Gary Harris

The Secondary Break: Friday’s Links

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Twenty years later, memories of Calipari-Chaney feud live on (Massachusetts Daily Collegian)
Thursday marked the 20-year anniversary of the unforgettable verbal altercation between then-Temple head coach John Chaney and then-UMass head coach John Calipari following a one-point UMass victory. And the heat of that moment revealed how fierce the rivalry between the two schools was at the time, with Temple being the kings of the Atlantic 10 and UMass looking to take over.

Ex-Rider coach Tommy Dempsey still feels connection to old team (The Times of Trenton)
Current Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey spent seven seasons as the head coach at Rider, and other than the freshmen on the Broncs roster he recruited nearly every player who remains. With that being the case, there’s still a connection between the coach and his old school while he looks to rebuild a Binghamton program that won just two games in the season prior to Dempsey’s arrival.

Gary Harris back on road to shot recovery, but still pressing under pressure (
N0. 9 Michigan State got back on the right track Thursday night with an 85-70 home win over Northwestern, but even with this being the case sophomore guard Gary Harris continues to work to get his shot going. Harris shot just 3-for-20 in the Spartans’ loss at Wisconsin, and he followed that up with a 6-for-13 night against Northwestern.

Mackenzie, Kim make perfect team (ESPN)
The player/coach relationship can be a difficult one at times, especially when the two involved are also father and son or mother and daughter. That’s the case for Baylor’s Kim Mulkey and senior guard/forward Mackenzie Robertson, with the latter turning into a key player for the Bears in her senior season.

Billy Baron hopes to end up-and-down journey on a high note (CBS Sports)
Canisius senior guard Billy Baron has been one of the nation’s best guards this season, as he ranks among the top five scorers in the country for a team in the thick of the MAAC title race. And he hopes to end his college career, one that includes stops at Virginia and Rhode Island, with a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Analyzing Syracuse’s game-winning play, appreciating Wilbekin and more (Sports Illustrated)
In the latest version of Luke Winn’s power rankings, he takes a look at the final play that culminated in Tyler Ennis’ shot from 35 feet out to give No. 1 Syracuse a 58-56 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. There are also looks at Scottie Wilbekin’s free throw rate and the impact of Jordair Jett at Saint Louis.

How Melvin Ejim’s 48-point game stacks up (Des Moines Register)
It’s been six days since Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim went off for 48 points in the Cyclones’ win over TCU, and there’s still buzz over the performance. So how does Ejim’s performance measure up against some of the best single-game outings in the history of college basketball in the state of Iowa? Pretty well.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.