At midnight last night, Bruce Pearl became a free man. The Auburn head coach’s NCAA show-cause penalty is finally over and Pearl can be around his team, call recruits and their coaches and parents and go about the normal life of a SEC men’s head basketball coach.
Before midnight last night, Pearl was greeted by approximately 50 students outside of Auburn Arena, according to James Crepea of The Montgomery Advertiser.
Pearl took a photo with those students before joining his team and his assistant coaches, who were in the office ready to go to work on recruiting. According to CBSSports.com‘s Gary Parrish, Pearl’s first conversation with a recruit was going to be with 2015 recruit and 6-foot-8 forward Horace Spencer. In an enthusiastic celebration, Pearl and his team jumped around while Pearl yelled, “free at last!”
Pearl and Auburn plan on hosting an elite camp on Sunday to make up for lost time recruiting and evaluating potential prospects. Auburn’s staff has already helped the Tigers land four-star wing forward Danjel Purifoy late this week and they have to be hoping to ride a wave of momentum now that the charismatic Pearl is free to recruit on his own once again.
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:
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.