Late Night Snacks: No. 21 Michigan wins ninth straight

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 21 Michigan 80, No. 3 Michigan State 75

Michigan won its ninth straight game on Saturday night, using an 8-0 run to take control late in regulation. Nik Stauskas and Derrick Walton Jr. scored 19 points apiece for the Wolverines, who are now the Big Ten’s lone undefeated team. Gary Harris scored 27 to lead the way for Michigan State, but not having forwards Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne proved costly for the Spartans.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 4 Villanova 94, Marquette 85 (OT)

The Wildcats could have gone in the tank following a poor charge call on Tony Chennault at the end of regulation but they didn’t, ending Marquette’s 20-game conference home win streak in the process. Ryan Arcidiacono put together one of his best games as a distributor, finishing with 20 points, 11 assists and no turnovers.

2) No. 7 San Diego State 74, Utah State 69 (OT) 

Xavier Thames scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Aztecs to a tough win in Logan. Spencer Butterfield’s three-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game to overtime but it was all Thames in the extra session, as he scored ten of San Diego State’s 17 points.

3) Texas 74, No. 24 Baylor 60

Isaiah Taylor scored 27 points to lead the Longhorns to their fifth consecutive win while dropping the reeling Bears to 1-5 in Big 12 play. Rick Barnes has a better mix of players this season, and it’s paid off in a big way for the man who began this season on just about every “hot seat” list.

STARRED

1) Aaric Murray (Texas Southern)

26 points and 19 rebounds in the Tigers’ 94-56 win over Mississippi Valley State.

2) J.J. Mann (Belmont) 

34 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the Bruins’ 84-81 win over Eastern Kentucky.

3) Tristan Carey (Longwood) 

Carey scored 37 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Lancers’ 88-85 win at Charleston Southern.  

STRUGGLED

1) Jordan McRae (Tennessee) 

Shot 1-for-15 from the field in the Volunteers’ 67-41 loss at No. 6 Florida.

2) Colorado 

The Buffaloes shot 9-for-24 from the foul line in their 72-51 loss at Arizona State.

3) J.J. Avila (Colorado State)

Avila shot 1-for-12 from the field, scoring eight points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 68-66 loss to New Mexico.

NOTABLES

  • No. 2 Syracuse and No. 5 Wichita State both picked up road wins to remain undefeated, with the Orange beating Miami 64-52 and the Shockers outclassing Drake 78-61.
  • No. 18 Duke shot just 30.5% from the field, but they forced 17 turnovers in their 78-56 win over Florida State. The win is Mike Krzyzewski’s 900th at Duke.
  • No. 16 Iowa State ended its three-game losing streak with an 81-75 win over No. 22 Kansas State. Melvin Ejim led the way with 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
  • Devin Thomas scored 21 points on 10-for-11 shooting as Wake Forest remained undefeated at home with a 65-58 win over Notre Dame.
  • No. 6 Florida whipped Tennessee 67-41, limiting the Volunteers to 26.8% shooting from the field and 1-for-19 from three.
  • Larry Nance Jr.’s jump hook in the final seconds of overtime gave Wyoming a 64-62 win over Nevada. Nance finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, thoroughly outplaying Nevada’s A.J. West.
  • On a night that featured the retirement of Eddie House’s jersey, Arizona State beat Colorado with Jahii Carson’s 18 points, six rebounds and four assists leading the way. Colorado shot 9-for-24 from the foul line.
  • Doug McDermott scored just 14 points but it was balance that led Creighton to the 76-63 win over Georgetown. Five players scored in double figures, with Will Artino (14 points) and Devin Brooks (11) combining to score 25 off the bench.
  • Kevin Pangos scored 24 points and Sam Dower added 18 in Gonzaga’s 84-69 win over BYU.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

N.C. State adds grad transfer Sam Hunt

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N.C. State added its fourth transfer this offseason. Like ex-Baylor guard Al Freeman, the latest one is eligible to play next season.

Sam Hunt, a double-digit scorer the past two seasons at North Carolina A&T, officially enrolled at North Carolina State on Monday morning.

“Sam is a great young man and will bring much needed depth to our backcourt,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. “I want guys who are excited about being a part of our program and Sam really wants to be here.

“Sam is a combo guard that can space the floor with his ability to shoot the basketball. He is a good fit for the system and will bring a wealth of experience to our roster.”

Hunt, the 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12.7 points per game last season, a dip from the 15.4 points per game he posted for the Aggies as a redshirt sophomore.

