Nevada beats Colorado State 79-71 for Mountain West crown

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Jordan Caroline had 23 points and 10 rebounds as Nevada beat Colorado State 79-71 on Saturday in the Mountain West Conference championship game to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth in 11 years.

The top-seeded Wolf Pack (28-6) claimed the league’s automatic bid for their first trip to the NCAAs since winning the 2006 Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

After squandering a 16-point lead and allowing the Rams to tie the game midway through the second half, Nevada used an 11-3 run during a five-minute stretch to build another cushion while No. 2 seed Colorado State (23-11) missed eight consecutive field goal attempts.

The Rams pulled to 66-65 when J.D. Paige hit a 3-pointer with 2:32 left, but they never managed to tie the score again.

Marcus Marshall added 21 points and was 12 of 15 from the free throw line down the stretch for Nevada, which went to the line 35 times to 11 for Colorado State.

Gian Clavell scored 30 points for Colorado State, which was seeking its first Mountain West title since 2003. Prentiss Nixon added 23 points, and Emmanuel Omogbo had 10.

It marked the eighth time the top two seeds met for the Mountain West title. The second seed won the previous seven matchups.

BIG PICTURE

Colorado State: Clavell surpassed 1,000 career points. He came into the game needing 11 to reach the milestone.

Nevada: After struggling through their worst first half of the season, scoring a mere 21 points on 23 percent shooting in a semifinal win over Fresno State, the Wolf Pack have shot 42 of 79 (53 percent) from the field, including 15 of 47 (41 percent) from 3-point range, in their last three halves of basketball.

UP NEXT

Colorado State: The Rams might be on the bubble to make the NCAA Tournament. If they don’t, they could receive an NIT bid.

Nevada: Will find out Sunday where it is headed in the NCAA Tournament.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

(YouTube)
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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.