Late Night Snacks: No. 11 Ohio State suffers third straight loss

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: UConn 83, No. 17 Memphis 73

Don’t be fooled by the final margin; this was an entertaining game that was tight until the Huskies made a few stops and knocked down their free throws in the final minute. DeAndre Daniels (23 points, 11 rebounds) and Shabazz Napier (17 points, ten assists) posted double-doubles to lead the way for the Huskies, who are now 2-2 in American Athletic Conference play. And there were other quality performances for the Huskies, who rose to the occasion to pick up a valuable road victory while picking up a teammate in need.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Minnesota 63, No. 11 Ohio State 53

Once again the Buckeyes struggled offensively, and the end result on Thursday night was a loss at Minnesota. For the Golden Gophers their big men took another step forward, and as a team Richard Pitino’s squad shot 51.1% from the floor. Elliott Eliason accounted for 12 points and 13 rebounds and Dre Mathieu scored 13 to go along with five assists to lead the way for Minnesota.

2) No. 25 UCLA 69, No. 21 Colorado 56

In their first full game without Spencer Dinwiddie the Buffaloes struggled offensively in a home loss to UCLA. CU players other than Askia Booker and Josh Scott shot 6-for-27 from the field and scored 16 points, which won’t get the job done against a team as talented as UCLA. Norman Powell scored 19 points and Jordan Adams controlled the glass with 13 rebounds (and 14 points) to lead the way for the Bruins.

3) Vanderbilt 78, Missouri 75 

Missouri dropped to 1-2 in SEC play with their loss in Nashville, as the Commodores shot 12-for-32 from beyond the arc. Rod Odom scored 24 points and Kyle Fuller added 22 for Vanderbilt, who played just seven players as a result of their depleted roster. Missouri shot just 6-for-23 from three and missed a number of attempts at the rim, with the combination resulting in defeat.

STARRED

1) Kareem Jamar (Montana) 

33 points, five assists and four rebounds in the Grizzlies’ 84-71 win over North Dakota.

2) Will Neighbour (UALR) 

32 points on 11-for-14 shooting and seven rebounds in the Trojans’ 87-83 overtime win at Western Kentucky.

3) Lucas Troutman (Elon) 

28 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots in Elon’s 87-85 overtime win at Davidson.

STRUGGLED 

1) Ohio State starters not named LaQuinton Ross

Ross scored 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field. The other four starters in their 63-53 loss at Minnesota: 6-for-22, 19 points and ten turnovers.

2) Colorado outside of Askia Booker and Josh Scott

Booker and Scott combined to score 40 points on 14-for-23 shooting from the field. Their teammates in the 69-56 loss to No. 25 UCLA: 6-for-27, 16 points.

3) Tulane

In their Conference USA home opener the Green Wave shot 23.3% from the field, missed all 14 of their three-point attempts and finished with more turnovers (17) than field goals (ten) in their 73-45 loss to Louisiana Tech.

NOTABLES

  • Arizona State didn’t have Jermaine Marshall (groin) for their game against No. 1 Arizona, and it likely wouldn’t have mattered if he were able to play. In the top-ranked Wildcats’ 91-68 victory seven players scored in double figures, with Nick Johnson scoring 17 to lead the charge.
  • No. 18 Louisville had little trouble with Houston, beating the Cougars 91-52. The big development in this one for the Cardinals: Wayne Blackshear scoring 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds.
  • An R.J. Hunter bucket in the final seconds gave Georgia State a 73-72 win over Arkansas State, moving the Panthers to 4-0 in Sun Belt play.
  • Michael Alvarado scored 21 points to go along with seven steals and five assists to lead Manhattan to a 90-68 win over Siena.
  • Corey Walden led four players in double figures as Eastern Kentucky beat Belmont 74-63, handing the Bruins their first loss in OVC play.
  • Bryce Cotton’s three-point play with just over eight seconds remaining in double overtime gave Providence an 84-83 win at St. John’s.
  • Elon won 87-85 in overtime at Davidson to hand the Wildcats their first loss in Southern Conference play, creating a three-way tie for third place in the league standings.
  • Clarke Rosenberg led five Chicago State players in double figures with 20 points as the Panthers knocked off WAC favorite New Mexico State, 86-81. Chicago State and Utah Valley are tied for first with matching 3-0 records.
  • Delon Wright was all over the box score in Utah’s 84-66 win over USC, tallying 22 points, six rebounds, six steals, five assists and two blocked shots.
  • Alan Williams (15 rebounds) and Mitch Brewe scored 12 points apiece and Michael Bryson added 11 in UCSB’s 62-48 win over Long Beach State.
  • Paul Egwuonwu scored 13 points to lead Montana State to a 70-55 win over Northern Colorado, moving the Bobcats into a three-way tie for first in the Big Sky. These two teams, along with Northern Arizona, all have 4-1 conference records.

Kentucky fans flood Facebook page of official John Higgins’ company with negative reviews

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Unhappy with how John Higgins performed at his part-time job, Kentucky fans did their best trash him at his full-time gig.

The Facebook page of the referee’s Omaha-based roofing company was flooded by Big Blue Nation with negative comments and reviews after they were displeased with the official’s work in the Wildcats’ Elite Eight loss to North Carolina.

