Late Night Snacks: Duke, VCU both go down


GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin 77, No. 5 VCU 75 OT

The Lumberjacks saw a 10-point second half disappear as VCU went on a 20-3 run in the blink of an eye, but Stephen F. Austin was able to erase a 10 point VCU lead in the final minutes to force overtime. The biggest shot of the night came from Desmond Hayman, who buried a three while getting fouled with just 3.6 seconds left. The teams traded baskets in the extra frame, but JeQuan Lewis missed a wide-open look at a three as the buzzer sounded. SFA will advance to face No. 4 seed UCLA, if they ever stop dancing.


1. No. 14 Mercer 78, No. 3 Duke 71: Stephen F. Austin weren’t the only ones dancing on Friday as the Bears handed Duke their second loss to a double-digit seed in the last three season. The Bears took advantage of off nights from Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, who combined for 6-for-24 from the floor, and attacked them on the defensive end of the floor. Jakob Gollom led the way with 20 points for the Bears.

2. No. 6 North Carolina 79, No. 11 Providence 77: Bryce Cotton went off for 36 points and eight assists, but the Friars could do nothing to keep North Carolina off of the offensive glass, giving up three offensive rebounds on the final possession of the game alone. Marcus Paige finished with 19 points for the Tar Heels.

3. No. 3 Iowa State 93, No. 14 N.C.-Central 75: Iowa State won and advanced, but the biggest news of the day was that Georges Niang’s season came to an end with he broke a bone in his foot. That’s a massive blow for the Cyclones.


1. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee: The big fella finished with 26 points and 14 boards as No. 11 Tennessee knocked off No. 6 UMass in a blowout.

2. Doug McDermott, Creighton: Ho-hum, just another 30-point, 12-rebound performance from McDermott for the No. 3 seed Bluejays in a win over No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette.

3. Julius Randle, Kentucky: Randle scored 19 points and grabbed 15 boards as No. 8 Kentucky knocked off No. 9 Kansas State.


1. Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams, New Mexico: Two of No. 7 New Mexico’s three best players combined for six points on 1-for-12 shooting from the floor in a 58-53 loss to No. 10 Stanford.

2. Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State: Nash was 2-for-5 from the floor and played just 17 minutes before fouling out as the No. 9 seed Cowboys lost to No. 8 Gonzaga.

3. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were 4-for-21 from three, Tim Miles got ejected and the 74-60 loss was much closer than the game seemed. That’s bad.


POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

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.