Jordan Gathers

Atlantic 10 Tournament: St. Bonaventure upsets Saint Louis with a three at the buzzer (VIDEO)

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Charlon Kloof finished with 22 points and nine boards, but it was his sixth assist of the afternoon that was the biggest play of the season for St. Bonaventure.

On the final possession of a tie game, Kloof drew a double team and found teammate Jordan Gathers open at the top of the key. Gathers buried a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Bonnies picked up a win over No. 1 seed and Atlantic 10 regular season champion Saint Louis, 71-68.

It’s a great win for St. Bonaventure, who was spurred on a second half comeback by some hot-shooting from Matthew Wright, but the bigger story coming from this is the Billikens.

What in the world is going on with them?

RELATED: NBCSports.com’s latest bracketology

Saint Louis lost three in a row at the end of the regular season before seemingly bouncing back with a win at UMass in their last game before heading up to Brooklyn for the conference tournament, but they collapsed in the second half against the Bonnies. Saint Louis was up by as much as 13 in the first half before taking a 38-28 lead into the break, but the defense that carried the Billikens throughout the season was no where to be found in the final 20 minutes.

St. Bonaventure scored 43 points after the break. They were 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, including a pair of huge triples in the final minute, which is a number that is all-the-more impressive when you consider the fact that Saint Louis led the nation in defensive three-point percentage this season at 28.9%.

The Billikens are not a good offensive team. According to KenPom, they’re 176th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency. They have to be elite defensively if they are going to win games, and, quite frankly, they haven’t been in the last three weeks. In five of their last seven games, Saint Louis has allowed more than a point-per-possession defensively, which is unacceptable for a team that is fifth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. You want proof? Saint Louis lost four of those five games, and in the fifth they were taken to overtime by A-10 bottom-feeder George Mason.

Those are a lot of numbers I’m throwing at you, I know.

To put it in layman’s terms, Saint Louis won a lot of games this season because they are as good as anyone on the defensive end of the floor. They have not played to that level on that end of late, and that’s why they are losing games.

As of this morning, Saint Louis was a No. 6 seed in Dave Ommen’s latest bracket. They’ll probably drop a seed line after this loss. I still think that, when they’re playing their best, the Billikens can win a couple games in the tournament and make the Sweet 16.

But they haven’t been playing their best in weeks.

It’s time to be concerned if you’re a Saint Louis fan.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.