Frank Kaminsky, Josh Gasser

No. 2 Wisconsin overcomes slow first half to reach Sweet 16


Frank Kaminsky led five scorers in double-figures with 19 points as No. 2 Wisconsin overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to beat No. 7 Oregon, 85-77.

The Ducks were unconscious in the first half, thriving as the Badgers tried to run with them, but Oregon’s shots didn’t fall in the final 20 minutes. They were outscored 48-28 in that second 20 minutes as Wisconsin took advantage of the fact that the Bradley Center was jam-packed with Badger fans.

The win will send Wisconsin to Anaheim for the Sweet 16 where they will play the winner of tomorrow’s game No. 3 Creighton and No. 6 Baylor.

Wisconsin’s Achilles’ heel all season long has been their ability to defend on the perimeter, and that was evident in the first half against the Ducks. Joseph Young, who finished with 29 points, was able to get into the paint at will while Jason Calliste, who added 20 off the bench, made a living at the foul line.

But that defense tightened up significantly down the stretch, and if Bo Ryan can get his boys to play that way out west, they’ll have a chance to make some noise in Anaheim.

The biggest reason why is that they start three guards that, if needed, could seamlessly transition into the point guard role in Traevon Jackson, Ben Brust and Josh Gasser. All three have three-point range, all three hit their free throws and all three can avoid turnovers. As good as Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky are, the reason that those two are able to get the ball in spots where they can be effective is a result of Wisconsin’s back court play.

There hasn’t been much discussion of the Badgers as a contender for the Final Four in the west, but the biggest reason for that was their matchup with Oregon. The Ducks just looked like they would have Wisconsin’s number, and, frankly, they did.

But Wisconsin was able to pull out the win, which means that this is a group that you are going to have to start paying attention to.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.