Brian Williams

Former Oklahoma State wing Brian Williams joins Louisiana program

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After making 26 starts in 34 games at Oklahoma State last season, 6-foot-5 guard/forward Brian Williams made the decision in early April to leave the program. Having graduated from the Big 12 school, Williams would be eligible to play at the Division I school of his choice. Wednesday it was made official by the Louisiana program that Williams will be a Ragin’ Cajun, joining a team that reached the NCAA tournament last season.

Williams posted averages of 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game as a junior, shooting 48.8% from the field, 25.0% from three and 72.7% from the foul line. However he played more than 20 minutes in just two of Oklahoma State’s final eight games, including a 13-minute outing in their season-ending loss to Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament.

But his arrival at Louisiana helps from a depth standpoint, with the Ragin’ Cajuns having lost its three leaders, including junior guard Elfrid Payton.

“We’re excited to have Brian enrolled in school and become a member of the Ragin’ Cajuns,” Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said in the release. “He gives us an athletic wing player with size and has played at a high level for the past three years.

“With the loss of our team captains from last year, Brian will have the chance to step in right away and be a leader of this team.”

In addition to Payton, Louisiana lost seniors Bryant Mbamalu and Eldridge Moore. The leading returnees in 2014-15 will be forward Shawn Long (18.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and guard Xavian Rimmer (8.8, 2.3).

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: