Late Night Snacks: Five ranked teams, including No. 10 Saint Louis, fall

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Oregon 87, UCLA 83 (2OT)

With UCLA playing without the suspended Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, it seemed as if Oregon was well-positioned to earn a win that they needed to improve their NCAA tournament hopes. Of course the game supplied more drama than many anticipated, with Bryce Alford scoring 31 points and David Wear forcing overtime with a three-pointer as time expired. Oregon would eventually get the win with Mike Moser accounting for 12 points, 20 rebounds and five assists and Joseph Young scoring 26 points.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) Arkansas 71, No. 17 Kentucky 67 (OT)

The Razorbacks got themselves a quality road win on Thursday night, beating the Wildcats in Lexington with both teams struggling to execute down the stretch. But all that matters is the result, and the sweep of the regular season series could be what puts Mike Anderson’s team in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky’s starting perimeter of James Young and the Harrison twins shot a combined 11-for-39 from the field, and this was a big reason why Arkansas won despite committing 20 turnovers.

2) Indiana 93, No. 20 Iowa 86

For the third consecutive game the Hawkeyes struggled defensively, and as a result Fran McCaffery’s team has now lost three straight. Will Sheehey scored 19 of his 30 points in the first half to lead Indiana, and in the second half a 27-4 edge in bench points made the difference. How long Iowa stays in the NCAA tournament will depend on their ability to defend, something they must get better at in the coming weeks.

3) Duquesne 71, No. 10 Saint Louis 64

Micah Mason scored 22 points and Jerry Jones added 19 off the bench to lead the Dukes to the upset win at Saint Louis. The result ended the Billikens’ 19-game win streak two days ahead of their showdown at VCU, and it’s possible that Jim Crews’ team was caught looking ahead. SLU turned the ball over 16 times and shot 4-for-23 from beyond the arc, and they’ll need to be better in both areas on Saturday afternoon.

STARRED

1) Patrick Miller (Tennessee State) 

Miller scored 38 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Tigers’ 70-68 win at Morehead State. Miller’s final points of the night came on a three-pointer with two seconds remaining to give TSU the win.

2) Ledrick Eackles (McNeese State) 

31 points (10-for-17 FG), six rebounds and five assists in the Cowboys’ 87-72 win over Incarnate Word.

3) Jordan Reed (Binghamton) 

Reed accounted for 33 points (10-for-19 FG) and 13 rebounds in the Bearcats’ 89-83 overtime loss at Hartford.

STRUGGLED

1) Earl Brown and Greg Brown (St. Francis-PA)

The two starters (unrelated) combined to score two points on 0-for-14 shooting from the field in the Red Flash’s 74-45 loss at Wagner.

2) Middle Tennessee 

The Blue Raiders were on the wrong end of 55-39 loss at Louisiana Tech, shooting 35.4% from the field and finishing with more turnovers (19) than made field goals (17).

3) Memphis’ starting backcourt

Chris Crawford, Joe Jackson and Geron Johnson combined to shoot 4-for-15 in the Tigers’ 77-68 loss at Houston.

NOTABLES

  • D.J. Newbill scored 23 points and Tim Frazier added 16 as Penn State beat No. 22 Ohio State 65-63. The win gave the Nittany Lions a sweep of the season series.
  • There will be a new champion in the NEC as Central Connecticut State beat LIU Brooklyn 86-82 in overtime, eliminating the Blackbirds from contention for a spot in the conference tournament.
  • The top two teams in the Atlantic Sun both fell, with Lipscomb whipping FGCU 92-71 and Mercer dropping a 79-76 overtime decision to North Florida.
  • Wins by Southern Miss (beat FIU), Louisiana Tech (Middle Tennessee) and Tulsa (UTEP) forced a four-way tie for first place in Conference USA, with UTEP sitting a game behind the group.
  • VCU used a 51-point second half to pull away from Fordham, beating the Rams 85-66 in the Bronx. Juvonte Reddic led the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Luke Apfeld led five players in double figures with 14 points as Vermont beat Stony Brook 69-53, wrapping up the America East regular season title.
  • Davidson also clinched a regular season title, wrapping up the SoCon crown with a 79-46 win over UNCG. Brian Sullivan and Tyler Kalinoski combined to score 33 points off the bench for the winners.
  • Green Bay wrapped up the Horizon League title with a 71-63 win at Oakland, outscoring the Golden Grizzlies 40-19 in the second half.
  • Siena upset Quinnipiac 72-70 in Hamden, moving into sole possession of fifth place in the MAAC and moving closer to earning the final first-round bye in the conference tournament.
  • UC Irvine grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big West with a 71-60 win over UCSB.
  • Gonzaga wrapped up the outright WCC regular season title with a 70-53 win over Pacific. Drew Barham scored 17 points for the Bulldogs.
  • Utah Valley took a step towards the WAC regular season title, beating New Mexico State 66-61 in overtime. However a post game fight has taken attention away from the result for the Wolverines.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 7 Louisville 88, Temple 66
  • Houston 77, No. 21 Memphis 68

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

Leave a comment

Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

Baylor Athletics
Leave a comment

Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.