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Oklahoma State knocks off UConn 98-90 at Maui Invitational

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LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) Oklahoma State’s relentless pressure caused havoc against lesser opponents through the first three games.

It worked just as well in the Cowboys’ first true test this season.

Jawun Evans had 35 points and five of Oklahoma State’s 18 steals, lifting the Cowboys to a 98-90 win over Connecticut Monday night in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.

“I love the fact we had 18 steals. That’s a great number,” Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood said. “That means we’re being active and bothersome now.”

Oklahoma State (4-0) jumped on the Huskies from the opening tip, turning one steal after another into points in transition. The Cowboys hit five 3-pointers during an opening 18-3 run and finished 12 for 20 from the arc.

Jeffrey Carroll and Phil Forte had 18 points each, helping Oklahoma State move on to the second round against No. 4 North Carolina or Chaminade.

Evans also had six assists, four rebounds and one turnover.

“These two guys are awfully hard to guard and that’s a great weapon,” Underwood said of Evans and Forte.

UConn (1-3) struggled with Oklahoma State’s constant pressure, turning it over 18 times. Jalen Adams had the most trouble with the Cowboys’ defense, turning it over six times in the opening five minutes and 10 overall.

Adams finished with 34 points, six rebounds and six assists. Rodney Purvis added 20 points.

The Huskies lost sophomore forward Terry Larrier to a left leg injury in the first half.

“I just love my kids’ effort. They tried to get back in the game,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “I think we cut it to four, but it was just a little bit too late. And we just have to start off a little stronger and we’ve got to take care of the ball a little bit more.”

The Cowboys used their relentless pressure and ability to score in transition to average 107 points their first three games. Those came against lesser opponents, so Maui represented their first true test.

Oklahoma State was at its harassing best against UConn early, forcing Huskies guard Jalen Adams to turn it over six times in the opening five minutes. The Cowboys turned many of those into transition 3-pointers, hitting 5 of 8 while opening with an 18-3 run.

The Huskies held their ground for the rest of the half, though it did little good. Oklahoma State led 40-26 at halftime behind Evans’ 16 points.

UConn finally started to get a handle on Oklahoma State’s pressure and got some defensive stops, trimming the Cowboys’ lead to seven with about five minutes left.

The Huskies hit a pair of late 3-pointers, but Evans finished them off by hitting three free throws in the final 29 seconds.

“We definitely can build off of it,” Purivs said. “Our main thing is we just got to get off to a good start and take care of the basketball.”

LARRIER’S INJURY

Larrier was expected to be a big contributor this season after transferring from Virginia Commonwealth. He went down after being stripped of the ball, slapping the floor and screaming as trainers rushed out to him.

Larrier was unable to put any weight on his left leg and stopped by to offer his teammates encouragement after being helped to the locker room.

He left the arena on crutches and a heavy brace on his left leg.

“I know it’s a knee injury, but we don’t know the significance of it yet,” Ollie said.

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma State’s pressure defense withstood its first real test after beating three overmatched opponents and the Cowboys knocked down their 3s, something that will be key this season for them.

The Huskies allowed themselves to get sped up by the Cowboys while falling into a big early hole and now face the possibility of playing without Larrier for an extended period.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma State moves on the face the winner between No. 4 North Carolina and host Chaminade in Tuesday’s second round

UConn plays the North Carolina-Chaminade loser.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

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.”