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Late Night Snacks: No. 4 Wichita State, No. 5 San Diego State grab road wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 San Diego State 67, Boise State 65

Boise State was in complete control at home, on the verge of snagging the kind of win that could launch them back into the bubble conversation, when Xavier Thames and SDSU took control. He scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half, sparked a game-changing 15-0 run that gave the Aztecs their first second half lead, and, on the final SDSU possession, found Dwayne Polee for the game-winning three.

In the last two games, the Broncos have blown a 15-point second half lead against SDSU and an 11-point lead in the final 3:29 at UNLV. If they end up on the wrong side of the bubble, those are the two losses that are going to hurt.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) West Virginia 91, No. 21 Oklahoma 86 OT: Try to wrap your head around this: West Virginia is currently sitting tied for third in the Big 12, what is probably the consensus toughest conference in the country. West Virginia! Juwan Staten, as of this moment, might actually be the Big 12 Player of the Year. Juwan Staten! He had 20 points, 10 boards and six assists against Oklahoma and it went largely unmentioned. Bob Huggins has done one heckuva coaching job in Morgantown.

2) No. 25 Pittsburgh 59, Miami 55 OT: Lamar Patterson finished with 25 points, but his supporting struggled in one of the uglier games you’ll see this season. With four minutes left in the second half, the two teams had combined to score 21 points on 9-for-39 shooting after halftime. The good news for the Panthers? They avoid an ugly loss that would do some damage to their tournament resume, which still needs work. The bad news? This certainly didn’t help the perception that Pitt is living off of a weak schedule and their brand.

3) No. 4 Wichita State 65, Indiana State 58: The Shockers cleared the biggest hurdle in their pursuit of perfection on Wednesday night, outlasting a tough Indiana State team in Terre Haute.

STARRED:

1) Arkansas center Bobby Portis set a school scoring record for a freshman as he went for 35 points, nine boards and six blocks while shooting 14-for-17 from the floor in a 65-58 win over Alabama. He had 29 of the first 35 points for the Razorbacks. The rest of the team shot 8-for-40 from the field.

2) Delaware erased a 20 point deficit in the final nine minutes to remain undefeated in CAA play, and it was Davon Usher that was the reason why. He scored 42 points on 14-for-20 shooting and had seven steals in the 67-64 win. He scored 27 of those 40 points in the final 8:30.

3) Malcolm Brogdon had 17 points, 11 boards and seven assists in a win over Boston College, the 10th straight games that Brogdon has scored in double figures.

STRUGGLED:

1) Langston Galloway was held to just 3-for-13 shooting, finishing with just six points as No. 13 Saint Louis smacked around St. Joe’s, 65-49.

2) Tennessee’s Jordan McRae was just 6-for-18 from the field as Tennessee lost at Vanderbilt, 64-60. The Vols seem destined for another March spent curled up on the bubble’s cut line.

3) Richard Solomon was 1-for-7 from the floor and committed four fouls while Dwight Powell finished with 22 points, 11 boards and six assists as Cal followed up their win over No. 1 Arizona with their fourth loss in five games, getting drubbed at home by Stanford.

NOTABLES:

  • Portland fought back from a 22-point deficit to take a second half lead in Spokane, but Sam Dower stepped up late to push Gonzaga to the 71-66 win. The Bulldogs, who visit Memphis on Saturday, remain three games up in WCC play.
  • No. 20 Virginia moved to 9-1 in ACC play with a 77-67 win over Boston College. Of their nine league wins, eight have been by double-digit margins.
  • No. 13 Saint Louis set a school record with its 15th consecutive win, a 65.49 conquest at Saint Joseph’s. The Billikens limited the Hawks to 31.9% shooting from the field.
  • New Mexico remained a game behind San Diego State in the loss column with a 66-61 overtime victory over Wyoming. The Lobos and Aztecs don’t meet for the first time in Mountain West play until February 22.
  • With Dylon Cormier done for the season, Loyola (MD) still managed to hand American its first Patriot League defeat in Baltimore. Tyler Hubbard scored 20 points in leading the Greyhounds to the 62-58 win.
  • Purdue survived some shoddy late-game foul shooting to outlast Minnesota 77-74 in triple overtime. The game is the longest ever played at Mackey Arena.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • No. 10 Michigan 79, Nebraska 50
  • No. 14 Louisville 77, Houston 62

White decides to return to Nebraska

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Nebraska’s second-leading scorer from last season will return for his senior season as Andrew White III announced Wednesday he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft.

