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Tennessee gives releases to freshmen Darius Thompson and A.J. Davis

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Tennessee granted releases to two freshmen on Monday, as new head coach Donnie Tyndall could move on without freshman guard Darius Thompson and freshman forward A.J. Davis.

Tyndall hopes the duo returns to Tennessee as both Davis and Thompson received minutes last season for the Vols.

The 6-foot-5 Thompson was a key reserve last season, as the backup point guard ran the offense off-the-bench and appeared in all 37 games for Tennessee, registering double-digit minutes in 33 of those contests. The light-shooting Thompson averaged 2.6 points, two rebounds, 2.4 assists and one steal per game in 16.4 minutes a game last season. Thompson also led the team in steals and was second in assists.

The 6-foot-9 Davis is the son of former NBA All-Star forward Antonio Davis and appeared in 25 games for Tennessee last season, but saw his minutes decline significantly during SEC play. Davis averaged 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game in the 2013-14 campaign.

Although both Davis and Thompson should improve over the next few seasons, neither looked like a sure thing to be starters in the SEC based on their freshman seasons.

Thompson was serviceable as a backup ball handler because of his steadiness with the ball (34 turnovers in 620 minutes), but he only shot 38 percent from the field and 19 percent from the three-point line, so he has a long ways to go to be any kind of threat as a scorer.

Still, Thompson was the team’s only returning point guard and if both players opt to leave then Tennessee has six open scholarships for the 2014-15 season. Earlier on Monday, Tennessee announced the signing of JuCo guard Kevin Punter, but he’s more of an off-the-ball option for the Vols as Punter averaged 20-plus points per game last season at State Fair Community College.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.