Late Night Snacks: Saturday’s Elite Eight matchups set

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 1 Arizona 70, No. 4 San Diego State 64

For 37 minutes Arizona’s Nick Johnson couldn’t buy a bucket, as he missed all ten of his shots from the field. But complete players find other ways in which to help their team when the shots aren’t falling and Johnson did that, continuing to defend, rebound (eight rebounds) and distribute (three assists) the basketball. And when it was winning time the Pac-12 Player of the Year stepped forward, scoring 15 points in the final three minutes.

Just as important for Arizona was their improvement in keeping Josh Davis off of the boards, as the forward corralled 11 rebounds in the first half. His second-half rebound total: three. Xavier Thames scored 25 points and Dwayne Polee II added 13 for the Aztecs, who end their season with a record of 31-5. Next up for Arizona, which also received 15 points and six rebounds from Aaron Gordon, is No. 2 Wisconsin.


1) No. 1 Florida 79, No. 4 UCLA 68

After shooting no better than 39% in either of their two games in Orlando last weekend the Gators shot 50% from the field against UCLA, with Michael Frazier II scoring 19 points and Scottie Wilbekin adding 13. Also of note for Florida was their bench, with Dorian Finney-Smith (ten points, six rebounds and four assists), Kasey Hill (six points, ten assists and six rebounds) and Chris Walker (seven points, three rebounds) all having productive evenings. UCLA had its chances to get wrestle away control of the game, but the Bruins were unable to get the stops they needed in the second half.

2) No. 2 Wisconsin 69, No. 6 Baylor 52

The Badgers removed any doubt early, limiting the Bears to 16 points and 20% shooting in the first half. Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with 19 points and six blocked shots, and against Baylor’s zone defense the Badgers were able to get many of the quality looks they desired. Baylor shot just 31.6% against Wisconsin’s pack line defense, and after going off against Creighton on Sunday guards Kenny Chery and Brady Heslip combined to shoot 3-for-14 from the field.

3) No. 11 Dayton 82, No. 10 Stanford 72

Balance and depth have been keys for Dayton throughout the season, and that was once again the case as the Flyers advanced to their first Elite Eight in 30 years. Jordan Sibert scored 18 points to lead four Dayton players in double figures, and Archie Miller’s reserves combined to score 34 points. Stanford had its issues on both ends of the floor, with Chasson Randle shooting 5-for-21 from the field and the defense struggling to limit Dayton’s quality looks in both zone and man-to-man. Next up for Dayton, which last reached the Final Four in 1967, is No. 1 Florida.


1) Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) 

19 points (8-for-11 FG), six blocks, four rebounds and three assists in Wisconsin’s 69-52 win over Baylor.

2) Michael Frazier II (Florida)

19 points (5-for-8 3PT), six rebounds and three assists in Florida’s 79-68 win over UCLA.

3) Jordan Sibert (Dayton) 

18 points (7-for-12 FG), three rebounds and two assists in the Flyers’ 82-72 win over Stanford.


1) Brady Heslip and Kenny Chery (Baylor)

Chery scored 12 points but did so on 2-for-8 shooting from the field in Baylor’s 69-52 loss to Wisconsin, and Heslip scored three points on 1-for-6 shooting.

2) Chasson Randle (Stanford)

Randle scored 21 points but did so on 5-for-21 shooting while also accounting for five rebounds, five turnovers and three assists.

3) Anthony Brown (Stanford)

Brown scored just four points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field in Stanford’s loss to Dayton.

CIT: Murray State advances to semifinals

Murray State advanced to the semifinals of the CIT with an 85-73 win over Towson in Murray. Cameron Payne led four Racers in double figures with 24 points to go along with seven assists, four rebounds and five steals, and as a team Murray State shot 10-for-23 from beyond the arc. In his final game at Towson senior forward Jerrelle Benimon scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Mike Burwell scored a team-high 20 points.

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.