Late Night Snacks: No. 17 Ohio State snaps four-game skid

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Portland 114, BYU 110 (3OT)

Portland has now beaten both Gonzaga and BYU at home this season, and their win over the Cougars may stand as one of the best games of the season when we reach early April. Tyler Haws, whose 48 points were the most scored in a WCC game since Loyola Marymount great Bo Kimble scored 50 in a game against San Francisco on February 4, 1990 (interestingly, the late Hank Gathers scored 49 in a game against LSU the day prior), tied the game at 80 with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. And his three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining in the first overtime would force a second extra session, only to have Portland’s Bobby Sharp return the favor and force a third extra session.

Sharp scored 27 points off the bench for the Pilots, who also received a 27-point, 18-rebound performance from Thomas van der Mars. In total nine players reached double figures (five for Portland, four for BYU), and if the Cougars are to look at any aspect of this game it would likely be their 9-for-24 night from beyond the arc. Portland outscored them by 15 points from deep, dropping BYU two games behind Gonzaga two days ahead of their meeting in Spokane.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 17 Ohio State 62, Illinois 55

Both teams entered the game with four-game losing streaks but it was Ohio State who made enough shots in the end. LaQuinton Ross scored 14 of his 18 points after halftime and Lenzelle Smith Jr. snapped out of his six-game slump by hitting four of his eight three-point attempts. As for Illinois they need to get Rayvonte Rice, who missed all eight of his shot attempts and went scoreless, back on track.

2) Washington 80, Oregon 76

A C.J. Wilcox three-pointer in the game’s final minute sealed the deal for Washington, who handed the Ducks their fifth consecutive loss. Wilcox hit five of his six three-point attempts and scored 23 points to lead the Huskies, who shot 57.8% from the field. Joseph Young scored 18 to lead Oregon but the struggles of the other starters combined with more defensive woes resulted in yet another defeat.

3) Mercer 68, FGCU 55

In a matchup of the top two teams in the Atlantic Sun the home standing Bears gained a small measure of revenge for last season’s A-Sun tournament final with a 13-point victory in Macon. Langston Hall led the way with 18 points and 11 assists for Mercer, which limited FGCU to 35% shooting from the field and 1-for-17 from beyond the arc. Bernard Thompson scored 21 to lead the way for the Eagles but needed 18 attempts to do so.

STARRED

1) Tyler Haws (BYU) and Thomas van der Mars (Portland) 

Haws scored 48 points (17-for-34 FG, 10-for-13 FT) for the Cougars, only to fall at Portland in triple overtime with van der Mars putting up 27 points (9-for-14 FG) and 18 rebounds (ten offensive).

2) Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington)

Harvey set a new Big Sky record by going 20-for-20 from the foul line in the Eagles’ 90-83 win over Southern Utah. Harvey finished the game with 36 points and eight rebounds.

3) R.J. Hunter (Georgia State)

Hunter scored 33 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Panthers’ 77-70 win at Louisiana.

STRUGGLED

1) Rayvonte Rice (Illinois)

Rice went scoreless in Illinois’ 62-55 loss at No. 17 Ohio State, shooting 0-for-8 from the field.

2) UCF

In their 69-51 loss at No. 15 Cincinnati the Knights managed to shoot 6-for-17 from the foul line.  

3) Chasson Randle (Stanford) 

While he did finish with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists Randle shot 3-for-16 from the field in the Cardinal’s 91-74 loss at UCLA.

NOTABLES

  • No. 1 Arizona scored 18 of the first 22 points in their 69-57 win over Colorado, with the final margin not being an indication of the difference between the two teams.
  • Also in Pac-12 play Arizona State ended its four-game skid with a 79-75 win over Utah, giving older brother Jordan Bachynski temporary bragging rights over younger brother Dallin. Jahii Carson led the Sun Devils with 23 points and eight rebounds.
  • Neil Watson scored 28 points to lead Southern Miss to a 75-60 win at Old Dominion, handing the Monarchs their first Conference USA defeat.
  • Sir’Dominic Pointer’s defense in the final seconds preserved a 77-76 win over Seton Hall for St. John’s, the Red Storm’s first Big East win this season.
  • First-year head coach Will Wade has Chattanooga rolling right now, as the Mocs moved to 7-0 in SoCon play with an 84-63 win over preseason favorite Elon.
  • Craig Bradshaw scored 24 points in Belmont’s 80-66 win over Morehead State, moving to 6-1 in OVC play as a result.
  • Despite 28 points and 11 rebounds from Javon McCrea, Buffalo was upset 71-68 at Bowling Green with their three-point shooting (1-for-14) being one of the reasons why.
  • Northern Colorado made 11 of its 16 three-pointers in an 87-72 win over Northern Arizona, moving to 6-1 in Big Sky play.
  • Tony Parker scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help lead UCLA to their 91-74 win over Stanford.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.

