TaShawn Thomas,Geron Johnson

Oklahoma adds Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas

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Oklahoma has landed one of the top available transfers remaining, with former Houston forward TaShawn Thomas committing to join Lon Kruger’s program. The news was first reported by Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, and it’s a big development for the Sooners.

In three seasons at Houston, Thomas averaged 14.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game and last season was a member of the American Athletic Conference’s second-team all-conference squad. Thomas shot 59.1% from the field as a junior, and he reached double figures in 30 of the 33 games he played in (eight double-doubles).

Thomas and former teammate Danuel House made the decision to leave Houston following the departure of James Dickey, but they ran into roadblocks as they attempted to gain their respective scholarship releases. The two were finally given conditional releases in mid-April.

Thomas picked Oklahoma over Miami, and according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com there’s a chance that the forward could apply for a waiver that would make him eligible immediately. And if that were to happen, Oklahoma would be well-positioned to account for the 15.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game that the now-departed Cameron Clark provided in his senior season (OU lost Tyler Neal as well).

Oklahoma returns three of its top four scorers in guards Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard, and formidable interior presence Ryan Spangler will be back as well. But the addition of Thomas would give Oklahoma a valuable piece in the paint, with his ability to score on the low block consistently being an asset Kruger and his staff can put to good use.

In addition to Thomas the Sooners are adding four players to the program this summer, junior college guard Dinjiyl Walker,  forwards Dante Buford and Khadeem Lattin and center Jamuni McNease. Given the lack of experience in the front court (senior D.J. Bennett played just 9.8 mpg last season) outside of Spangler the addition of Thomas is a big one, especially if he’s able to play immediately.

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

King Rice
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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)

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.