Late Night Snacks: Three ranked teams fall away from home

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Nevada 96, Fresno State 86 (2OT)

Nevada continued its surprising start to Mountain West play but the Wolf Pack needed extra time to do so, moving to 5-1 in league play with a 96-86 double overtime win at Fresno State. Point guard Deonte Burton accounted for 31 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead the way, with Cole Huff adding 31 to go along with eight rebounds. And if not for these two Nevada would not have gotten to either overtime, with Burton tying things up at the end of regulation and Huff doing so at the end of the first overtime. Tyler Johnson led the way for Fresno State with 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) No. 21 Michigan 75, No. 10 Iowa 67

The Wolverines remain undefeated in Big Ten play as a result of their win over the Hawkeyes in Ann Arbor. Nik Stauskas, who was left off of the Wooden Award’s midseason list, scored 26 points and Jordan Morgan and Glenn Robinson III combined to add 26 points and 16 rebounds. Iowa hung tough, but their 14 turnovers were a problem as Michigan converted those opportunities into 20 points.

2) Richmond 58, No. 12 UMass 55

Kendall Anthony scored 21 points to lead the Spiders to the win in Richmond. UMass shot 2-for-14 from beyond the arc and Chaz Willliams was limited to 2-for-11 shooting from the field. UMass escaped three close calls to start Atlantic 10 play but they weren’t as fortunate against Richmond.

3) Minnesota 81, No. 9 Wisconsin 68

Wisconsin’s defensive struggles continue as they allowed 70-plus points for the fifth straight game, and Minnesota would surpass that make despite losing Andre Hollins to a sprained ankle 16 seconds into the game. It was a team effort for the Golden Gophers, who received contributions from Austin Hollins, Dre Mathieu and Mo Walker just to name three of the standouts.

STARRED

1) Deonte Burton (Nevada) 

32 points (14-for-20 FG), five rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocked shots in Nevada’s 96-86 double overtime win at Fresno State.

2) Jordan McRae (Tennessee)

34 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots in the Volunteers’ 81-74 win over Arkansas.

3) Billy Baron (Canisius)

31 points on 10-for-17 shooting, three rebounds and three assists in the Golden Griffins’ 87-74 win over Niagara.

STRUGGLED

1) USF

The Bulls didn’t have the look of a team ready to compete, shooting 36.4% from the field and committing 23 turnovers in an 86-47 loss to No. 12 Louisville.

2) North Carolina A&T

The Aggies shot 22.7% from the field and finished with twice as many turnovers (20) as made field goals (ten) in an 84-44 loss at North Carolina Central.

3) Illinois State 

The Redbirds shot 1-for-25 from three in their 70-55 loss to No. 5 Wichita State.  

NOTABLES

  • No. 5 Wichita State moved to 20-0 with a 70-55 win over Illinois State. Cleanthony Early scored 23 points and grabbed ten rebounds to lead the way, and Tekele Cotton threw down one of the best (if not the best) dunks of the season.
  • In a matchup of 6-0 teams in Patriot League play American blew out Boston University, 86-56. It should be noted that the Eagles trailed 13-2 early in the first half.
  • No. 19 Saint Louis survived an upset bid from Duquesne, beating the Dukes 76-72 in Pittsburgh. Jordair Jett finished with ten points, 11 assists and four steals.
  • Travis McKie scored 24 points to lead Wake Forest to an 83-77 win at Virginia Tech, the Demon Deacons’ second ACC road win under Jeff Bzdelik.
  • Northeastern beat Towson 57-54, handing the Tigers their first loss in CAA play. David Walker’s three-pointer in the final seconds proved to be the difference for the Huskies, who at one point led by as much as 20.
  • Jabari Parker scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in No. 18 Duke’s 67-46 win at Miami, avenging their loss to the reigning ACC champions last season in Coral Gables.
  • Tennessee came back from eight down to beat Arkansas 81-74, with Jordan McRae scoring 34 points to lead the way.
  • Charlon Kloof tallied 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead St. Bonaventure to a 66-51 win over La Salle, handing the Explorers their first loss in Atlantic 10 play.
  • Freshman Nikola Jovanovic scored a career-high 23 points to lead USC to a 77-69 win over California, giving Andy Enfield his first Pac-12 win. Cal’s loss leaves Arizona in sole possession of first place.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 7 San Diego State 75, San Jose State 50
  • No. 12 Louisville 86, USF 47
  • No. 25 Oklahoma 77, TCU 69

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.