Hunt joins a roster that lost its three leading scorers from a season ago, one that ended 15-17 (4-14 ACC). Dennis Smith Jr. is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Maverick Rowan also pursued a professional career and Terry Henderson was denied an additional year from the NCAA.

The Wolf Pack bring back forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven as well as Torin Dorn.

Keatts, who took over the program after leading UNC Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has already built for the future. UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce, 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Seahawks, has followed him to Raleigh. Utah transfer Devon Daniels committed to the Wolf Pack the same day as Bryce. Both will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Bryce will have two years of eligibility while Daniels will have three.

LaVar Ball stars in an uncomfortably entertaining segment on WWE’s Raw

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LaVar Ball’s statements and antics over this past year always seemed better suited a professional wrestling ring.

It was only natural that the patriarch of the Ball family — and the head of the Big Baller Brand — made an appearance on WWE’s Monday Night Raw at the Staples Center for an awkwardly entertaining segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz.

With sons, Lonzo — in his first appearance in the Staples Center as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers — and LaMelo looking on, LaVar was the center of attention. When The Miz mentioned something about a partnership between the two, the scripted interview went south. It resulted in LaVar saying nonsensical things like, “There’s only two dudes better than me, and I’m both of ’em!” before later taking off his shirt. When Dean Ambrose, a WWE superstar feuding with The Miz came out on to the ramp, LaVar didn’t quite grasp the concept that that was his cue to stop talking.

This segment was somehow entertaining and cringeworthy at the same time.

Now that Lonzo is beginning his NBA career, maybe it’s time LaVar try something different. A manager in the WWE may just be his true calling. He’s certainly had plenty of practice.

Maryland lands commitment from five-star 2018 forward

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Maryland added to its 2018 recruiting class with its second commit, the newest addition being a five-star in-state product.

Jalen Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward from Baltimore powerhouse Mount St. Joseph, committed to the Terrapins, making the announcement on Twitter.

“I believe that I can academically and athletically achieve my goals at home through my commitment to the University of Maryland … Go Terps,” he tweeted as part of a long passage.

Smith is listed as the No. 13 overall recruit in the Class of 2013 by Rivals. He joins four-star swingman Aaron Wiggins in Mark Turgeon’s current recruiting class.

Playing for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game.

Recent grad’s joyride reportedly did $100,000 of damages to Mizzou Arena

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A recent graduate and temporary employee of the University of Missouri took an early morning joy ride that reportedly could rack up around $100,000 to Mizzou Arena.

According to Dave Mater of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nathaniel J. Contant, 23, who graduated from the school in December 2016, drove his Volkswagen Passat through a gate and eventually on to the floor of the 15,000-seat on-campus arena.

At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, MU police were dispatched to Mizzou Arena for a report of property damage. Officers determined that around 4 a.m., the suspect drove his vehicle through a closed gate on the south side of the arena. He ran through a garage door and drove into a dock area where he damaged several golf carts that were stored in the area. He also drove his car onto the basketball court. The man couldn’t leave through the area he used to enter the building, so he drove through the arena’s press gate.

Contant, unsurprisingly, is no longer an employee of the university. He’s being charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage, both of which are felonies. He was released on a $4,500 bond.

The motive for this early-morning joyride remains unclear.

Despite the hype surrounding the upcoming Mizzou season — one that includes the debut of new head coach Cuonzo Martin and the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter, Jr. — Twitter users couldn’t help but poke fun at the dismal recent history the Tigers have had.

(h/t Kansas City Star)

Vance Jackson transfers to New Mexico

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With more than a handful of departures this offseason, New Mexico is set to have a new-look roster for the 2017-18 season. On Monday, Paul Weir, now at the helm of the program, landed a player who should make an impact in the three remaining seasons of eligibility he has left.

Vance Jackson, who spent this past season at UConn, decided to make the move from Storrs to Albuquerque, picking the Lobos over Rutgers, San Diego State, TCU, and Washington.

The 6-foot-8 rising sophomore will have to sit out next year due to NCAA transfer rules before resuming his collegiate career in the fall of 2018.

“The coaches — they trust in me,” Jackson told Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal last month during his official campus visit. “We’re on the same page. They see a vision.”

Weir, who led New Mexico State this past season to a NCAA Tournament appearance in his one and only season as head coach, succeeded Craig Neal in April.

This offseason has been headlined by transfers, though, those mostly were about players leaving the program. Jackson is the second transfer to land at UNM with Akron’s Antino Jackson electing to use his final season of eligibility with the Lobos. Antino Jackson is a graduate transfer, allowing him to play immediately next season.

Vance Jackson, who was rated as the No. 80 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting just under 40 percent from three for the Huskies as a freshman.