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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

N.C. State’s Dennis Smith Jr. fully recovered, ready to go

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Kelly Kline/adidas
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Dennis Smith Jr. sure looks ready.

North Carolina State’s prized freshman point guard is pushing through a workout in the practice gym on a hot July afternoon, and there’s no sign of the knee injury that defined his past year.

He’s sprinting along the baseline to bury a catch-and-shoot corner 3-pointer. He’s dribbling between chairs and stutter-stepping his way to a pull-up jumper. He’s launching himself at the rim for a dunk off the dribble.

“I don’t expect to be rusty at all,” Smith said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I was feeling kind of nervous at one point, but I went in and did a workout and then I was thinking, `I’m putting in all this work so all the nervousness should be out of my mind.’ I had no reason to be timid.

“I just have to go out there and perform, no excuses.”

A lot has happened for Smith in 12 months. The Fayetteville native suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament in a game during the Adidas Nations event featuring top prospects. He had surgery, picked N.C. State, graduated from high school early and enrolled in college in January to rehab and learn the Wolfpack’s system before his debut later this year.

Tuesday marks one year since the injury for the 6-foot-3 Smith, ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 1 point guard when he signed last fall.

“We’ve tried to be real conservative with him as far as not letting him do too much too fast,” coach Mark Gottfried said. “At his age, he can’t wait. He’s dying to play every day.”

Smith started earning his leadership role as soon as he arrived in Raleigh, pointing out instructions to teammates or calling them to the gym for extra work even though he couldn’t play. He figures that time observing from the sideline has prepared him to replace high-scoring floor leader Anthony “Cat” Barber.

“I feel like I’ve gotten smarter, definitely,” Smith said. “I see the game totally different now. I read pick-and-roll easier. I feel like I’ve gotten more sound on defense because I understand angles better.”

The physical work to get back has been tougher.

Roughly a year ago, Smith was lying in a bed after surgery trying to stay positive. He asked trainer Ja-Rell Bailey to bring him some free weights for upper-body exercises even if he couldn’t do much else, an example of why Bailey described Smith as “a man determined.”

Smith’s father said the rehab emphasized building leg strength to protect and stabilize the injured knee, something his son said he will keep doing in both legs for years to come. Smith’s work has helped him go from 180 pounds to a college-ready 192-pound frame.

“He’s got his bounce back, so he can dunk and everything,” Dennis Smith Sr. said. “But what Junior has got, God gave it to him. . A lot of times you run into kids who are built off of hype because they do a fancy move or have a good game. Junior ain’t hype. He’s the real deal.”

Regardless, Gottfried expects Smith to have “a learning curve.”

“For me,” he said, “I think what you see in November is going to be much different than what you see in January.”

The Wolfpack will look much different, too, after missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five seasons. N.C. State welcomes Scout.com’s No. 6-ranked recruiting class that includes five-star Turkish big man Omer Yurtseven. Senior guard Terry Henderson returns from an ankle injury that sidelined him 7 minutes into last season. Charlotte transfer and former Conference USA freshman of the year Torin Dorn Jr. will play after sitting out last year.

Still, Smith is the guy stirring the most buzz for Wolfpack fans – something he has no trouble embracing.

“I really don’t feel that pressure though,” Smith said. “I feel like if you come in and you expect to play well, then you should have those expectations of people talking. It’s just playing basketball to me. I’ve been doing it my whole life.”

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Washington lands commitment from Mamoudou Diarra

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For the second time this summer, Washington has landed a commitment from a forward in the Class of 2017.

On Friday, it was Mamoudou Diarra that pledged his future to Lorenzo Romar. Diarra is a 6-foot-8 combo-forward that is currently unranked by Rivals but was targeted by a number high major program.

Washington landed a commitment from Michael Porter Jr. earlier this summer, and given Porter’s standing as the potential No. 1 player in the class, the Huskies will be in the mix for the best crop of freshmen in the country in 2017-18. Romar has also landed commitments from four-star guard Jaylen Nowell and three-star guard Blake Harris.

RELATED: How the Michael Porter Package Deal came to fruition

Diarra played his high school basketball in St. Louis.

Xavier lands second top 100 commitment in 2017

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Xavier landed a key commitment on Friday morning in Naji Marshall, one of the Musketeers’ top targets in the Class of 2017.

Marshall is a la 6-foot-5 wing from Washington D.C. that is currently ranked 62nd in the 2017 class by Rivals. He’s a scorer that has shown off a versatile offensive game, averaging better than three assists on the Under Armour Association circuit.

This is the third commitment from head coach Chris Mack in the class and the second top 100 player to pledge to the Musketeers. Marshall picked Xavier over Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia Tech, among other.

Four-star 2018 guard Coby White commits to North Carolina

North Carolina coach Roy Williams, center, reacts with his team behind him after a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament against Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Washington. North Carolina won 88-71. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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With guards Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek having committed in their 2017 recruiting class, North Carolina received a commitment from one of the better guards in the Class of 2018 Thursday night. Four-star guard Coby White, who’s ranked 61st in his class by Rivals.com, made his pledge to Roy Williams’ program. News of White’s commitment was first reported by Scout.com.

The 6-foot-4 White is a native of Wilson, North Carolina, where he attends Greenfield HS, and he played his grassroots basketball for the CP3 16U basketball program this summer. His commitment to UNC comes just a couple days after the ACC school offered him a scholarship.

White took an unofficial visit to UNC in June, and his play in July ultimately led to the program making the aforementioned scholarship offer. By the time White enrolls in Chapel Hill, current veterans such as Joel Berry II and Nate Britt will be out of eligibility. Among the perimeter would could potentially be on campus in 2018 are freshmen Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson, and sophomore Kenny Williams.

White is the second commit in the 2018 class for the Tar Heels, with 6-foot-7 guard Rechon Black being the first.

Point guard Small to transfer from Oregon

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 18:  Kendall Small #21 of the Oregon Ducks shoots over Derek Mountain #40 of the Holy Cross Crusaders in the second half during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 18, 2016 in Spokane, Washington.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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After navigating a lack of depth at the point to win the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles and earn the program’s first-ever one seed in the NCAA tournament, Oregon will have no such issues in 2016-17. Dylan Ennis, who missed most of last season with a foot injury, is back for another season as is returning starter Casey Benson. Add in freshman Payton Pritchard, whose shooting ability can help a team that struggled from three a season ago, and Dana Altman has multiple players to call upon at that spot.

That left Kendall Small, who played just under eight minutes per game as a freshman, in a spot where it would have been tough to earn more playing time as a sophomore. As a result he’s decided to transfer, with the news first being reported by Scout.com.

In addition to the three guards mentioned above, sophomore Tyler Dorsey also has the ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. Small will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at whichever school he chooses to transfer to, and he’ll have to sit out the 2016-17 season per NCAA transfer rules.

A 6-foot guard from Anaheim, Small’s best outing came in Oregon’s 77-59 win over Savannah State on November 23. In that game Small accounted for nine points, four assists and three rebounds in 23 minutes of action. But he played double-digit minutes in just four games after the Ducks began Pac-12 play in early January, the last of which being Oregon’s win over Holy Cross in the first round of the NCAA tournament.