ridley.jepg

Late Night Snacks: Tournament-record four overtime games on Thursday

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 7 Texas 87, No. 10 Arizona State 85

After Jonathan Gilling tied the game with two free throws, Arizona State’s season ended in cruel fashion as a Cameron Ridley basket as time expired gave the Longhorns the win in Milwaukee. The individual matchup between Ridley and Jordan Bachynski was entertaining to say the least, with Ridley finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots and Bachynski countering with 25 points and seven boards. Six Longhorns finished in double figures including Martez Walker, who scored 16 points off the bench. Next up for Texas is Midwest Region No. 2 Michigan.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 12 North Dakota State 80, No. 5 Oklahoma 75 (OT)

When star guard Taylor Braun fouled out with 1:18 remaining in overtime it seemed as if the Bison were in trouble in the West Region matchup. But what ultimately occurred was freshman Carlin Dupree taking advantage of his opportunity to shine, making two free throws and then converting a critical layup with 42 seconds remaining. From there NDSU would go on to pick up the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament victory, advancing to play either No. 4 San Diego State or No. 13 New Mexico State. Lawrence Alexander led the way for the winners with 28 points.

2) No. 5 Saint Louis 83, No. 12 NC State 80 (OT)

The Wolfpack, a trendy pick to beat Saint Louis, led by 14 points with 5:03 remaining and looked poised to make prophets out of many. But then NC State started missing free throws and doing other things teams looking to close out a game should not do, allowing Saint Louis to pick up an improbable comeback victory. T.J. Warren scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds but he fouled out in the final minute of overtime, robbing NC State of its best scoring option. Rob Loe led SLU with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Jordair Jett played very good defense on Warren down the stretch in regulation as well as in overtime.

3) No. 11 Dayton 60, No. 6 Ohio State 59

Vee Sanford’s basket with 3.9 seconds remaining was the difference in the first game of the day, advancing the Flyers into the Round of 32 where they’ll face South Region No. 3 Syracuse. Dyshawn Pierre scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the balanced Flyers, who won despite shooting just 3-for-13 from beyond the arc. Sam Thompson scored 18 points and Aaron Craft 16 for the Buckeyes, with the latter having his college career come to an end in Buffalo.

STARRED

1) Adreian Payne (Michigan State) 

Payne shot 10-for-15 from the field and 17-for-17 from the foul line, scoring a career-high 41 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the Spartans’ 93-78 win over Delaware.

2) Lawrence Alexander (North Dakota State)

Alexander scored 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds and four assists in North Dakota State’s 80-75 overtime win over Oklahoma.

3) Rob Loe (Saint Louis)

Accounted for 22 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in the Billikens’ 83-80 overtime win over NC State.

STRUGGLED

1) Jordan Aaron (Milwaukee)

Aaron shot 1-for-15 from the field, scoring six points in the Panthers’ 73-53 loss to Villanova.

2) Askia Booker (Colorado)

Scored six points on 2-for-9 shooting to go along with five rebounds and four turnovers (no assists) in Colorado’s 77-48 loss to Pittsburgh.

3) Sam Rowley (Albany)

Rowley made just one of his eight field goal attempts, finishing with three points in the Great Danes’ 67-55 loss to Florida.

NOTABLES

  • After getting off to a slow start West Region No. 2 Wisconsin built its lead over American to ten points at the half, and they would go on to win 75-35.
  • South Region No. 9 Pittsburgh jumped out to a 13-0 lead on No. 8 Colorado and never looked back, beating the Buffaloes 77-48 in Orlando. The 29-point margin is the largest for a Pitt team in its NCAA tournament history.
  • Wesley Saunders scored 12 points and Siyani Chambers added 11 as East Region No. 12 Harvard established an early lead and held off No. 5 Cincinnati in Spokane, 61-57. Seniors Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson led the way offensively for Cincinnati, scoring 18 and 13 points respectively.
  • Trevor Cooney shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc, scoring 18 points in South Region No. 3 Syracuse’s 77-53 win over Western Michigan.
  • West Region No. 7 Oregon proved to be too much for No. 10 BYU as the Ducks won 87-68 in Milwaukee. The star of the day for the Ducks: forward Elgin Cook, who finished the game with 23 points and eight rebounds.
  • South Region No. 1 Florida didn’t put forth its best effort against scrapping No. 16 Albany but they were able to establish some distance in the second half, beating the Great Danes 67-55.
  • Adreian Payne’s career afternoon will receive much of the attention as East Region No. 4 Michigan State beat No. 13 Delaware 93-78 in Spokane, but Travis Trice’s 19 points off the bench were important as well.
  • Amida Brimah’s three-point play with 39 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime, and with Saint Joseph’s forward Halil Kanacevic having fouled out East Region No. 7 UConn took over in the extra session to win 89-81.
  • Midwest Region No. 2 Michigan didn’t get to play as fast as it may have wanted to against No. 15 Wofford, but the Wolverines managed to shoot 47.8% from the field in their 57-40 win over the Terriers. Nik Stauskas scored 15 points and Glenn Robinson III 14 for the Wolverines.
  • East Region No. 2 Villanova didn’t get off to the best of starts against No. 15 Milwaukee, but the Wildcats woke up in the second half to beat the Panthers 73-53 in Buffalo. The Wildcats will face former Big East foe UConn Saturday.
  • Midwest Region No. 4 Louisville, a trendy pick to reach the Final Four, had its hands full with a Manhattan squad coached by former Rick Pitino assistant Steve Masiello. But the Cardinals managed to win 71-64, with Luke Hancock hitting two critical three-pointers down the stretch.
  • In spite of some shoddy play in the late stages of regulation, West Region No. 4 seed San Diego State managed to beat New Mexico State 73-69. This was the fourth overtime game of the day, something that hadn’t happened in the NCAA tournament prior to Thursday.

