The Huskies will advance to face the winner of No. 2 Villanova and No. 15 Milwaukee.
The Hawks were in control for much of the first half, but UConn made their run in the second half turning the final 10 minutes of this game into one of the more entertaining stretches of basketball that you are going to see in this tournament. The two team traded big buckets and exchanged the lead a number of times down the stretch, and we came within a couple of inches of what would have been one of the all-time great buzzer-beaters.
UConn had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but after a tremendous inbounds play reminiscent of the play that made Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew immortal, Napier missed a running three at the buzzer.
The game changed in overtime when Halil Kanicevic fouled out early in overtime. He’s the sparkplug for everything that the Hawks do offensively, and without him on the floor, the Hawks looked lost.
The good news for the Huskies is that they were able to get this win on a night where Napier did not play his best. He made some big shots — and clutch free throws — down the stretch and added six assists and eight boards, but he shot 7-for-22 from the floor and was thrown off his game when Phil Martelli made the decision to put the longer, more athletic DeAndre Bembry on him.
DeAndre Daniels played one of his better games, finishing with 18 points, while Ryan Boatright added 17 points, many of which kept UConn within striking distance as Napier struggled through the first half. It also should be noted that UConn’s 7-foot freshman Amida Briah finished with nine points and six boards, grabbing key offensive rebounds and hitting some clutch free throws. With the Huskies down by three in the final minute, he grabbed an offensive rebound and got the putback plus the foul to tie the game at 70.
Cal and San Diego State played last season in the Las Vegas Invitational and decided to play more often.
According to multiple reports, the two teams will play each other the next three seasons, starting with a neutral-court matchup in Sacramento on Nov. 21. The game in Sacramento will be unique in a couple of ways, as it will be the first college basketball game in the Sacramento Kings’ brand-new home arena. It will also be Cal’s first game in Sacramento since 1947.
After the Sacramento game during the 2016-17 season, San Diego State will host the Golden Bears the next season and Cal will host the Aztecs the following year to close out the three-game deal.
With both Cal and San Diego State returning plenty of talent from last season, this season’s contest should be one of the more intriguing non-conference games between schools out west and it should be fun for the players as they get to take the floor in a new NBA arena.
Report: Creighton’s Zach Hanson to miss a few months following knee surgery
Creighton will be without a key big man for the start of practice as senior Zach Hanson will be out after having knee surgery.
According to a report from Marjie Ducey of the Omaha World-Herald, the 6-foot-9 Hanson will likely be out for eight to 12 weeks. Creighton head coach Greg McDermott told Ducey that Hanson will hopefully be available when Creighton opens its regular season in November.
As a junior, Hanson was a key rotation big man for the Bluejays as he put up 6.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, making one start on the season. As McDermott noted in Ducey’s story, he’s not concerned about Hanson missing practice time from a learning curve standpoint but he is a bit worried about his conditioning. Before the knee surgery, Hanson was also nursing some ankle injuries that he was dealing with during the season, so he hasn’t had a great chance to get in proper condition.
This loss will definitely hurt Creighton as they have a ton of backcourt pieces for next season, but not as many in the front court. Hanson’s an experienced player who will help once he returns but it will something worth monitoring to see what kind of condition he’s in during the early season.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) A Michigan judge will review surveillance footage from the night former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling was arrested outside a strip club on weapons and drug charges.
Appling’s defense attorney presented the footage at Friday’s preliminary examination. It includes security videos from the Pantheon Club parking lot and video from police dashboard cameras.
The hearing was adjourned until Aug. 5 to allow Judge William Hultgren time to review the footage.
The 24-year-old Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and had two 10-day contracts with the Orlando Magic this season.
He was arrested in May after two guns and suspected marijuana were found in a vehicle he was in.
Appling also faces a trial in Detroit where he was charged in June with carrying a concealed weapon.
Arkansas hoping for more backcourt depth and stronger press in 2016-17
Arkansas is coming off of a disappointing 16-16 season in which they missed the postseason.
The Razorbacks lost two key guards in Anthlon Bell and Jabril Durham — who both exhausted their eligibility — but they’re hoping a couple of additions will bolster the depth of their backcourt and make their trademark press stronger.
Although Arkansas lost two talented seniors and a transfer in Jimmy Whitt, they return Dusty Hannahs, Manny Watkins and Anton Beard while also getting two of the best junior college guards in the country. Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon come in highly touted for next season and both junior college guards garnered a lot of praise from their play last season.
With Arkansas also bringing in some freshman guards like C.J. Jones and RJ Glasper, head coach Mike Anderson is hoping to have enough bodies to play fast and use his press. The team appears to be optimistic as well.
“I think we’ll have a lot more toughness at the guard position, and depth,” Watkins said to Murphy. “We’ve got a lot of guys. When we’re pressing and stuff, we’ve got bodies we can bring in.”
Arkansas also returns an SEC Player of the Year candidate in big man Moses Kingsley and they could be an intriguing team to track this season if Barford and Macon are as good as advertised. They’ll certainly have more bodies to throw at opposing guards and that should help Arkansas play faster than they did last season.