Teammates congratulate Duke's Grayson Allen (3) during the first half of a second round game against Yale in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Providence, R.I., Saturday, March 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

No. 4 Duke survives No. 12 Yale’s second-half rally

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After building a 27-point lead in the first half, West No. 4 Duke appeared well on its way to an appearance in the Sweet 16 in Anaheim next week. But Mike Krzyzweski’s team took its foot off the gas pedal during the latter stages of the first half, and just over four minutes into the second half No. 12 Yale began a run that saw them trim the Blue Devil lead to three points in the game’s final minute.

Luckily for Duke that was as close as the Bulldogs would get, as the combination of defensive stops and free throws sealed the 71-64 win for the defending national champions.

Defensively Duke, which struggled with defending Yale early in the second half, made the switch to a 1-3-1 zone with Brandon Ingram at the top and that move helped slow the Bulldogs somewhat. Makai Mason, who scored 31 points in the win over Baylor Thursday, was more of a distributor Saturday as he racked up seven assists. But he also shot just 2-for-12 from the field, and on this day Yale needed more from their sophomore point guard scoring-wise in order to advance.

Having the 6-foot-9 Ingram, with his incredible wingspan, at the top of the zone impacted the vision of the Yale guards and while there was some good ball movement down the stretch there wasn’t enough to completely close the gap. Forwards Brandon Sherrod (22 points) and Justin Sears combined for 34 points and 19 rebounds, taking advantage of the Duke front court especially when Marshall Plumlee had to sit due to foul trouble.

Ultimately James Jones’ team not having an answer for the tandem of Ingram and Grayson Allen early cost them dearly. Those two combined to score 21 of Duke’s 23 second-half points, and they finished with a total of 54 points (29 for Allen) on the afternoon.

Whether it’s No. 1 Oregon or No. 8 Saint Joseph’s in the Sweet 16, Duke will need more from the supporting cast if they’re to play any deeper into the NCAA tournament. After building a large lead, Duke was the basketball version of a boxer ahead on the cards who simply aimed to hang on for the win as opposed to landing the decisive blow. Luckily for them, that 27-point hole was a little too deep for a determined Yale squad to climb out of.

Family of former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt ‘preparing for the worst’

Pat Summitt
(AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
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Legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt is “struggling”, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, and the family is “preparing for the worst”.

Summitt has been battling early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, since 2011, retiring after the 2011-12 season. She coached at Tennessee for 38 years, winning 1,098 games and eight national titles. The court at Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena is named “The Summitt”.

Summitt’s family released a statement on Sunday:

“We acknowledge the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses. She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and, during this time, we ask for prayers for Pat and her family and friends, as well as your utmost respect and privacy. Thank you.”

8-team GCI Great Alaska Shootout field announced

Weber State's Jeremy Senglin breaks through a pack of Northern Colorado players during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Ogden, Utah. Weber State defeated Northern Colorado 85-68. (Benjamin Zack/Standard-Examiner via AP)
Benjamin Zack/Standard-Examiner via AP
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Friday afternoon another in-season tournament released its completed bracket for its event, with the GCI Great Alaska Shootout revealing the eight teams that will make the trek to Anchorage in November. The field includes two teams that reached the 2016 NCAA tournament in Iona and Weber State, and another team in Nevada that has the look of a contender in the Mountain West in 2016-17.

Joining those three teams in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout will be hosts Alaska-Anchorage, Buffalo, Oakland, UC Davis and Drake. The Shootout begins Wednesday, November 23, with the championship game scheduled for Saturday, November 26.

The match-ups in the top half of the bracket are Buffalo vs. Alaska-Anchorage and Oakland vs. Nevada, with those games scheduled for Wednesday night. On Thursday, UC Davis will take on Weber State and Iona matches up with Drake in the other quarterfinal contests. Each team will play three games in Anchorage, and there are also three on-campus games as part of the event.

While Buffalo and Oakland will host non-Division I opponents prior to their trip to Anchorage, Nevada will host Iona November 20 in Reno.

