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No. 7 Oregon gets past No. 10 BYU behind big effort from reserve forward Elgin Cook

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MILWAUKEE — No. 7 seed Oregon was mired in foul trouble in the middle of the second half against No. 10 seed BYU on Thursday in a West Region Round of 64 contest. Senior forward Mike Moser picked up his fourth foul with 14:22 left in the half and senior big man Waverly Austin also had three fouls early in the half. BYU cut Oregon’s lead to, 56-53, with 12:03 left and the Cougars looked like they had a lot of momentum after three, second-half three-pointers.

Enter Elgin Cook.

The redshirt sophomore — and Milwaukee native — scored on a three-point play on the next play to give Oregon (24-9) a 59-53 lead and it ignited a 31-15 Oregon run to lead the Ducks to an 87-68 win over the Cougars at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Cook picked a great time to have the best game of his career as the son of former Milwaukee Bucks All-Star guard Alvin Robertson went for 23 points and eight rebounds off the bench on 8-for-9 shooting from the field.

Cook had scored in double-figures once since December 12th and it was only his eighth double-figure outing of the season.

Oregon junior guard Joseph Young added 17 points and senior guard Jason Calliste contributed 14 points off the bench as well for Oregon.

The Ducks ran past BYU — who they defeated 100-96 in overtime on December 21st in Eugene — despite shooting only 15 percent from the three-point line (2-for-13). But Oregon pounded the ball on the interior as they shot 50 percent (27-for-54) overall while also going 31-for-38 from the free throw line.

Despite cutting Oregon’s lead to three points in the second half, BYU (23-12) could never seem to get it going as they shot 32 percent from the field (20-for-61) and 26 percent from the three-point line (5-for-19). Tyler Haws led four Cougars in double-figures with 19 points while Erik Mika (15 points), Matt Carlino (15 points) and Frank Bartley IV (10 points) also contributed.

No. 7 seed Oregon advances to face No. 2 seed Wisconsin in a Round of 32 contest in the West Region on Saturday in Milwaukee.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?