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Josh Jackson’s monster game leads No. 3 Kansas past Texas Tech

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Freshman Josh Jackson took over after senior Frank Mason fouled out as No. 3 Kansas held off Texas Tech, 80-79, for a Big 12 road win.

Jackson took an isolation and was fouled with 2.8 seconds left, making the game-winning free throw and finishing with a career-high 31 points. The freshman also added 12 rebounds and four assists, going 12-for-15 from the field.

Jackson took over the game down the stretch and willed Kansas to a road win when Mason only played 26 minutes and was held to 12 points. It was the type of performance that could be talked about on draft night because Jackson put together one of the most complete efforts we’re going to see all season. He looked completely in rhythm offensively and didn’t force anything as he was ruthlessly efficient and calm throughout a tense game.

Even after Mason fouled out, Jackson took over and scored multiple buckets and that has to give head coach Bill Self a lot of confidence this late in the season. It means that Kansas doesn’t need to rely solely on Mason to help win close games and it appears Jackson could be turning a corner heading into a monster final stretch.

This type of game is the reason many ranked Jackson near No. 1 in this loaded Class of 2016. He was that good on Saturday.

Landen Lucas also added 13 points and four rebounds for the Jayhawks while LaGerald Vick gave some solid minutes of the bench to finish with nine points. Vick played more crunch-time minutes as a defensive presence and he could also be counted on more down the stretch in close games if he plays like this.

The win also keeps Kansas (22-3, 10-2) in first place in the Big 12 standings after Baylor won earlier in the day over TCU.

Texas Tech (16-9, 4-8) went with the Iowa State approach of having three players have big games but the ultimately fell short against the Jayhawks. Keenan Evans (25 points), Niem Stevenson (22 points) and Zach Smith (21 points) all had solid outings for the Red Raiders but the rest of the roster only contributed 11 points. You do get the feeling, however, that Kansas might have been in trouble if this game went to overtime but Texas Tech never got that chance.

This was a crucial opportunity for Texas Tech to land a signature win over a top-five opponent but they fell short. Head coach Chris Beard will have to get his team together for another win that could put them in the tournament. The Red Raiders certainly looked like a NCAA tournament team and that was including off-nights from much of the roster besides the three 20-point scorers.

Texas Tech has back-to-back games against Baylor and West Virginia after this, so they’ll get more shots to win big games to help their postseason status.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.