Daniel Martin

James Kinney

San Jose State leading scorer James Kinney suspended for season

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San Jose State senior guard James Kinney has already been forced to sit eight straight games, but now has been suspended for the remainder of the 2012-13 season, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting.

Kinney, who had been averaging 20.6 points per game before his suspension, would be one of the nation’s Top 15 scorers if he had played enough games to qualify. Since he has been out, San Jose State has lost eight straight games and fallen from 3-1 in WAC play, its best start ever as a member of the conference, to 3-9.

According to the report, it is likely related to academics.

“It’s affected our team in powerful ways,” SJSU coach George Nessman told the paper. “When you have a player who’s an elite scorer, the game gets easier for everybody else. And now the game’s harder on everybody else.

“Coaches are fond of saying, ‘I’m going to coach the guys I have,’ and that’s what I’m doing. I have no choice. But you can’t ignore the elephant in the room. It’s obvious. It doesn’t take much for people to look and say, ‘Hmm, when did they start struggling?’ ”

The Spartans managed just 36 points Friday night in a 27-point loss to Utah State.

“During a college basketball season, there’s always going to be ups and downs, and it’s really about how you respond to adversity,” junior forward Chris Cunningham told the paper after the game. “Up to this point, we haven’t responded very well.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Pregame Shootaround 2.9.13: Peyton Siva, Russ Smith meet tough Notre Dame backcourt in South Bend

Russ Smith Peyton Siva
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Game of the Day: No. 11 Louisville vs. No. 25 Notre Dame (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Louisville has won three straight games after losing three in a row as part of a bad stretch in late January. In hand with that turnaround has been Peyton Siva reemerging after struggling during the Cardinals’ losing streak. Since Pitino’s team has bounced back, Siva has affected the game either by scoring or working for others, including a 10-assist game in a win over Pitt and a 14-point game in a win over Marquette.

That Siva/Russ Smith backcourt meets its match Saturday against Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant, two guards who average over 20 points and 10 assists between them. On the interior, Louisville will  need to contain Big East Player of the Year candidate Jack Cooley, who has had a double-double in five of his last six games.

Who’s Getting Upset?: Dayton (-4) vs. Temple (11:00 a.m. ET, ESPNU)

Dayton has the advantage of being at home, but we the viewing audience will have the treat of a solid point guard matchup for brunch Saturday. Khalif Wyatt vs. Kevin Dillard is one of the better ones to follow not just among mid-majors, but in the country. Wyatt has had a flair for the dramatic this season, having put together stellar outings in a win over Syracuse and nearly pulling off an upset of Kansas.

Dillard, too, has had his moments. His 23 points against St. Joe’s lifted the Flyers to a key 60-54 win just this past Wednesday. Who would I take? It’s close, but I’ll take Wyatt and the Owls in the upset.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: No. 15 New Mexico vs. UNLV (9:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network)

The best non-BCS matchups somehow always happen to be in the Mountain West. We are gifted with another gem Saturday. The Lobos have bounced back with three straight wins after an embarrassing loss to San Diego State on Jan. 26. The three-point ball has been key in New Mexico’s last two wins and they will likely highlight that again Saturday.

For UNLV, they will need to look to Anthony Bennett, their talented Freshman of the Year candidate. If he gets into foul trouble, it could spell trouble for the Rebels. A loss to New Mexico on Jan. 9 saw Bennett score just 10 points and pick up four fouls. No Bennett likely means no key conference win for coach Dave Rice’s team.

Five Things to Watch For

1) Coming off perhaps the biggest upset loss of the season, No. 5 Kansas needs to turn things around–and fast. There are legitimate concerns about how the Jayhawks will handle their lack of a true, reliable point guard. Does that mean freshman Ben McLemore shifts it into another gear? Does it mean center Jeff Withey steps it up on both ends of the floor? We’ll see Saturday when Kansas meets Oklahoma.

2) Jim Larranaga is a real contender for National Coach of the Year. The Hurricanes are rolling and undefeated in ACC play. After North Carolina on Saturday, there is only a matchup with Duke remaining where they likely won’t be favored. Otherwise, this is beginning to look like Miami’s conference for the taking.

3) No. 19 Oregon has been without freshman point guard Dominic Artis as he sits with a foot injury. In that span, the Ducks are 1-3 and have struggled to control turnovers. There is reportedly no definitive timeline for his return, meaning he likely won’t be in the lineup when Dana Altman’s team meets Utah Saturday.

4) National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott was held to just eight points in Creighton’s loss to Indiana State on Wednesday. With that loss, the Bluejays fell to within one game of Wichita State and Indiana State in the Missouri Valley race. McDermott & Co. has a chance to get back on track Saturday vs. Illinois State.