“I felt good about the pre-draft process, White said in a statement released by Nebraska. “It was encouraging, and I gained as much ground as anyone throughout the process. I wanted one more year to fine tune my game and put myself in better position for the NBA next summer.  

“I want to thank the teams who invited me their in-house workouts, and Nebraska for supporting me during this process.  It has been very helpful in gathering information in preparation for my future Thank you to everyone who has been following my progress throughout the spring and being understanding and supportive, as I evaluated whether to turn pro or return for my senior year.”

White, a Kansas transfer, tallied 16.6 points per game last season while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He also pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game.

“We are excited to have Andrew remain with our program,” coach Tim Miles said. “This has been a valuable time for him, as he has tested his skills against some of the best competition and received very important insight from key NBA personnel.  

“We look forward to continuing to help Andrew’s development to improve his NBA profile even more than he already has done through this process.  I believe next year could be our most complete team with a great opportunity for success in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament, I’m happy Andrew will be with us to go out and prove it.”

The news is certainly welcome for the Cornhuskers and Miles, who will be under pressure to show improvement after back-to-back disappointing seasons following an NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Shavon Shields, last year’s leading scorer, has exhausted his eligibility and the Huskers will need White to help fill the void.

Trimble coming back to Terps

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (AP Photo/Matt Hazlett)
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Melo Trimble is returning to Maryland.

The Terrapin guard will be back to for his junior season in College Park, according to multiple reports.

Trimble went from freshman first-rounder to question mark after a rough end to his sophomore season for Maryland in which his points per game, shooting percentage (both overall and from 3-point range) and rebounding dipped from his first season. Only his assists per game showed any sort of improvement. He waited until the last possible day to announce his intentions to return to school, but really his options were limited after seeing his production drop.

His decision to come back to school gives him a shot to restore his draft stock while Maryland gets its floor general back to help ease the transition from last year’s Sweet 16 squad that lost Diamond Stone, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman. The Terps might not be a sure-fire top-25 team with Trimble back, but their NCAA tournament chances are now significantly higher.

Nevada lands Martin twins

Caleb Martin, Jordan Roper
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Eric Musselman keeps adding reinforcements to his roster. For the 2017-18 season.

Musselman and Nevada received commitments from N.C. State transfers and twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, according to multiple reports.

That brings Nevada’s sit-out transfer count for this upcoming season to four with Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) already in the fold. Under NCAA transfer rules, the quartet will have to sit out the upcoming season before being eligible in 2017-18.

Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 36 percent from deep while Cody put up 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

The timing of having four sit-out transfers works well for the Wolf Pack given that two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, D.J. Fenner (a senior) and Cameron Oliver (a sophomore), return while senior transfers Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) becomes eligible. Having those four experienced transfers begin playing in 2017-18 while all but two players from this upcoming team slated to return makes Nevada an interesting team, a year from now.

Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

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After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

Swanigan staying for sophomore season

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue will once again be rolling out a formidable frontcourt in the 2016-17 season.

Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan is withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to West Lafayette for his sophomore season, the school announced Wednesday.

The NBA is right there and always will be,” Swanigan said in the school’s press release, “but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you.”

Purdue is losing 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, but will be once again teaming Swanigan with Isaac Haas (7-2) and Vince Edwards (6-8) that will allow them to roll out a supersized lineup that is sure to be a difficult one to face off against.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, who likely would have landed as a second-round pick, averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award for the country’s top freshman.

“We are excited that (Swanigan) has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue,” head coach said Matt Painter in a statement released by the school. “He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player.”

Purdue is probably a rung down from Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the league, but the return of Swanigan pulls them closer to competing at the top of the league next season.