Jay Wright

Late Night Snacks: Jay Wright wins 400th, Doug McDermott passes J.J. Redick on all-time scoring list

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia 53, Princeton 52

Columbia accomplished something tonight that they haven’t done since 1993: beat Princeton at Jadwin Gymnasium. For some of the players on Columbia, they weren’t even born the last time this occurred. As another point of reference, Pete Carril was coaching Princeton the last time Columbia won at Jadwin. More than just breaking this curse, the Lions remain alive in the chase for an Ivy League championship. With Harvard sitting at 5-0, it’s beginning to look like three losses will all but eliminate a team from winning the Ancient Eight. Meiko Lyles hit a three-pointer with 28 seconds remaining to propel Columbia to the one point victory.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) Villanova 70, Seton Hall 53

Jay Wright won the 400th game of his coaching career as Villanova routed Seton Hall to move to 21-2 on the season, and 9-2 in the Big East. Four of Villanova’s starters scored in double-figures and did so in an extremely efficient fashion. JayVaughn Pinkston, Daniel Ochefu, James Bell, and Darrun Hilliard II combined to shoot 24-34 FG for 59 points. Seton Hall hung around for much of the first half, but a Pinkson layup early in the second half extended the Wildcats’ lead to 38-28, and the Pirates never got within single-digits the rest of the way.

2) Creighton 78, DePaul 66

Creighton wasn’t at their best tonight, but Doug McDermott was his usual good self. The Bluejays led DePaul for the entire game, but the Blue Demons made a run in the second half to get within a point with less than eight minutes remaining. McDermott then took over the game, scoring 11 of Creighton’s next 14 points to ensure the victory. Creighton is now 10-1 in the Big East.

3) Manhattan 84, Canisius 73

Losers of three of their last five games, Manhattan was beginning to fall out of contention for the MAAC regular season title. Tonight in Buffalo against Canisius, however, George Beamon out-dueled Billy Baron as the Jaspers picked up a much needed win.

STARRED

1) Tony Hicks (Pennsylvania) — The sophomore guard dropped in 27 points and dished out seven assists as the Quakers got back to .500 in the Ivy League.

2) A.J. English (Iona) — David Laury was actually the big story for Iona as he came off the bench to score 28 points, but it was English’s game-winning three-point bucket in the final seconds that propelled the Gaels to a win at Niagara. Iona sits alone atop the MAAC with an 11-2 conference record.

3) George Beamon (Manhattan) — Hindered by an injury to his shoulder that sidelined him for a few games, Beamon has struggled in his return from a scoring perspective. Tonight against Canisius, Beamon was in top-form as he scored 27 points, along with four rebounds and four assists.

STRUGGLED

1) Cornell — Big Red isn’t winless, but they are against Division 1 competition. In their loss to Pennsylvania, Cornell is now 1-18 overall and 0-5 in the Ivy League. Their lone win on the season has come against Oberlin.

2) Sean McGonagill — Brown was looking to move to 4-1 in the Ivy League, but their star guard struggled from the field, shooting just 2-11 for eight points. The Bears scored just 45 points in the loss (52-45).

3)  Fuquan Edwin — Seton Hall hung around with Villanova for a half, but Edwin shot just 3-10 from the floor and scored eight points as the Pirates were unable to keep pace.

NOTABLES

  • Yale went on the road and beat Dartmouth, 67-54. The Bulldogs are now 4-1 in the Ivy League, and will travel to Cambridge tomorrow evening for the “game of the year” in the Ancient Eight to date as Harvard and Yale currently sit at 1-2 in the league.
  • Mercer escaped Kennesaw State, winning 75-68. A loss here would have been the Bears’ second consecutive loss, and a real disastrous one as the Owls entered the game with a 4-20 record.
  • Jay Hook hit a free throw with a second remaining as Tulane defeated Charlotte, 64-63.
  • Southern Mississippi overcame an 11 point halftime deficient, and eked past Marshall at home, maintaining their position atop Conference USA.
  • Juwan Howard Jr. hit a three-pointer in the final seconds to propel Detroit to a road victory against Valparaiso, 59-57.

UT-Arlington dominates, upsets No. 12 St. Mary’s

Texas-Arlington's Kevin Hervey, left, reacts to a 73-68 NCAA college basketball game win as Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate looks on  in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
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UT-Arlington made a statement on Thursday night, completely dominating No. 12 Saint Mary’s in a 65-51 upset win in a true road game in Moraga.

Back in October, I ranked both the Gaels and the Mavericks in the top-5 of my Mid-Major Power Rankings. Saint Mary’s was the obvious top choice, one of the nation’s most efficient offenses that returned Emmett Naar and Jock Landale. UT-Arlington, ranked fifth, served as a dangerous opponent. The Mavs had defeated Ohio State and Memphis in 2015, but their season was derailed once Kevin Hervey, a player with serious pro potential, tore his ACL.

With five starters back, including Hervey, who is just now getting back to 100 percent, UT-Arlington looks every bit the part of a March Cinderella.

The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead and forced the Gaels to play out of character. Saint Mary’s had only committed a season-high 14 turnovers before the midway point of the second half. The Gaels, who entered shooting 40 percent from three as a team, was held to 8-of-27 (30 percent) from beyond the arc.

