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Late Night Snacks: UConn wins in OT, Syracuse survives again

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 24 UConn 86, No. 20 Memphis 81 OT

Shabazz Napier had himself a day. UConn’s all-american point guard finished with 34 points, five boards and four assists as the Huskies outlasted Memphis in overtime.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) No. 3 Florida 69, No. 14 Kentucky 59: Florida’s performance over the last 11 minutes of this game was absolutely dominating. The Gators scored at least one point on each of their final 13 possessions, averaging 2.38 PPP over that stretch. In the last six minutes, they allowed the Wildcats to score just six points.

2) No. 1 Syracuse 56, N.C. State 55: The Orange are still undefeated after they won their third straight game by one point. This time, it was a turnover that led to a layup with 6.7 seconds left that gave them the win.

3) No. 12 Saint Louis 64, VCU 62: Well, the Billikens are going to win the Atlantic 10. In a battle of the two best teams in the conference, Saint Louis was victorious, taking a three-game lead over the Rams, who are currently sitting all alone in second place.

STARRED:

1) Baylor’s Kenny Chery had himself a day, finishing with 20 points, 12 assists, 10 boards and three steals in a double-overtime win over Kansas State.

2) Sean Kilpatrick had another huge game, finishing with 28 points and six assists while committing just a single turnover as No. 10 Cincinnati knocked off Houston, 73-62.

3) Perry Ellis: 32 points, 13-for-15 from the floor, eight boards, five assists, two steals. No. 7 Kansas beat TCU, 95-65. The Horned Frogs had 19 fields goals as a team.

4) Jabari Parker for No. 8 Duke went for 23 points in a 69-67 win over Maryland.

STRUGGLED:

1) Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson combined to go 7-for-26 from the floor as No. 25 Pitt lost at North Carolina, 75-71.

2) Vols not named Jordan McRae or Jarnell Stokes were 6-for-25 from the floor in Tennessee’s 75-70 loss to Missouri.

3) Indiana. The entire team.

NOTABLES:

  • No. 5 San Diego State struggled to put away Air Force in Viejas Arena, winning 64-56.
  • Deandre Kane went for 17 points, nine assists and eight boards as No. 11 Iowa State beat Texas Tech, 70-64.
  • Four players reached double figures as No. 16 Iowa knocked off Penn State on the road.
  • Joe Harris led the way with 16 points as No. 17 Virginia survived a tough trip to Clemson.
  • Javan Felix led five players in double-figures with 18 points as No. 19 Texas blew out surging West Virginia.
  • No. 22 Ohio State held Illinois to six points in the first 12 minutes of the second half in their 48-39 win.
  • BYU got 18 points from Tyler Haws in an important win over Saint Mary’s.
  • Buddy Hield led four players in double figures with 22 points as Oklahoma overcame a huge game from Markel Brown to sweep Bedlam.
  • Marquette got 18 points from Jake Thomas in an 81-72 win over Xavier.
  • Utah couldn’t overcome 24 points from Jordan Adams in an 80-66 loss to UCLA.
  • Ole Miss committed three turnovers on the road and got 24 points out of Marshall Henderson … and lost? To Georgia?
  • Not a bad day for Alex Kirk, the second-best big man on New Mexico: 29 points, five boards, five assists, four blocks and no turnovers.
  • Middle Tennessee State beat Southern Miss to move into first place in Conference USA.
  • Jeff Mullahey scored 27 points as Troy handed Georgia State their first loss in Sun Belt play, 85-81.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.