Ole Miss 2016 commitment ruled ineligible by SEC, back on the market

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 12:  Billy Kennedy the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies gives instructions to his team in the game against the LSU Tigers during the semifinals of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Ole Miss lost a junior college big man to a ruling by the SEC as Tyrek Coger will no longer be heading to another school.

A Class of 2016 recruit who averaged 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds last season for Cape Fear Community College can’t go to Ole Miss due to an SEC rule that makes juco transfers be enrolled at their previous schools for at least three semesters as a full-time student. Coger only had a full course load for two semesters, as he maintains that family issues prevented him from being full-time before.

From Eric Detweiler of the Star News Daily.

Ole Miss expected to be able to get a waiver for the Raleigh native because he was dealing with two deaths in the family around the time of his transfer to CFCC from Eastern Florida State College. That appeal was officially denied by the conference Monday.

Detweiler’s story goes on to note that Coger is down to Charlotte, Cincinnati, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Rutgers.

Overall, not a great ruling for Ole Miss, especially in the middle of June, because it will be tough for them to find an adequate replacement for Coger at this point before the season. It’ll be interesting to see where Coger ends up, because he could be a solid rotation big man and good depth for the team getting him.

Coach K has had four surgeries this offseason before USA Basketball commitments

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: United States coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks to players during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match against Nigeria on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is getting ready to coach in the Olympics of the third and final time this offseason as he’s dealing with a depleted roster that is banged up or scared of Zika.

Coach K has also been through a lot with his own health this offseason, as a report from Luke Decock of The News and Observer says that the Hall of Famer is recovering from four separate offseason surgeries. After planned surgeries for a double knee replacement and a hernia operation, Coach K had two unplanned surgeries on his left ankle in a 16-day span within the last two weeks. The Duke coach is still in a walking boot and expects to be fully recovered by the time the Olympics begin in August.

“It’s been a good spring to get better,” Krzyzewski said in the report. “My knee replacement has gone unbelievably well. My rehab could not be better. My hernia surgery, unbelievable. Never pain. The ankle has had some complications. I didn’t know I was going to have to do that but it needed to be done. … That was fairly intense. But it’s worked.”

Coach K also has plenty to say about the state of the American team entering the 2016 Olympics in Brazil including his thoughts on LeBron James choosing to sit out this summer.

For a 69-year-old coach to recover this quickly during an offseason for a commitment like this shows how much it means to Krzyzewski, especially in his final Olympics before he hands it over to Gregg Popovich. The final roster for USA Basketball is going to look very different than the core group of the last few trips, but they’ll still be favored for gold this summer.

USA Basketball moves to 2-0 in FIBA U17 World Championship with win over Turkey

Men's U17 trials head shots and team photo on 6.11.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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The USA Basketball U17 team is trying to win another gold in the FIBA World Championships this summer and the group earned another blowout win with a 84-66 final score over Turkey in group play.

Class of 2017 guard Collin Sexton led a balanced American effort in Spain with 20 points while Marquette incoming freshman guard Markus Howard had 12 points. Class of 2018 big man Cart’Are Gordon had 12 points while Class of 2017 guard Gary Trent Jr. also added 10 points. Five-star 2017 forward Wendell Carter had nine points and 14 rebounds for the Americans. Turkey falls to 1-1 after defeating Egypt in its opener.

The Americans beat Taiwan, 119-45, on Thursday as Kevin Knox led seven double-figure scorers with 15 points.

Next, the Americans play Egypt on June 26 in the final game of group play before the Round of 16 begins on June 28.

This is a very solid start for the Americans in group play as they’ll be heavily favored again on Thursday against Egypt. With a lot of different scoring options, the American attack has been very tough to stop as they’ve been way more athletic and talented than every team they’ve faced so far. The Americans will really be tested once they get out of group play and into the elimination round, where things will become more difficult.

Shooting 30 percent from three-point range shows that the team still has one weakness to work on before the tournament begins. But so far, the USA team is off to a good start in Spain.