Late Night Snacks: Traevon Jackson propels Wisconsin past No. 9 Michigan State

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GAME OF THE DAY: Wisconsin 60, No. 9 Michigan State 58

Wisconsin entered Sunday’s game in need of a second consecutive victory in order to keep the momentum gained from their win at Illinois on Tuesday night. They did that thanks to Traevon Jackson, whose jumper with 2.1 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in Madison. Wisconsin had four players finish in double figures, with freshman Nigel Hayes scoring 14 points off the bench to lead the way. As for Michigan State, Adreian Payne scored 24 points and Travis Trice added 13, nearly resulting in the Spartans winning in spite of a 3-for-20 afternoon from Gary Harris.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) St. John’s 70, No. 12 Creighton 65

The Red Storm may have begun Big East play with five consecutive losses, but by no means was their season over. Steve Lavin’s Red Storm have now won six of their last seven games, and the late-game defending of Doug McDermott (25 points) by Jakarr Sampson was critical on Sunday night. McDermott failed to score at all in the final 8:40 of the game, and his teammates were unable to make the plays needed to leave Madison Square Garden with the win. D’Angelo Harrison led the Red Storm, who are looking to fight their way into the NCAA tournament picture, with 19 points.

2) No. 1 Syracuse 57, Clemson 44

The Orange limited Clemson to 34% shooting from the field in winning their 23rd consecutive game, moving to 10-0 in the ACC. This is the first such start to conference play in school history for Syracuse, with C.J. Fair scoring 19 points to lead the way offensively. Next up: a game at No. 25 Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, but it remains to be seen if they’ll have center Baye Moussa Keita for that one. Keita left Sunday’s game after spraining his right knee in the first half.

3) No. 2 Arizona 76, Oregon State 54 

After squeaking out a two-point win on Thursday night against Oregon, the Wildcats took care of Oregon State in Tucson. Arizona shot 50% from the field, and defensively Nick Johnson and company limited Roberto Nelson to ten points on 3-for-12 shooting. Arizona will play its next three games on the road, beginning with a trip north to battle rival Arizona State on Valentine’s Day.

STARRED

1) A.J. English (Iona) 

English accounted for 32 points (10-for-17 FG), six assists and five rebounds in the Gaels’ 101-91 win at Canisius.

2) Xavier Johnson (Colorado)

Johnson scored 27 points (10-for-14 FG) and grabbed ten rebounds in the Buffaloes’ 91-65 beating of Washington. For the weekend Johnson averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

3) TaShawn Thomas (Houston) 

Thomas tallied 25 points (10-for-12 FG), nine rebounds and six blocked shots in the Cougars’ 88-74 win over Temple.

STRUGGLED

1) Gary Harris (Michigan State)

Harris scored just six points on 3-for-20 shooting in the Spartans’ 60-58 loss at Wisconsin.

2) UCF starters not named Isaiah Sykes

While Sykes shot 6-for-13 from the field in the Knights’ 75-55 loss to No. 22 UConn, his fellow starters combined to shoot 1-for-15 from the field.

3) C.J. Wilcox (Washington) 

Wilcox shot 2-for-10 from the field (0-for-7 3PT), scoring eight points in the Huskies’ 91-65 loss at Colorado. Wilcox is averaging 19.8 points per game this season.

NOTABLES

  • Iona took a two-game lead in the MAAC with a 101-91 win at Canisius. A.J. English scored 32 points to lead the way for the Gaels.
  • Manhattan also completed the difficult sweep of the Buffalo schools, with Rhamel Brown’s block as time expired preserving a 78-77 win at Niagara. Brown finished the game with 22 points and six blocked shots.
  • Holy Cross beat Bucknell 66-50, picking up its seventh win in the last eight games. Justin Burrell led the Crusaders with 19 points and four rebounds.
  • Jerrold Brooks scored 19 points and Michael Craig 14 to lead Southern Miss to an 81-64 win over Charlotte, keeping pace with UTEP atop Conference USA as a result. A point of concern for the Golden Eagles: senior guard Neil Watson leaving the game in the first half with a sprained ankle.
  • Indiana State rebounded from its loss to No. 4 Wichita State with a 60-56 win over Drake. Khristian Smith scored 19 points off the bench for the Sycamores, who are 9-3 in Missouri Valley play.
  • Chaz Williams scored 21 points and dished out seven assists to lead UMass to a 73-68 win at Rhode Island.
  • Quincy Diggs’ jumper with 2.3 seconds remaining gave Akron a 65-63 win at Bowling Green. The win keeps Akron a game ahead of Ohio and Buffalo in the MAC East standings.
  • DeAndre Daniels made his return to the court for No. 22 UConn after missing the last two games, scoring 14 points in the Huskies’ 75-55 win at UCF. Lasan Kromah and Shabazz Napier tallied 17 points and seven rebounds apiece.

Jordan Mathews three sends No. 1 seed Gonzaga past No. 4 West Virginia

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Jordan Mathews hit a three with less than a minute left and West Virginia missed a pair of threes on the final possession of the game as No. 1 seed Gonzaga won a dogfight, 61-58, over No. 4 seed Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.