Not only did fans leave obviously fake and vulgar comments on the page, they also deluged it with one-star reviews to drive down its average significantly.

Once again, the Internet is struck by its proportionality problem. What could be considered a silly bit of online pranking by a small minority suddenly turns into an avalanche of nastiness that could do real damage to someone’s life, business and family, given the importance of social media for companies in 2017. It becomes cruel when it reaches a level like this.

When there’s so many general complaints about the state of officiating in college basketball, it’s also not helpful to do something like this to one of the referees generally considered to be one of the country’s best. It’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for prospective future officials to follow the career path if it brings this level of negative attention to you off the court.

Report: North Carolina to miss out on NCAA events through 2022 if HB2 not addressed by Thursday

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North Carolina is in danger of losing out on hosting NCAA events through 2022 if the state does not make changes to HB2, the controversial so-called “bathroom bill” by Thursday afternoon, according to the leader of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

“I have confirmed with a contact very close to the NCAA that its deadline for HB2 is 48 hours from now,” Scott Dupree, the head of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, said, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “If HB2 has not been resolved by that time, the NCAA will have no choice but to move forward without the North Carolina bids.”

“The NCAA has already delayed the bid review process once and has waited as long as it possibly can, and now it must finalize all championship site selections through spring of 2022.”

The NCAA, as it reminded North Carolina last week, is making its determinations on hosts for events from 2018-2022 this week. There was movement last week at the North Carolina statehouse for a compromise on the bill, but that apparently stalled out, the News & Observer reported, though there remain efforts to make progress on a pact.

Should lawmakers not reach an agreement in time, the state’s flagship basketball programs will be without an NCAA tournament home-court advantage that they have often enjoyed. HB2 just this past year moved the first and second rounds out of the state and to South Carolina, where No. 2 seed Duke lost to the seventh-seeded Gamecocks in their home state.

Clearly, there’s much more to consider here than NCAA tournament implications, but it’s another reminder of the economic impact the bill has made in North Carolina. This week, The Associated Press estimated it will cost the state $3.76 billion over a 12-year period.

Baylor’s Freeman to graduate and transfer

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Baylor is losing one of its contributors over the past three seasons.

Al Freeman, a 6-foot-3 guard, will graduate and transfer to another school, the Bears announced Tuesday.

“Al has been a tremendous student-athlete and made great contributions to our program over the last four years, and we’re thrilled that he’s going to complete his degree at Baylor,” Bears coach Scott Drew said in a statement. “He’ll always be part of the Baylor family, and we’ll be rooting for him as he continues his career.”

Freeman, who redshirted his freshman year due to a broken wrist, started 57 games during his career in Waco and averaged 8.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He was a full-time starter as a sophomore, but made just 22 this past season and saw his minutes slashed.

As a graduate transfer, the Charlotte native will be immediately eligible at his next program for his final collegiate season.

Xavier sophomore Edmond Sumner declares for NBA Draft

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Xavier sophomore Edmond Sumner has declared for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent.

“First let me start by saying these three years at Xavier have been the best of my life,” Sumner said in a statement. “I have certainly been presented with some ups and downs but they have only served to make me a stronger person. This decision was very hard for me because of the love I have for X. After weighing my options with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft, fulfilling a lifelong dream. I want to thank Coach Mack and the rest of the staff for believing in me and giving me a chance when no one did! I’ll always be grateful for that. Xavier Nation I will always love you!”

Sumner, a 6-foot-6 point guard with dynamic athleticism and first round potential that averaged 15.0 points, but he is coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered in January. He’s likely to be a second round pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

This is a big loss for the Musketeers, but it’s one that they planned for. After his eruption last season, most expected him to put his name in the draft this season.

Duke freshman Harry Giles III declares for NBA Draft

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Harry Giles III has declared for the NBA Draft after playing just one season at Duke.

“Playing in the NBA has been my goal for as long as I can remember, and I’m so excited to take the next step in that journey,” Giles said. “My time at Duke has been a dream come true. I’ve built so many strong relationships here and I have so many people to thank, from my teammates and coaches to our medical staff and strength coach. I can’t understate how proud I am to be part of the Duke Basketball program forever.”

Giles played in 26 games for the Blue Devils. He started six games and averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story with Giles. At one point considered to be the best player in the loaded Class of 2016, Giles has dealt with a pair of devastating knee injuries already. He underwent a third surgery right before the start of the season and never seemed like he was fully able to get back to being the player he was when he was in high school.

This is the right decision for Giles to make, as there is still some uncertainty regarding the health of his knees. Were his struggles due to the fact that he was tossed right into the middle of a college basketball season after having sat out for 14 straight months, or was this simply a result of knees that no longer allow him to be the player that he used to be?

He might still end up being a first round pick this year. At the very least, he’s make some guaranteed money if he can get into a camp. Maybe returning to school could have helped vault him into the lottery in 2018, but another year like this year would’ve firebombed his draft stock.

“With his uplifting personality and love for the game, Harry Giles has been a joy to coach,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He is only beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be on the basketball court. Harry has an exciting NBA future ahead of him and we are here to fully support him as a member of our brotherhood.”

I know I’m not alone when I say I hope that Giles gets healthy and succeeds in the NBA.