White decides to return to Nebraska

AP Photo
Leave a comment

Nebraska’s second-leading scorer from last season will return for his senior season as Andrew White III announced Wednesday he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft.

“I felt good about the pre-draft process, White said in a statement released by Nebraska. “It was encouraging, and I gained as much ground as anyone throughout the process. I wanted one more year to fine tune my game and put myself in better position for the NBA next summer.  

“I want to thank the teams who invited me their in-house workouts, and Nebraska for supporting me during this process.  It has been very helpful in gathering information in preparation for my future Thank you to everyone who has been following my progress throughout the spring and being understanding and supportive, as I evaluated whether to turn pro or return for my senior year.”

White, a Kansas transfer, tallied 16.6 points per game last season while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He also pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game.

“We are excited to have Andrew remain with our program,” coach Tim Miles said. “This has been a valuable time for him, as he has tested his skills against some of the best competition and received very important insight from key NBA personnel.  

“We look forward to continuing to help Andrew’s development to improve his NBA profile even more than he already has done through this process.  I believe next year could be our most complete team with a great opportunity for success in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament, I’m happy Andrew will be with us to go out and prove it.”

The news is certainly welcome for the Cornhuskers and Miles, who will be under pressure to show improvement after back-to-back disappointing seasons following an NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Shavon Shields, last year’s leading scorer, has exhausted his eligibility and the Huskers will need White to help fill the void.

Trimble coming back to Terps

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (AP Photo/Matt Hazlett)
Leave a comment

Melo Trimble is returning to Maryland.

The Terrapin guard will be back to for his junior season in College Park, according to multiple reports.

Trimble went from freshman first-rounder to question mark after a rough end to his sophomore season for Maryland in which his points per game, shooting percentage (both overall and from 3-point range) and rebounding dipped from his first season. Only his assists per game showed any sort of improvement. He waited until the last possible day to announce his intentions to return to school, but really his options were limited after seeing his production drop.

His decision to come back to school gives him a shot to restore his draft stock while Maryland gets its floor general back to help ease the transition from last year’s Sweet 16 squad that lost Diamond Stone, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman. The Terps might not be a sure-fire top-25 team with Trimble back, but their NCAA tournament chances are now significantly higher.

Nevada lands Martin twins

Caleb Martin, Jordan Roper
Leave a comment

Eric Musselman keeps adding reinforcements to his roster. For the 2017-18 season.

Musselman and Nevada received commitments from N.C. State transfers and twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, according to multiple reports.

That brings Nevada’s sit-out transfer count for this upcoming season to four with Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) already in the fold. Under NCAA transfer rules, the quartet will have to sit out the upcoming season before being eligible in 2017-18.

Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 36 percent from deep while Cody put up 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

The timing of having four sit-out transfers works well for the Wolf Pack given that two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, D.J. Fenner (a senior) and Cameron Oliver (a sophomore), return while senior transfers Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) becomes eligible. Having those four experienced transfers begin playing in 2017-18 while all but two players from this upcoming team slated to return makes Nevada an interesting team, a year from now.

Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

Swanigan staying for sophomore season

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Leave a comment

Purdue will once again be rolling out a formidable frontcourt in the 2016-17 season.

Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan is withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to West Lafayette for his sophomore season, the school announced Wednesday.

The NBA is right there and always will be,” Swanigan said in the school’s press release, “but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you.”

Purdue is losing 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, but will be once again teaming Swanigan with Isaac Haas (7-2) and Vince Edwards (6-8) that will allow them to roll out a supersized lineup that is sure to be a difficult one to face off against.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, who likely would have landed as a second-round pick, averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award for the country’s top freshman.

“We are excited that (Swanigan) has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue,” head coach said Matt Painter in a statement released by the school. “He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player.”

Purdue is probably a rung down from Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the league, but the return of Swanigan pulls them closer to competing at the top of the league next season.