LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 12 Creighton outlasts Ole Miss

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 12 Creighton 86, Ole Miss 77

After putting 100 points on Washington State, and more impressively, against N.C. State, the Bluejays jumped 10 spots in the rankings as they took on Ole Miss in the U.S. Virgin Island Paradise Jam championship game. However, No. 12 Creighton found itself down by double digits in the first half thanks to the sharp shooting of Deandre Burnett and Rasheed Brooks coupled with the Rebels ability to control the pace. Marcus Foster kept Creighton within striking distance, at 46-40, with 17 first half points.

The Jays caught fire in the second half, dropping 46 points after halftime. Defensively, they stood strong, holding the Rebels had only one field goal over the final five-plus minutes.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Georgetown 65, No. 13 Oregon 61: Georgetown nearly surrendered a 17-point halftime lead, as the Ducks to a brief 43-42 edge in the second half. However, the Hoyas countered with a run of their own and were able to hold on to a signature win after a week in which they suffered a late-game collapse against Maryland followed by a wire-to-wire loss to Arkansas State. Oregon saw its All-American candidate, Dillon Brooks, make his season debut after offseason foot surgery. He was limited to only 13 minutes, but showed flashes of what we can expect from him.

Winthrop 84, Illinois 80 (OT): This could be a pivotal year for John Groce, in his fourth season in Champaign. After a 4-0 start, the Fighting Illini dropped an overtime loss to Big South favorite Winthrop. Keon Johnson erupted for 38 points in the victory.

Oklahoma State 97, UConn 90: A preseason top-20 team, UConn falls to 1-3 with losses to Wagner and Northeastern, and now finds itself on the wrong side of the Maui Invitational bracket. The Huskies fell behind by double figures early before a late-game comeback attempt came up short.

Northwestern 77, No. 22 Texas 58: The Wildcats will meet Notre Dame in the Legends Classic final as they rolled past the Longhorns. Shaka Smart has talent on the perimeter, but does he have a point guard? Texas ended with double the turnovers as it had assists.

STARRED

  • Rodney Pryor, Georgetown: The Robert Morris graduate transfer helped spark a 16-4 run to close out the half, giving the Hoyas a 17-point lead. Georgetown nearly blew the large lead in the second half, but behind Pryor’s 26 points and 10 rebounds, the Hoyas landed a signature win over No. 13 Oregon after back weekend back in D.C. Georgetown gets to play No. 16 Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational semifinals on Tuesday.
  • Keon Johnson, Winthrop: The frontrunner to be Big South Player of the Year, dropped 38 points, off 15-of-21 shooting, in a road win over Illinois on Monday night. Johnson also added six boards and three assists.
  • Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: The undersized junior forward registered his first double-double of the season, posting 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in an 89-83 win over Colorado in the Legends Classic. Several of Colson’s boards kept secure the win, as the Buffaloes attempted to pull off a double-digit comeback late in regulation.
  • Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State: One of the criminally-unknown players in college basketball dropped 35 points on the Huskies. Sure, it took him 24 shots to do so, but he also had six assists and committed only a single turnover.

TOP 25

  • No. 4 North Carolina cruised past Chaminade, 104-61, in the Maui opener.
  • The perimeter of Frank Mason, Devonte Graham and Josh Jackson combined for 48 points in an No. 5 Kansas’ 83-63 win over a good UAB team in CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
  • Northern Colorado put No. 8 Arizona on upset alert with a 31-30 halftime lead. But behind Lauri Markkanen’s 17 points and 13 rebounds — the first double-double of his collegiate career — the Wildcats held on for a 71-55 win. How long before the absence of Allonzo Trier catches up with ‘Zona?
  • Ole Miss not only jumped out to an 11-point lead, but the Rebels controlled the pace. Despite that, No. 12 Creighton still dropped 86 points to capture the Paradise Jam title. Marcus Foster, who dropped 25 points took home MVP honors.
  • No. 13 Oregon got Dillon Brooks back, but took its second loss of the non-conference schedule, as Georgetown, which needed to stop the bleeding, held on for a 65-61 win in the Maui Invitational quarterfinals.
  • No. 16 Wisconsin got a scare from Tennessee, but Nigel Hayes, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, hit some timely threes to halt the upset bid.

NOTABLES

  • Dennis Smith Jr. had a season-high 24 points, as N.C. State gets back in the win column in a consolation win over Saint Joseph’s
  • The first three games of the Gulf Coast Showcase were decided by a total of six points
    • Vermont 60, Wofford 59
    • Hofstra 92, Bradley 90
    • South Dakota 80, Kent State 77
  • In the final Gulf Coast Showcase wasn’t as close, as Rob Gray Jr. scored 23 points in a 93-56 win over George Mason
  • Blue Mountain College, an NAIA team, defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff in triple overtime, 77-74
  • Aaron Menzies posted 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Seattle’s win over Louisiana Monroe in a Legends Classic regional game
  • J.J. Frazier’s 18 points paced Georgia in a win over George Washington in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic
  • Zach Denny’s three in the final minute gave Bowling Green its first win of the season, as the Falcons topped Murray State 78-77
  • Nana Foulland, one of the best mid-major players no one talks about, recorded 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Bucknell defeated Vanderbilt on the road
  • Rodney Bullock had
  • Bogdan Bliznyuk had a 32-point game for Eastern Washington in a victory over Bryant
  • Central Michigan topped Pepperdine, 88-77, behind 36 points and seven assists from Marcus Keene
  • Eric Mika had his third double-double in four games, leading BYU over Saint Louis, 92-62, in the MGM Grand Main Event.
  • Underclassmen forward Nate Fowler and Joey Brunk combined for 27 points off the bench for Butler

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.

Report: NCAA ‘anticipates’ hearing UNC case in mid-August

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Today, the AP churned out a story on Greg Sankey’s involvement with the NCAA’s investigation into the academic scandal at North Carolina, and buried within that story is this little nugget:

UNC must respond to the latest charges by May 16. The NCAA enforcement staff then has until July 17 for its own response. Sankey wrote that his panel will hear the case in August with “anticipated” dates of Aug. 16 and 17.

Rulings typically come weeks to months later.

We’ve been down this road before, as the current iteration of the Notice of Allegations is the third that the NCAA has provided the university. The first was given out back in May of 2015 for an investigation that began back in 2010.