5) Speaking of the Missouri Valley, Wichita State, a team that once climbed as high as No. 15 in the national polls, is on a bad losing skid in Missouri Valley play. The Shockers have lost three in a row and need Carl Hall and Cleanthony Early to step up as the scoring threats that they are in WSU wants to regain traction atop a crowded MVC. They take on Missouri State on Saturday.

The Top 25

No. 2 Florida vs. Mississippi State (5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

No. 3 Michigan vs. Wisconsin (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 5 Kansas vs. Oklahoma (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 6 Gonzaga vs. Loyola Marymount (8:00 p.m. ET, ROOT Sports)

No. 8 Miami vs. North Carolina (2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 11 Louisville vs. No. 25 Notre Dame (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 12 Michigan State vs. Purdue (7:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

No. 13 Kansas State vs. Iowa State (6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

No. 14 Butler vs. George Washington (2:00 p.m. ET)

No. 15 New Mexico vs. UNLV (9:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network)

No. 16 Creighton vs. Illinois State (10:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

No. 17 Cincinnati vs. No. 23 Pittsburgh (6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 19 Oregon vs. Utah (8:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)

No. 20 Georgetown vs. Rutgers (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

No. 21 Missouri vs. Ole Miss (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 22 Oklahoma State vs. Texas (1:45 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

No. 24 Marquette vs. DePaul (2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Other Notable Games

Temple vs. Dayton (11:00 a.m. ET, ESPNU)

Akron vs. Miami (OH) (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

St. Joseph’s vs. UMass (2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Auburn vs. Kentucky (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Stanford vs. Arizona State (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Virginia Commonwealth vs. Charlotte (7:00 p.m. ET)

Wichita State vs. Missouri State (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Wyoming vs. Boise State (8:00 p.m. ET)

Washington State vs. UCLA (10:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)

Saint Mary’s vs. San Diego (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Late Night Snacks: Chase Tapley caps night with last-second shot to beat Boise State (VIDEO)

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Tapley beats Boise

Game of the Day: Wisconsin 74, Iowa 70 (2OT)

Four Badgers scored in double figures, as Iowa dropped another close game to a quality Big Ten opponent. Wisconsin trailed by three, 58-55, with 0:21 to go, but a clutch three-pointer from Traevon Jackson tied the game and sent it into overtime. In the first extra period, the teams scored just one field goal between them, but Jackson came through again with two free throws to tie the game at 62 and force a second overtime.

That’s when the offenses finally opened up.

Important Outcomes 

1. TCU 62, No. 5 Kansas 55

TCU, a winless 0-8 team in Big 12 play, somehow almost inexplicably took it to the nation’s No. 5 team. But how? The Jayhawks shot an awful 29.5 percent from the floor and had just 13 points at halftime. Kansas’ need for a point guard was prominently on display, as Naadir Tharpe and Elijah Johnson shot a combined 5-of-27 from the floor. If there were ever a more appropriate time for a team’s fanbase to storm the floor, it was Wednesday night at TCU.

2. No. 7 Arizona 73, Stanford 66 

Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons were the keys to an Arizona victory, combining for close to 66 percent of the Wildcats’ offensive output Wednesday night. Without the senior leadership of those two, we would likely be talking about a streaking Stanford team with an impressive road upset. But it was not to be.

3. No. 12 Michigan State 61, N0. 18 Minnesota 50

Without much production from its interior presences until the final minutes, guards Gary Harris and Keith Appling needed to carry Michigan State. Appling injured his shoulder late, but he returned to the bench. With an already thin backcourt, Izzo and the Spartans will hope that Appling does not miss any time.

Starred

1. Mark Lyons, Arizona (25 points, 6 assists)

With Aaron Bright putting up big numbers for Stanford Wednesday night, Arizona needed a counter. Alongside Solomon Hill, who also had a big night, Lyons produced when the Wildcats needed it. He was key to a second-half run that gave Arizona its first lead of the night and he helped to seal the deal in the end.

2. Jared Berggren (16 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks)

Wisconsin needed everything it got from Berggren to fend off a pesky Iowa team in double overtime. His eight offensive rebounds helped the Badgers to get second-chance points. Bo Ryan’s team is now 7-3 in a tough Big Ten.

3. Shayne Whittington, Western Michigan (21 points, 13 rebounds) 

As always, it’s important to recognize a big game from a mid-major player. Wednesday night, it was Whittington, whose double-double helped Western Michigan to a win over Kent State.

Also of Note: Devon Moore, James Madison (17 points, 12 assists, 2 TOs) | Dwight Powell, Stanford (24 points, 10 rebounds)

Struggled 

1. Kansas (30% FG, 14% 3pt FG, 29 PF, Loss to TCU team that was previously 0-8 in Big 12 play)

It was a combination of problems that led to Kansas’s loss to TCU, but poor offensive flow was one of the worst. The Jayhawks started 1-of-17 from the floor and never found their groove.

2. Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa (2 points, 1-of-10 FG)

The junior averages over 13 points per game, but was only able to muster two in the Hawkeyes double-overtime loss to Wisconsin. His team did not shoot well either, going just 25-of-74 from the floor. 

3. Doug McDermott, Creighton (8 points, 3-of-10 FG)

McDermott was contained for the most part Wednesday night, leading to an Indiana State blowout victory. The National Player of the Year candidate is the engine of the Creighton offense and without him producing, it was a bad night for the Bluejays.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Toledo’s Nathan Boothe downs Miami (OH) with buzzer-beating three (VIDEO)

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Toledo freshman Nathan Boothe had 13 points Wednesday night, but none were bigger than the three that gave his team the 65-64 victory over Miami (OH).

The Rockets trailed by two with 1.4 seconds remaining and had an in-bounds from under their own basket. Boothe caught a defender stepping in the wrong direction and flashed out to the left wing. The rest, they say, is history.

Oh, by the way, Boothe had been 0-of-4 from three-point range on the season before this shot. Watch below:

Video via Toledo Men’s Basketball

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Solomon Hill, Mark Lyons help No. 7 Arizona outlast Stanford

Mark Lyons Solomon Hill
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For a team that has so much youth in its regular rotation, it was Arizona’s two seniors who powered the Wildcats to a win over an upstart Stanford team Wednesday night.

Mark Lyons scored a season-high 25 points and Solomon Hill had 23, the two accounting for nearly 66 percent of Arizona’s overall offensive output in a 73-66 win at McKale Center in Tuscon, Ariz.

Hill played the last four minutes of regulation with four fouls, but avoided fouling out. His emphatic dunk with 1:08 to play to all but put the final nail in Stanford’s coffin.

The Cardinal did not go down without a fight, though.

Stanford used the same energy it had found in its previous two games to jump out to a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes Wednesday night.

Guard Aaron Bright was hot both off the dribble and from three-point range, scoring seven of those first ten for the Cardinal. His dribble penetration opened up perimeter opportunities for teammates all night and Bright finished with 16 points.

A key matchup coming into Wednesday night’s game is how reigining Pac-12 Player of the Week Josh Huestis and versatile junior Dwight Powell would fare against the young but talented Arizona front line of Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley.

Tarczewski and Ashley combined for six points on just 2-of-9 shooting from the floor, while Huestis finished with his fifth double-double of the season, 10 points and 10 rebounds. Powell was the Cardinal’s most effective offensive option, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Without that offensive help from the Arizona front line, more weight fell on the shoulders of the veteran guard Lyons, who responded as he often has in Pac-12 play. He did his best to counter Bright’s hot shooting from the outside with 9-of-13 shooting from the floor.

With 15:39 to play, a Bright three-pointer pushed the Stanford lead to three, 37-34. On the next possession, a Lyons assist led to an Ashley. The Xavier transfer then followed that up with a layup that gave Arizona its first lead of the game, 38-37, with 14:35 to play.

Dwight Powell’s athleticism and versatility became important for the Cardinal through the middle of the second half. Stanford went to him on four of five straight possessions, attacking Ashley and forcing him to foul out with 6:40 to go.

Solomon Hill became Arizona’s most effective scorer in the latter half of the second, scoring five straight points to tie the game at 54 with 4:44 to play.

Angelo Chol competed in the paint to grab eight rebounds and add six points.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Indiana State blows out No. 16 Creighton, tied for 2nd in Missouri Valley

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Welcome to the wild Missouri Valley.

One day after a Southern Illinois team that had previously been 1-10 in conference play beat Wichita State, Indiana State dominated No. 16 Creighton, on its way to a 76-57 victory Wednesday night at Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Ind.

Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott, the center of the Creighton offense all season, struggled to shoot just 3-of-10 from the floor and had just eight points. It was only the second time all season that he failed to score double figures and was a long way off from his 24 points per game average on the year.

Without McDermott as a major factor, the only Creighton player able to find his rhythm was center Will Artino, who was 5-of-5 from the floor for 13 points.

Indiana State, on the other hand, centered its offense around a scoring trio of Jake Odum, Manny Arop, and R.J. Mahurin. Odum led the way with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor, while Mahurin had 17 and Arop added 13. That trio, in hand with just four team turnovers, spelled trouble for Creighton.

The win moves Indiana State to 8-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference, tying the Sycamores with a sliding Wichita State team that has won three games in a row. They meet the Shockers on Feb. 19 at home.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_