Just over two weeks after it was announced that he was leaving the Iowa State program in search of more playing time, junior guard K.J. Bluford has found a new home.
Bluford announced via his Twitter account on Wednesday that he’ll be transferring to Northern Arizona, giving the Lumberjacks a player who averaged nearly 18 points per game as a sophomore at Northeast Community College in Nebraska last season. Bluford played in seven games at Iowa State before making the decision to leave the program in late-December, playing an average of 5.4 points per game and scoring 2.7 points per contest.
Bluford joins a backcourt that currently has two junior college transfers and three freshmen, with junior guard Aaseem Dixon being the team’s third-leading scorer (13.3 ppg) and leader in assists (2.7 apg). From a scoring standpoint freshman Kris Yanku is next in line with his 6.5 points per game, so this is an area in which Bluford can help NAU if he reverts to the form shown at the junior college level.
With second-leading scorer Max Jacobson, currently averaging 14.0 points per game, being a senior NAU will need the help of players such as Bluford next season (when he becomes eligible; likely at the end of the 2014 fall semester) to account for the production that will be lost as a result of Jacobson’s graduation. In addition to Bluford NAU will add two freshmen to the program next season: guard Tate de Laveaga and forward Terry Winn.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.