he does not intend to sign with an agent, meaning he has until May 30th to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

“After careful consideration with my parents and coaching staff, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent,” said Matthews. “I give thanks to the Lord for this amazing opportunity, as well as the entire University of Michigan for their support. Go Blue!”

Matthews, a redshirt sophomore that averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 boards for the national runners-up, was a four-star prospect coming out of Chicago and spent his freshman season at Kentucky.

Matthews is a likely second round pick with the potential to climb into the first round should he prove to be a more consistent three-point shooter. He shot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc this past season.

Virginia’s Hunter to return to school for sophomore season

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De’Andre Hunter announced on Friday afternoon that he will not be entering his name into the NBA draft and will return to Virginia for his redshirt sophomore season, a decision that will have as much of an impact on the 2018-19 college basketball season as any that is made this spring.

Hunter, now a potential top ten pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was one of the breakout stars of the 2017-18 season. A 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hunter averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 boards while shooting 38.2 percent from three in just under 20 minutes a night for a Virginia team whose pace severely limits the kind of numbers a player like him can put up.

Throw in his ability to defend on the perimeter and in the paint, and Hunter is precisely the kind of player that NBA teams are looking to land as basketball becomes more and more built on positional versatility and the ability to space the floor.

And it’s that versatility that will make Hunter so important for the Cavaliers next season.

Let’s go beyond the simple fact that he is going to be the only guy on the Virginia roster that can create his own shot against length and athleticism and that there is a chance that he could end up being an all-american next season if things play out the right way. What makes Hunter so important to Virginia his that his defensive versatility is what allows Virginia to matchup with teams that want to try and play small-ball against them.

That’s precisely what UMBC did in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a game that Hunter missed with a broken wrist. We all know how that played out, and I’m not even dumb enough to pin all the blame of a 20-point loss to a No. 16 seed on a guy that played less than 20 minutes a night.

Virginia choked once they realized that there was a chance this could happen, but I would argue that a major reason they couldn’t ever truly assert their dominance was because they were unable to matchup with UMBC’s four-guard lineup without Hunter.

With Hunter back, Virginia is the No. 6 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25. If he had declared for the draft and signed with an agent, I’m not sure I would have had the Wahoos in the top 20.

He takes Tony Bennett’s club from simply being good to once against being a contender for the ACC regular season title.

Vanderbilt the sixth Kentucky player declares for the NBA draft

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Jarred Vanderbilt is now the sixth Kentucky Wildcat to declare for the NBA draft this spring, joining P.J. Washington and Wenyen Gabriel in testing the waters without signing with an agent.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo have all declared for the draft and signed with an agent.

Vanderbilt announced his decision on Friday afternoon.

“This season wasn’t easy for me,” Vanderbilt said. “At the end of the day, my goal has always been to make it to the NBA.”

“I know I have more to my game to show, but now I’ve got to figure out if the time is right for me to do it at the next level or if I would be better to return to school.”

Vanderbilt missed the first 17 games of his freshman season with a left foot injury, a foot that he had injured twice before during his high school career. He then missed all four of Kentucky’s postseason games with a left ankle injury, and there is a chance that he could end up needing surgery to correct this issue this offseason.

All told, the 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt played in 14 games as a freshman, averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 boards in just 17 minutes a night. But issues with his ability to shoot from the perimeter and a lower left leg that has proven to be extremely problematic, there is a good chance that Vanderbilt would go undrafted should he decide to turn pro.