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No. 3 Indiana is upset by Fort Wayne in overtime

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Bryson Scott had 18 points, 12 boards, three assists and three steals to lead Fort Wayne to a 71-68 overtime win over No. 3 Indiana in Fort Wayne on Tuesday night.

John Konchar added 15 points, 11 boards and four assists, hitting a free throw with less than a minute left in the game that gave the Mastadons a 69-68 lead. The win was made all the more impressive by the fact that Mo Evans, Fort Wayne’s best player who was averaging 23 points entering the night, was just 4-for-15 from the floor as he battled foul trouble all night.

Indiana was without O.G. Anunoby for much of the night. He was scoreless and sat out for most of the second half and overtime.

Before I get into my full thoughts on this game, a couple of things to note:

1. We need to credit Indiana for actually scheduling this game. It wasn’t a true road environment – the game wasn’t played at Fort Wayne’s on-campus facility and there were more Indiana fans in the building than Fort Wayne fans – but it was a road game. Tom Crean didn’t have to play this game and he usually doesn’t play games like this, but they make college basketball so much better when they are played in November. So a tip of the cap to you, Tom. I hope this doesn’t change your mind on games like this.

“I want to say here, I appreciate Coach Crean for coming. What he did today was unbelievable,” Fort Wayne head coach Jon Coffman said in the postgame interview while holding his son in his arms in a see of Mastadon fans that stormed the court. “It doesn’t happen in college basketball. Taking the challenge, for him to bring his team to Fort Wayne and help our city, not about our win, but they’ll be talking about Indiana coming to Fort Wayne for the next 50 years. He was the reason they did it. No one else in the country will do that.”

“Right now, he’s thinking this was a bad decision. They’ll have growth from this. I really appreciate him just coming. Win or loss, we won the game before it started.”

2. Fort Wayne is good. They are the favorite to win the Summit League, which is always one of the better mid-major leagues in the country. They’re tough defensively, they’re well-coached and they went into this game expecting to win. So we’ll give them a tip of the cap as well.

As far as the Hoosiers are concerned, this game really shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to Indiana fans if they were paying attention.

Indiana is a team that relies heavily on the three-ball. That’s more or less been the case for every relevant team that Tom Crean has had with the exception of the team that featured Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. When those threes are going down, when this team gets hot, the Hoosiers can do what we saw them do on the season’s opening night. They can beat a team like Kansas, who just about everyone has had pegged as a top three team since Kris Jenkins buried a buzzer-beating three to end the 2015-16 season.

When those threes are going down the way that they went down against Kansas – on Tuesday, Indiana shot 7-for-24 from three – it can mask the warts on a team.

And this Indiana team has warts.

Well, it’s more of a wart, singular: The don’t have a second option offensively when teams can run them off the three-point line. They don’t have a go-to guy. Look at their roster. Who on that team can create their own shot?Who can create an open look for someone else on the floor? Who on that team can Crean give the rock to and say, ‘clear out, he’s got this’? Who is their Yogi Ferrell?

Against Kansas and during the first two weeks of the season, it looked like it would be James Blackmon Jr., but he played terribly against Fort Wayne. There were stretches where it didn’t look like he was able to put the ball on the floor without dribbling off of his feet. He finished with 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting while going 1-for-5 from three and committing three of Indiana’s 14 turnovers.

Robert Johnson couldn’t be that guy on Tuesday. Neither could Josh Newkirk or Juwan Morgan. When Thomas Bryant actually did get the ball in the most he wasn’t able to score either.

It’s a huge problem for the Hoosiers, one that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

Indiana is going to get their fair share of wins this season simply because they have enough dangerous shooters and they are a capable-at-worst defensive team, particularly when Anunoby is healthy.

But without a go-to guy, there aren’t going to be answers when a team is able to bog their offense down.

N.C. State adds grad transfer Sam Hunt

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N.C. State added its fourth transfer this offseason. Like ex-Baylor guard Al Freeman, the latest one is eligible to play next season.

Sam Hunt, a double-digit scorer the past two seasons at North Carolina A&T, officially enrolled at North Carolina State on Monday morning.

“Sam is a great young man and will bring much needed depth to our backcourt,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. “I want guys who are excited about being a part of our program and Sam really wants to be here.

“Sam is a combo guard that can space the floor with his ability to shoot the basketball. He is a good fit for the system and will bring a wealth of experience to our roster.”

Hunt, the 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12.7 points per game last season, a dip from the 15.4 points per game he posted for the Aggies as a redshirt sophomore.