Michigan lands four-star 2018 forward Ignas Brazdeikis

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Michigan added to an already strong Class of 2018 recruiting haul on Friday night as four-star forward Ignas Brazdeikis pledged to the Wolverines on Twitter.

The 6-foot-8 Canadian was one of the premier scorers in the Nike EYBL this past spring and summer playing with CIA Bounce as Brazdeikis averaged 21.1 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor. Well-rounded outside of his scoring, Brazdeikis also put up 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while also showing a workable jumper that was 26 percent from three-point range.

With the job that Michigan head coach John Beilein has done developing forwards, most recently with the rapid improvement of players like D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner, it’ll be fascinating to see how Brazdeikis will look at the college level after some time on campus. Beilein’s offense is favorable for skilled forwards with a penchant for scoring and Brazdeikis could end up being a tremendous fit for the Wolverines.

Brazdeikis becomes the fourth member of Michigan’s Class of 2018 recruiting haul as he joins four-star forward Brandon Johns, four-star guard David Dejulius and three-star forward Taylor Currie.

Sex assault count dropped against ex-Creighton player Watson

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped a first-degree sexual assault charge against former Creighton point guard Maurice Watson after questions arose about the accuser’s story.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced Friday that his office had dropped the felony charge, filed earlier this year when a 19-year-old woman accused Watson of assaulting her early Feb. 4 at a party in an Omaha home. Watson has denied that allegation.

The 24-year-old Watson pleaded no contest Friday to misdemeanor assault for an encounter the same night with a different Creighton student, who said Watson touched her thigh and tried to make her touch his genitals. Watson was sentenced to the five days he’d already served in jail.

Watson was a senior when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, just days before the party.

Storm damage forces Paradise Jam out of Virgin Islands

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MIAMI (AP) — The Paradise Jam basketball tournament will not be played in the U.S. Virgin Islands this year because of damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

The tournament will be played in the U.S., with a new site expected to be announced by Sept. 29.

The Paradise Jam field this year includes Wake Forest, Colorado, Drake, Drexel, Houston, Liberty, Mercer and Quinnipiac, and each of those schools was given the chance to bid for the right to host the tournament.

Tournament officials say they looked at multiple other options, such as moving to another island and using a cruise ship for accommodations, before deciding to move the event to the U.S.

For now, the tournament is scheduled to be played from Nov. 17-20.

Kentucky lands commitment from five-star point guard

Immanuel Quickley (USA Basketball)
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Kentucky landed a commitment from Immanuel Quickley on Friday night, a top ten prospect and arguably the best point guard in the Class of 2018.

Quickley picked the Wildcats over Kansas, who he visited earlier this month, and Miami, who he was scheduled to visit before Hurricane Irma struck south Florida.

The 6-foot-3 point guard is the first commitment in the class of head coach John Calipari, and it really comes as no surprise. He’s been considered a Kentucky lean for months, and Quickley played for Calipari on the USA U19 team during the 2017 FIBA World Cup.

While Quickley has the size and the build – he’s 180 pounds with broad shoulders and long arms – of some of Kentucky’s former elite point guards, he’s not the same kind of point guard as, say, De’Aaron Fox or John Wall. He’s more of a smooth athlete than an explosive one, and while his long strides allow him to get out into transition, he’s not the finisher at the rim that those two were. What he is, however, is an intelligent player. He’s good in ball-screens, he’s an excellent passer and facilitator and he is a good enough shooter that he forces defenses to stay honest. He also has the potential to be a plus defender given his physical tools and the fact that he’ll try on that end of the floor.

Where this commitment gets interesting is the current point guard in Kentucky’s back court, Quade Green. Green was a five-star recruit in his own right, but he’s not quite built as a potential one-and-done prospect. Calipari has maneuvered through two point guards in the past, and each of the last five national champions have played major minutes with two point guards on the floor at the same time, but if Green is back next season that will be something to monitor.

That, however, is a long ways away.

What matters now is that Kentucky has gotten this commitment out of the way, and it paves the way for them to also receive a commitment from Zion Williamson. There has long been talk of those two attending college together, and with Quickley on the board, that likely keeps Kentucky in the driver’s seat as they pursue the South Carolina native.

If Kentucky can also wrangle a commitment out of R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 player in the 2018 recruiting class, that would likely be the end of the discussion of whether or not Duke has surpassed the Wildcats on the recruiting trail.