UT-Arlington did an incredible job of closing out on shooters. And it didn’t matter the matchup, at times we saw Hervey, a 6-foot-9 junior, come out and run a guard off the 3-point line. While those statistics mentioned above show up in the box score, the amount of deflections don’t. The Mavericks used its length and athleticism to get their hands everywhere on the defensive end of the floor, making it difficult to find good looks.

In the first half, UT-Arlington controlled the glass. Saint Mary’s found more success in that department after halftime, as Kevin Clark’s offensive putback capped an 11-2 run, which cut the deficit to 52-41. However, the Mavs were able to counter each time the Gaels threatened, never letting the lead get to single digits.

Aside from the struggles the typically-efficient Saint Mary’s offense had, the Gaels struggled to keep UT-Arlington guards Erick Neal and Kaelon Wilson out of the lane, whether it be on a high ball screen or a handoff. Saint Mary’s never seemed to have a help-side defender there to protect the rim. Neal had 13 points and eight assists (five turnovers), while Wilson had 10 points off the bench. Hervey had a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds.

UT-Arlington is winners of eight straight after losing three straight. One of those wins includes a double-digit win over Texas in Austin. The Mavericks are the clear-cut favorite to win the Sun Belt. Come Selection Sunday, I’d say plenty of at-large teams would not like to be paired up with Scott Cross’ team.

Iowa cruises past No. 25 Iowa State

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Iowa Hawkeyes reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Iowa picked up a major win on Thursday night, defeating in-state rival No. 25 Iowa State, 78-64, in a contest the Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated.

Let’s put it this way: the Hawkeyes have played four top-100 teams, according to kenpom. In those games, all losses by the way, their defense has surrendered 91 points to Seton Hall, 74 points to a Virginia team that plays at the slowest tempo in the country, 100 points to Memphis and 92 points to Notre Dame.

On Saturday, on the same floor Iowa demolished the Cyclones, its defense allowed 98 points in a loss to Nebraska Omaha.

This is exactly the sort of win Fran McCaffery and Co. needed to right the ship as we inch closer and closer to conference play.

When the Cyclones went to their bench in the first half, Nick Baer sparked a 10-0 run which helped set the tone for the remainder of the half. Iowa State went without a field goal for more than six minutes during that span.

Iowa kept Iowa State from getting out and running, holding the Cyclones to zero fast break points through the first 20 minutes and limiting them to only 36 percent from the floor as a team. Iowa, on the other hand, shot 47 percent, including 59 percent in the first half, which led to a 15-point halftime lead.

Peter Jok torched Iowa State to the tune of 23 points (4-of-7 from distance).

Monte Morris was held in check with 10 points, while Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas shot a combined 4-of-13 from three (they each hit a three with less than three minutes to play and the outcome all but decided).

Iowa State’s offense is becoming a bigger concern. Just like against Gonzaga, the Cyclones dug a first-half hole they could shoot out their way of. And like last week’s overtime loss to Cincinnati, they struggled from beyond the arc.

Iowa landed a marquee win it needed, while its rival headed home with questions to answer after losing three of four.

 

Alabama wing sidelined due to weight loss

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Avery Johnson of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at HP Field House on November 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Alabama junior wing Nick King will not be with the team for Sunday evening’s matchup against No. 24 Oregon in Eugene.

According to Rainer Sabin of the AL.com, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said King undergoing a series of tests after losing more than 10 pounds in less than a week and a half.

Johnson told reporters that he is “very concerned” and estimates that as of now King will be sidelined for “a week or two.”

King, who played his first two seasons at Memphis, has appeared in all seven games for the Crimson Tide, averaging 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game.

Damonte Dodd out with MCL sprain

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 13: Melo Trimble #2 and Damonte Dodd #35 of the Maryland Terrapins react to a call as Alex Illikainen #25 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on in the second half at Xfinity Center on February 13, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. Wisconsin won 70-57.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Maryland could be without the services of starting center Damonte Dodd for the remainder of the non-conference slate, the team announced on Wednesday.

Dodd suffered a MCL sprain in his left knee during practice earlier this week. The injury caused him to miss Wednesday’s 76-56 win over Howard. He will not be available for matchups with St. Peter’s and Jacksonville State. The Terrapins then close out the non-conference slate at Charlotte on Dec. 20 before opening up Big Ten play a week later.

Dodd has started in six of seven games he’s appeared in this season. He’s averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Michael Cekovsky started in place of Dodd on Wednesday night. Ivan Bender, who returned to the lineup against Howard after missing the previous contest, should also see an increase in minutes with Dodd sidelined.

Federico Mussini goes coast-to-coast, beats buzzer with and-1

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Chris Mullin the head coach of the St. John's Red Storm gives instructions to Federico Mussini #4 during the game against the  Xavier Musketeersat Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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St. John’s capped the first half with a 6-0 run.

Sophomore guard Federico Mussini went coast-to-coast to beat the buzzer, and draw the foul, as the Johnnies went into the break up 42-33 on city rival Fordham.

The 6-foot-4 guard had gone cold during a five-game stretch, but since Thanksgiving he’s scored in double figures in four consecutive games, including on Thursday night.