(Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

High-scoring four-star guard Jalen Adams prepares for an important summer

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INDIANAPOLIS — One of the biggest stock risers in the spring was combo guard Jalen Adams. The Class of 2015 native of Roxbury, Massachusetts has been scoring the ball at a high clip all spring on the adidas Gauntlet as he looks healthy and determined with the Mass Rivals.

“No injuries, I’m playing a lot. We’re winning a lot, so that’s been good,” Adams said to NBCSports.com

Mass Rivals had a great spring on the adidas Gauntlet, going 11-5 as the 6-foot-1 Adams averaged 22.2 points per game in nine games on 47 percent shooting from the field. With so many elite guards in 2015 committing to schools early in the process, recruiting interest has also picked up for the combo guard and he’s seen a lot of activity in recent weeks.

“It’s definitely picked up quite a bit, Adams said.

“UConn, Minnesota, Kansas, Creighton, Rhode Island, Louisville and a few other schools.”

To be recruited by the defending national champions, UConn, is a big deal for a native of the Northeast like Adams.

“It feels good. Coach Ollie’s a cool dude. He talks to me about how I play in their system and how he likes the way I play,” Adams said.

One of the reasons Adams is drawing a lot of interest is his ability to score from all over the floor. Adams is advanced pulling up from mid-range or getting to the basket and playing above the rim a little bit. If the combo guard can improve his 24 percent three-point shooting in July, nearly every school in the country should show interest.

Adams is the No. 27 prospect in Rivals.com’s 2015 national rankings, but he credits playing with future Syracuse point guard Kaleb Joseph as a big factor in his development this season.

“I think I got a lot better over the school season working out with Kaleb (Joseph) and kids at my school,” Adams said. “It was fun playing with him. Playing with him in AAU and school. He helped me become a leader and become a true point guard.”

Although Adams went to battle against a talented player like Joseph in practice at Cushing Academy, he likes to model his game after a few other players.

“I like the way that Shabazz Napier plays and Russ Smith and a few other guards,” Adams said. “With Shabazz, definitely the hesitation pull-up and creating and getting to the basket and creating for others. With Russ Smith, I like the way that he’s explosive.”

The recruiting process is still in the exploratory stages for Adams, as he has no visits planned at the moment and he focuses on being prepared for July and playing in front of the college coaches.

“(I want to) show them that I can get to the basket and not only score, but get others involved,” Adams said.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.

Gill’s 16, ‘D’ lead No. 7 Virginia past Virginia Tech, 67-49

Lehigh Virginia Basketball
AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Anthony Gill scored 16 points and No. 7 Virginia turned the tables on state rival Virginia Tech with a 67-49 victory Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ seventh straight.

Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as their worst performance of the season, and extended their winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.

Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since breaking his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team wasn’t ready to play when it lost to the Hokies earlier, but they have been surging of late and were focused from the outset. They were credited with assists and 14 of their first 15 baskets and forced 10 turnovers in the first half; they forced just eight in the last meeting of the teams.

For most of the game, the Hokies had more turnovers than field goals.

The Cavaliers led 32-20 at halftime and extended their advantage to 47-29 on a three-point play by Mike Tobey with 12:11 remaining. It capped an 11-4 run for Virginia, during which LeDay was whistled for his fourth foul. On Virginia’s next trip down court, it got the ball to Gill inside and LeDay basically backed off and let him score, quickly earning a spot on the bench.

The Cavaliers’ lead never dipped into single digits again.

The Hokies had just eight turnovers and outscored Virginia 26-6 off turnovers in their first meeting. This time, Virginia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime and the Cavaliers had already turned them into 15 points. Virginia Tech finished with 16 field goals and 15 turnovers.

Already leading 9-6, Virginia got scoring from eight players in a 23-8 run that spanned about 8 1/2 minutes.

Gill started it with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, London Perrantes had a four-point play and Wilkins finished it with two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 32-14 lead with 2:06 left in the half. They didn’t score again, and the Hokies closed within 32-20 by halftime.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 57.1 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half of their 70-68 victory against Virginia on Jan. 4. … Virginia Tech’s starting five totaled four points in the first half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have held four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 12 Miami next Wednesday.

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

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The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org