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

Three LSU players accused of shooting paintballs at pedestrian

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Three LSU basketball players were issued a summons earlier this month for allegedly shooting paintballs at a pedestrian, according to a report from the Daily Reveille.

The incident involving the three players, Galen Alexander, Wayde Sims and Mayan Kiir, occurred on June 16.

“I’m aware of the situation and we are dealing with the matter internally,” first-year Tigers coach Will Wade said in a statement, according to The Advocate. “I’m extremely disappointed in these players and the poor judgement they used. This is no way to represent LSU or our basketball program. They have a clear understanding of what our expectations are as a program both on and off the court.”

Alexander and Kiir are both freshmen while Sims is a sophomore who averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 19 minutes per game last season.

Grayson Allen is…funny?

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The last year led to a lot of people having opinions on Grayson Allen. The Duke star invited most of them thanks to his tripping and his outbursts, as well as the simple fact he plays for the Blue Devils, who always seem to attract plenty of hate from the masses.

While Allen is one of college basketball’s best players, he’s also one of its most ridiculed. More people than not probably have a poor opinion about the guy due to his bizarre tripping habit and the bench meltdown from last season. He’s an easy target that brought a lot of criticism on himself with his actions.

This summer, though, Allen has started to show another side to his personality through social media. It turns out he might actually be funny.

The world is full of surprises.

Here’s an example from today, with Allen not only some comedy chops, but some self-deprecation and self-awareness – two important traits for someone who might need some reputation rehab – as he pokes fun of the Internet’s suggestion that he’s a dead ringer for Texas senator Ted Cruz, as well as Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, apparently.

That was just the most recent example, though. Earlier this month, he ribbed maybe the Internet’s only more favorite villain, LaVar Ball.

And before that, he had some fun with the fact that he’ll almost assuredly be tabbed to our Perry Ellis All-Stars team for his final collegiate season this fall.

So, yeah, Grayson Allen’s rep took a bunch of hits last year for some bad behavior. Maybe there’s more there, though.

IUPUI to become Horizon League’s 10th member

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The Horizon League officially announced this week that IUPUI will be replacing Valparaiso as the league’s 10th member. Valpo left to replace Wichita State in the Missouri Valley.

“We are excited to welcome IUPUI to the Horizon League family,” Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone said. “The Jaguars bring us tremendous competitive potential, particularly in men’s basketball, along with an engaged and energized city. Their addition solidifies our broad community partnerships in Indianapolis and is the right school at the right time.”

IUPUI — which stands for Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis — has been a member of the Summit League, which will be left with eight teams now that the Jaguars have departed. They’ve made it to one NCAA tournament, back in 2003, and have been a full-fledged member of Division I for 19 years. That was the year before NBA point guard George Hill enrolled. Current head coach Jason Gardner has been there for three years but has yet to record a winning season; IUPUI has not been over .500 since 2011, when Ron Hunter was still the head coach.

“We are excited about engaging with the other Horizon League member institutions to enhance the overall competitiveness of the league,” said IUPUI Director of Athletics Dr. Roderick Perry. “As an institution and athletics department, our mission, vision, and core values align closely with the Horizon League. This is an important step forward in the life of our athletics department.”

Former Louisville standout Chris Jones shot in Memphis

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Former Louisville point guard Chris Jones was shot while playing basketball in his native Memphis on Tuesday night.

According to a report from FOX 13 in Memphis, shortly after 11 p.m. shots rang out on in Halle Park after an altercation on the court. Two people were taken to the hospital, one with a head injury stemming from a fight. The other was Jones, who was shot in the leg twice, according to the Courier-Journal. His injuries are not life-threatening and he has already been released from the hospital, according to Steve Forbes, his former Junior College coach.

Jones played at Melrose High in Memphis before spending two years at Northwest Florida Junior College and two more seasons at Louisville.

This past year, he spent time playing professionally in Greece and in France, although he played just a grand total of three games in the two leagues.

Perhaps the craziest part about this story is that Jones was shot on a court that is next to a police station. This is a screengrab from FOX 13’s live shot from the basketball courts, and you can see the police cars in the station’s parking lot in the back ground:

Preaching patience, new Pitt AD says hoops program “a complete rebuild”

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Things did not go particularly well for Kevin Stallings in his first year at Pitt. The program, which essentially pushed Jamie Dixon out the door for being consistently good but not often enough great, struggled, going 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, just two games out of the cellar.

On top of that, six players prematurely left the program this spring.

Not great, especially when you’ve got a new boss that didn’t hire you, as is the case for Stallings with new Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke, who came aboard in March. In her first meeting with Stallings, Lyke asked a rather blunt question.

“Do you want to be here?” according to the Beaver County Times.

Stallings answered that he did, and his new athletic director would appear to be willing to give her predecessor’s hire time to reclaim and rebuild the program.

“It’s a steep climb, if you will,” Lyke said. “It’s not something that’s going to come easy and it takes an incredible amount of work.”

Stallings’ personal reputation took a significant amount of damage this spring when he attempted to block Cameron Johnson from an intra-ACC transfer to North Carolina. NBC Sports’ Scott Phillips called him a “town-deaf clown” in his attempt to keep Johnson from being a Tar Heel, a position he later relinquished, allowing Johnson to head to Chapel Hill.

Losing Johnson certainly won’t help Stallings and the Panthers recover from the difficult first season. Pitt didn’t hit any grand-slams in recruiting but is adding four-star guard Marcus Carr in its 2017 class.

The immediate outlook doesn’t look particularly bright, but Pitt appears to be positioning itself to exhibit some patience.

“If you look at the team, it is a complete rebuild,” Lyke said. “So I do think that (Stallings) is going to need a little time to develop it.

“But, we’ve got to be headed in the right direction. There’s some things that have got to get better and noticeable improvements. I’ve already seen those things start to happen.”