Cameron Bairstow

The Secondary Break: Friday’s Links

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From Ontario to Wichita, Lufile and Wiggins reach senior day together (Wichita Eagle)
No. 2 Wichita State will play its final home game of the season on Saturday, and while much of the attention will focus on whether or not they can complete the regular season undefeated it’s also senior day. Two seniors being honored are forwards Chadrack Lufile and Nick Wiggins, who have been friends for years.

Seat owner at Assembly Hall says he’s “lucky” he wasn’t hit (Indianapolis Star)
On Thursday Indiana played its rescheduled game against No. 20 Iowa, beating the Hawkeyes 93-86 at Assembly Hall. A large piece of metal falling from the roof resulted in the game needing to be moved, and had the event occurred a couple hours later it would have been catastrophic. And the man who was planning on sitting in one of the damaged seats for the Iowa game spoke of his good fortune.

Bairstow appears to lead for Mountain West Player of the Year (Albuquerque Journal)
New Mexico senior forward Cameron Bairstow was one of 15 players named to the Robertson Award list of finalists on Thursday, and he was the only Mountain West player to be honored. And given his play throughout the season, Bairstow may be the frontrunner for league Player of the Year. But he’ll be challenged down the stretch, with teammate Kendall Williams and San Diego State’s Xavier Thames also having solid arguments.

Napier takes Samuel under his wing, and UConn benefits (Hartford Courant)
UConn wasn’t playing particularly well against USF on Wednesday night, but one player who provided the needed spark was freshman guard Terrence Samuel. With Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright being the primary options there hasn’t been much available playing time for Samuel this season, but he’s taken advantage of his situation by learning all he can from Napier.

My Wichita State talking points (Ken Pomeroy)
Much of the conversation regarding Wichita State has centered on two general themes: their schedule, and the fact that if they go undefeated the Shockers should automatically receive a one-seed. That’s far too simplistic for Ken Pomeroy, who offers his thoughts on the matter.

Marquette’s Chris Otule a study in resilience (USA Today)
Marquette sixth-year senior center Chris Otule may not have the statistics that some look for in assessing the impact of a player, but there’s no doubt that he’s been a key figure for Buzz Williams’ program. Playing with a prosthetic eye Otule’s persevered throughout his career, fighting his way back from three serious injuries that he didn’t alway believe he’d be able to come back from.

For Casey and Curry, a long road to Senior Night (Harvard Crimson)
Harvard seniors Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry have both experienced interesting careers at the school, highlighted by their being forced to withdraw for a year in the aftermath of an academic scandal that involved both athletes and non-athletes. That withdrawal led to them missing out on the basketball team’s first-ever NCAA tournament win, and their work to get back has helped a team looking to make a third consecutive trip to the Big Dance.

The real ACC champion is crowned in Greensboro (Duke Basketball Report)
On Saturday afternoon No. 4 Syracuse visits No. 12 Virginia with the Cavaliers looking to win the ACC’s regular season title. However while that would be a notable achievement for Tony Bennett’s program (and for Jim Boeheim’s should the Orange end up winning the conference), the fact of the matter is that the ACC acknowledges the winner of the conference tournament as its official “champion.”

Dinwiddie weighing options for future (Boulder Daily Camera)
When Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie went down in late January with a torn ACL, there were two major concerns. First and foremost was the concern of what the injury would mean for the Buffaloes, who look to be headed back to the NCAA tournament after struggling in the immediate aftermath of his injury. The other concern was what the injury would do to Dinwiddie’s NBA hopes, something he’s currently evaluating.

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
AP Photo
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NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.