Mathews, who finished with 13 points on the night, spent 4:30 on the bench before checking into the game right before hitting the eventual game-winning three.

No. 3 Oregon advances after thriller with No. 7 Michigan

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Oregon is returning to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season following a thrilling, 69-68, victory over No. 7 Michigan in the Sweet 16 in Kansas City on Thursday night.

In a game in which neither team could fully grasp control of the game, it came down to the wire. Michigan held a 3-point lead with two minutes to play. Jordan Bell, who was unquestionably the deciding factor in this contest, came up with the first of several critical hustle plays down the stretch. He knifed in on a missed free throw, for lay-in, cutting the deficit to one.

On the ensuing Michigan possession, Bell didn’t block it but affected Derrick Walton Jr.’s shot enough to force the miss. Tyler Dorsey, the other hero for the Ducks, continued his stellar play this month with a go-ahead layup after he spun through the Wolverine defense. Bell’s close out on D.J. Wilson sent his 3-point attempt way off the mark. Bell would corral another offensive rebound on the other end of the floor, and while Dylan Ennis left the door open for Michigan following another missed free throw, Bell, deservedly, rebounded Walton’s miss as time ran out.

“Do whatever you can to win,” Bell told reporters after the game. “Me, get every rebound, offense or defense, help my team out as much as possible.”

Bell had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Tyler Dorsey poured in 20 points. Walton Jr., who front-rimmed a potential game-winner at the buzzer, ended his collegiate career with stat-line of 20 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. Zak Irvin added 19.

Dillon Brooks is definitely the star, but Bell and Dorsey could round out a big three that could lead the Ducks to Phoenix.

Before the start of the Pac-12 Tournament championship game on March 11, Oregon announced that Chris Boucher would miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. How would this effect Oregon’s defense days before it began its quest for a Final Four?

Bell has helped answer those questions on Thursday night. He’s a big reason why Oregon outscored Michigan, 34-16, in points in the paint. But his greatest impact was how he slowed down the two-headed monster of Moe Wagner and D.J. Wilson, two forwards whose increased production is a big reason why Michigan’s unlikely run extended into the second weekend of the tournament. The duo scored a combined 19 points off 7-of-20 shooting.

The other for Oregon was the continued offensive tear of Dorsey. In six postseason games, the sophomore two-guard is averaging 23.0 points per game. Playing at this level, Oregon has another go-to scorer, one who has no issue taking a big shot late in the game. In either matchup in the next round, that should come in handy. Dillon Brooks, one of college’s toughest matchups, will either be busy with Purdue’s massive frontline or locked in an all-out war with Kansas’ Josh Jackson the perimeter.

“I’m really fortunate to have Jordan for three years and Tyler for two and Dillon Brooks,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “We’ve just been really fortunate. We’ve got good players and guys that are unselfish. They want to win. They’re competitive. We got down four there and guys could have gave into it. They didn’t. They fought their way back. Shows you what kind of competitive spirit they’ve got.”

The Ducks, the No. 3 seed in the Midwest region, will face the winner of top-seeded Kansas and No. 4 Purdue on Saturday night at the Sprint Center.

“We know Purdue is really big and Kansas is Kansas,” Altman said.

WATCH: Steve Alford end practice with half-court shot

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UCLA head coach Steve Alford ended practice on Thursday by drilling a half-court shot on the first attempt.

According to the Associated Press, this has been a season-long battle between the UCLA coaching staff and the players.

“Truth be told, we’ve been getting slaughtered. We’ve got guys like Lonzo (Ball) literally takes a jump shot from the timeline. We were just lucky that they only got one shot at it. I think coaches are down about eight on the half-court shots this year. I told them, though, that the coaches are ahead at the Sweet 16. I don’t think they’re buying it.”

No. 3 seed UCLA is set to play No. 2 seed Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Memphis. The Bruins defeated the Wildcats, 97-92, in a non-conference matchup on Dec. 3.

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes to enter NBA draft

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes is entering the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-4 junior made his announcement on Instagram on Thursday and also informed the school of his decision. He did not say whether he intends to hire an agent, a move that prevent him from returning to school.

Rathan-Mayes averaged 10.6 points per game this season and averaged 4.8 assists, which was sixth in the conference. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6-to-1 was third in the ACC.

The All-ACC defensive team selection helped Florida State (26-9) reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. The Seminoles advanced to the second round before a 91-66 loss to Xavier.

Rathan-Mayes averaged 12.4 points in his three seasons with the Seminoles and is the 46th player in school history to reach 1,000 points.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Rutgers guard Corey Sanders to enter NBA Draft

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Rutgers sophomore guard Corey Sanders is entering the NBA draft.

In making the announcement Thursday, the university said Sanders will not sign with an agent.

Sanders will be able to attend workouts scheduled by NBA teams and will be eligible for invitation to the league’s combine next month. Players have until 10 days after the combine to remain in the draft or return to school, as long as they don’t sign with an agent.

Sanders started 31 of 33 games this season, averaging 12.8 points and 3.2 rebounds.

Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said Sanders needs to make an informed decision on his future.

“My dream has always been to play in the NBA,” Sanders said. “I look forward to determining where I am in that journey.”

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.