Late Night Snacks: North Carolina beats No. 5 Duke

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: North Carolina 74, No. 5 Duke 66

North Carolina used the strategy of changing defenses in the second half to confuse Duke, and sure enough it worked. The Tar Heels used both 1-3-1 and 3-2 zones in addition to their man-to-man defense, and the Blue Devils went more than eight minutes without scoring a basket as a result. Add to that Marcus Paige scoring 13 second-half points and Leslie McDonald scoring 21, and North Carolina had its eighth straight victory. As for Duke, their inability to crack those different looks could be a concern for them moving forward.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 13 Michigan State 94, Purdue 79

After putting forth their worst showing of the season on Sunday the Spartans bounced back in a big way, hitting a school-record 17 three-pointers in West Lafayette. Gary Harris scored 25 points and Adreian Payne 23 to lead the Spartans, who remain in a tie in the loss column for first place in the Big Ten with Michigan. The two in-state rivals meet on Sunday in Ann Arbor.

2) BYU 73, No. 25 Gonzaga 65

BYU picked up a valuable result for its resume, beating the Bulldogs by eight in Provo. Anson Winder made all ten of his free throws and scored a team-best 17 points for the Cougars, who had four players score in double figures. Neither team shot particularly well from three, but the difference was the play of BYU’s bench. Cougar reserves outscored Gonzaga’s bench 34-21 on the night. As for Gonzaga, they’ll have to wait to clinch the WCC outright after shooting 40.7% from the field.

3) Seton Hall 82, Georgetown 67

Being a bubble team in February is as much about avoiding losses that will hurt the resume as it is picking up quality wins. Georgetown’s 15-point loss in Newark qualifies as a result that will not help their cause, with Fuquan Edwin pacing Seton Hall with 21 points. As a team Seton Hall shot 55% from the field and assisted on 20 of its 27 made baskets, proving to be too much for the Hoyas to handle.

STARRED

1) Kendrick Perry (Youngstown State) 

Perry scored 35 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in the Penguins’ 88-83 overtime win over Milwaukee.

2) Jarvis Haywood (Jacksonville)

Accounted for 28 points on 11-for-14 shooting, eight rebounds and five assists in the Dolphins’ 91-86 win over East Tennessee State.

3) Stacy Davis (Pepperdine) 

27 points and 12 rebounds in the Waves’ 72-69 win at Loyola Marymount.

STRUGGLED

1) Jordan Sims (UTSA)

Sims shot 1-for-10 from beyond the arc in the Roadrunners’ 85-56 loss at Southern Miss.

2) LaVonte Dority (Valparaiso) 

Dority made just three of his 13 shots from the field, scoring nine points in the Crusaders’ 67-53 loss at Green Bay.

3) Myles Mack (Rutgers) 

Mack did account for seven assists, five rebounds and three steals in the Scarlet Knights’ 64-59 loss to Memphis, but he also shot 4-for-17 from the field.

NOTABLES

  • Terran Petteway scored 26 points to lead Nebraska to an 80-67 win over Penn State, building on the momentum gained in their win at Michigan State on Sunday.
  • East Carolina led by as much as 13 in the second half before holding on for a 75-68 win over Louisiana Tech. As a result of the loss the Bulldogs are now a game behind Middle Tennessee and UTEP for first place in Conference USA.
  • Robert Morris came back from a 10-point second half deficit to beat LIU Brooklyn, 73-64, moving to 12-1 in NEC play. Andy Toole’s Colonials are now 12-1 in league play.
  • Quinnipiac beat Canisius 88-81 in Buffalo to move into a second-place tie with Manhattan in the MAAC. And with the Bobcats having swept the season series, they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker should those two teams finish the season tied.
  • Green Bay clinched the Horizon League regular season title with a 67-53 win over Valparaiso. As a result Brian Wardle’s team will host the quarterfinals and semifinals of the conference tournament, and should they advance to the title game they’ll host that as well.
  • Kareem Jamar scored 25 points to lead Montana to a 68-57 win over Weber State, shrinking the Wildcats’ lead in the Big Sky to a single game over Northern Colorado.
  • Josh Huestis became Stanford’s all-time leader in blocked shots while also accounting for 11 points and 18 rebounds in the Cardinal’s 80-59 win over USC.
  • UC Irvine picked up a 60-56 overtime win at Hawai’i, winning in spite of a 5-for-17 night from Luke Nelson. The win keeps the Anteaters on top of the Big West standings, one game ahead of UCSB and two ahead of Long Beach State.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 21 UConn 68, Temple 55
  • No. 22 Memphis 64, Rutgers 59

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

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UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.