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Ennis scores 18 as No. 23 Oregon rallies past Boise St. 68-63

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EUGENE, Ore. — Growing pains are nothing new for the oldest veteran on Oregon’s roster, who may have finally found his comfort zone.

After missing most of the Ducks’ run to the Elite Eight last season because of a foot injury, sixth-year senior Dylan Ennis, a graduate transfer from Villanova, is still getting acclimated to his teammates.

Ennis scored 18 points and No. 23 Oregon rallied for a 68-63 victory over Boise State on Monday night.

Tyler Dorsey added 17 points for the Ducks (5-2), who came back from 14 down in the first half to win their 28th consecutive home game.

A 3-pointer by Ennis with 3:30 to play put Oregon ahead for the first time since early in the game.

“He probably played as well as anybody we had,” coach Dana Altman said.

Ennis also made nine of 10 free throws and had six rebounds in his best all-around game with the Ducks, but he was particularly pleased with his lone 3 when Oregon needed it most.

“That was one that was in rhythm and it just went down,” Ennis said. “I haven’t played with these guys at all. We’re still meshing in and we’re going to get it.

“Last year we had a few growing pains and at the end of the year we got it right, and that can happen this year as well.”

After Dorsey’s free throw gave Oregon a 66-63 lead, the Broncos (3-3) had a chance for a tying shot, but Paris Austin lost possession on a baseline drive with 5 seconds left. Dillon Brooks sealed the win with two free throws.

Brooks, a preseason All-America selection, had five points and shot 1 of 9 in 21 minutes off the bench in his fourth game back from offseason foot surgery.

“He had a bad game,” Altman said. “He was trying too hard, going way too fast.”

Austin led Boise State with 16 points. Nick Duncan added 15 on five of the Broncos’ 11 3-pointers.

Altman thought his team was lucky to come back after Boise State built its big lead from beyond the arc.

“When a team hits more than 10 3s, you’re fortunate to win playing as poorly as we did,” he said.

The Ducks finished with 10 blocks and a 39-32 rebounding edge. Chris Boucher led the way with five blocks and eight rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Boise State: The Broncos missed a shot at their fourth road win against a Top 25 opponent and third under seventh-year coach Leon Rice. Boise State beat unranked Oregon 74-72 last year in Boise.

Oregon: The Ducks won’t leave the state for their next eight games to finish 2016, capped by visits from No. 11 UCLA and USC in late December to start Pac-12 play.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Oregon, which has dropped 19 spots since reaching a school-best AP ranking of No. 4 two weeks ago, should bounce back in the poll with six more games against unranked teams to finish its nonconference schedule.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Boise State had nine steals to Oregon’s three, a 15-9 edge in second-chance points and played the Ducks even on points in the paint at 20-20 – all of which left Altman shaking his head. “We got beat in every category,” he said.

ROLE PLAYER

Junior point guard Casey Benson, who is adapting to coming off the bench after starting the first four games and leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio last season, hit consecutive 3-pointers in the second half that helped spark Oregon’s comeback. “Those were two big shots,” Altman said. “We were stuck in the mud and couldn’t get anything going.”

UP NEXT

Boise State hosts SMU on Wednesday night before traveling to play Evansville as part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge on Saturday.

Oregon hosts Western Oregon, which reached the NCAA Division II Final Four last year, on Wednesday night and then Savannah State on Saturday to continue a five-game homestand.

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.