Hunt joins a roster that lost its three leading scorers from a season ago, one that ended 15-17 (4-14 ACC). Dennis Smith Jr. is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Maverick Rowan also pursued a professional career and Terry Henderson was denied an additional year from the NCAA.

The Wolf Pack bring back forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven as well as Torin Dorn.

Keatts, who took over the program after leading UNC Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has already built for the future. UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce, 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Seahawks, has followed him to Raleigh. Utah transfer Devon Daniels committed to the Wolf Pack the same day as Bryce. Both will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Bryce will have two years of eligibility while Daniels will have three.

LaVar Ball stars in an uncomfortably entertaining segment on WWE’s Raw

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LaVar Ball’s statements and antics over this past year always seemed better suited a professional wrestling ring.

It was only natural that the patriarch of the Ball family — and the head of the Big Baller Brand — made an appearance on WWE’s Monday Night Raw at the Staples Center for an awkwardly entertaining segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz.

With sons, Lonzo — in his first appearance in the Staples Center as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers — and LaMelo looking on, LaVar was the center of attention. When The Miz mentioned something about a partnership between the two, the scripted interview went south. It resulted in LaVar saying nonsensical things like, “There’s only two dudes better than me, and I’m both of ’em!” before later taking off his shirt. When Dean Ambrose, a WWE superstar feuding with The Miz came out on to the ramp, LaVar didn’t quite grasp the concept that that was his cue to stop talking.

This segment was somehow entertaining and cringeworthy at the same time.

Now that Lonzo is beginning his NBA career, maybe it’s time LaVar try something different. A manager in the WWE may just be his true calling. He’s certainly had plenty of practice.

Maryland lands commitment from five-star 2018 forward

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Maryland added to its 2018 recruiting class with its second commit, the newest addition being a five-star in-state product.

Jalen Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward from Baltimore powerhouse Mount St. Joseph, committed to the Terrapins, making the announcement on Twitter.

“I believe that I can academically and athletically achieve my goals at home through my commitment to the University of Maryland … Go Terps,” he tweeted as part of a long passage.

Smith is listed as the No. 13 overall recruit in the Class of 2013 by Rivals. He joins four-star swingman Aaron Wiggins in Mark Turgeon’s current recruiting class.

Playing for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game.

Recent grad’s joyride reportedly did $100,000 of damages to Mizzou Arena

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A recent graduate and temporary employee of the University of Missouri took an early morning joy ride that reportedly could rack up around $100,000 to Mizzou Arena.

According to Dave Mater of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nathaniel J. Contant, 23, who graduated from the school in December 2016, drove his Volkswagen Passat through a gate and eventually on to the floor of the 15,000-seat on-campus arena.

At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, MU police were dispatched to Mizzou Arena for a report of property damage. Officers determined that around 4 a.m., the suspect drove his vehicle through a closed gate on the south side of the arena. He ran through a garage door and drove into a dock area where he damaged several golf carts that were stored in the area. He also drove his car onto the basketball court. The man couldn’t leave through the area he used to enter the building, so he drove through the arena’s press gate.

Contant, unsurprisingly, is no longer an employee of the university. He’s being charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage, both of which are felonies. He was released on a $4,500 bond.

The motive for this early-morning joyride remains unclear.

Despite the hype surrounding the upcoming Mizzou season — one that includes the debut of new head coach Cuonzo Martin and the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter, Jr. — Twitter users couldn’t help but poke fun at the dismal recent history the Tigers have had.

(h/t Kansas City Star)

Vance Jackson transfers to New Mexico

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With more than a handful of departures this offseason, New Mexico is set to have a new-look roster for the 2017-18 season. On Monday, Paul Weir, now at the helm of the program, landed a player who should make an impact in the three remaining seasons of eligibility he has left.

Vance Jackson, who spent this past season at UConn, decided to make the move from Storrs to Albuquerque, picking the Lobos over Rutgers, San Diego State, TCU, and Washington.

The 6-foot-8 rising sophomore will have to sit out next year due to NCAA transfer rules before resuming his collegiate career in the fall of 2018.

“The coaches — they trust in me,” Jackson told Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal last month during his official campus visit. “We’re on the same page. They see a vision.”

Weir, who led New Mexico State this past season to a NCAA Tournament appearance in his one and only season as head coach, succeeded Craig Neal in April.

This offseason has been headlined by transfers, though, those mostly were about players leaving the program. Jackson is the second transfer to land at UNM with Akron’s Antino Jackson electing to use his final season of eligibility with the Lobos. Antino Jackson is a graduate transfer, allowing him to play immediately next season.

Vance Jackson, who was rated as the No. 80 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting just under 40 percent from three for the Huskies as a freshman.