Rob Dauster

HONOLULU, HI - NOVEMBER 11: James Blackmon Jr. #1 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots over a Kansas defender during the second half of the second game of the Armed Forces Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center on November 11, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Indiana won the game 103-99. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Indiana’s James Blackmon

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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: James Blackmon Jr., Indiana

Indiana’s opening-night win over Kansas was impressive for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the Hoosiers landed a win over a team that seems like it is a lock to eventually earn, at worst, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. What was more important, however, was that the Hoosiers proved that they have guys that can create offense on their own. That was the concern after Yogi Ferrell graduated: When this Indiana team has a late-clock situation or a possession where they have to get a bucket, who do they give the ball to?

The answer now appears to be Blackmon, who finished with 26 points while making a series of tough threes in the second half. While the Hoosiers had other players make big shots – Curtis Jones in particular – it was Blackmon who had the plays called for him, and he delivered. That’s a great sign for the Hoosiers, and it’s the biggest reason that I think Indiana is a better team than we gave them credit for entering the year.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Joel Berry II, UNC: Berry looked the part of an elite floor general in wins over Tulane and Chattanooga, averaged 20.5 points, 5.0 boards and 4.5 assists. The Tar Heels beat a good Mocs by 40.
  • Frank Mason III, Kansas: Mason’s Jayhawks could hang on to beat Indiana, but he had 30 points nonetheless and seemingly fouled out their entire team.
  • Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s: Landale had 33 points and nine boards for the Gaels in a blowout win over Nevada and Cam Oliver, a big man who has a shot to end up in the NBA.
  • Caleb Swanigan, Purdue: Granted, it came against McNeese State, but Swangian’s line – 23 points, 20 boards, six assists – has only been done by Blake Griffin and Ben Simmons in the last decade.
  • Angel Delgado, Seton Hall: Delgado is averaging 18.0 points and 15.0 boards through the season’s first two games.
HONOLULU, HI - NOVEMBER 11: Kadeem Allen #5 of the Arizona Wildcats dribbles the ball up court during the first half of the Armed Forces Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center on November 11, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
Kadeem Allen (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Arizona Wildcats

It’s hard not to go with the Wildcats here, who went out to Hawai’i for the Armed Forces Classic having lost Ray Smith to yet another torn ACL and playing, as of now, without Allonzo Trier, and beat Michigan State. And not only did they beat Michigan State, but they did it after digging themselves a 15-point whole early in the first half.

Kobi Simmons caught fire. Lauri Markkanen looked like a functional stretch four. Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Kadeem Allen both made critical plays down the stretch. There was not much more that you could ask of a team in that situation.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Indiana: The Hoosiers picked up an overtime win over Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic. That’s the kind of win that is going to look great come Selection Sunday.
  • UNC: The Tar Heels didn’t just win two games in impressive fashion, they did it by beating Tulane in New Orleans and smacking Chattanooga – who had just won by 13 at Tennessee – by 40 points in Chapel Hill.
  • Wagner: The Seahawks went into Storrs and beat UConn, 67-58. The Huskies look like they’re in trouble this year, but a win in Gampel Pavilion in any year is a good win.
  • Yale: The Elis picked up a 98-90 win over Washington in Seattle on Sunday night. More impressive than that, they did it without their two best players in Makai Mason and Jordan Bruner.

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WHAT DID WE LEARN?

  1. Kentucky’s shooting issues are real: The Wildcats were 9-for-34 (26.5%) from three in two wins this weekend, and three of the threes that they made came from Mychal Mulder, who is not going to see a lot of action this season. Outside of the jump-shooting, the trio of Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were pretty impressive. But if they cannot find a way to consistently make defenses pay for packing it in the paint, the Wildcats are going to have the same fatal flaw as the 2010 Kentucky team.
  2. Dennis Smith Jr.’s slow-start: The N.C. State point guard and potential top five pick has yet to look the part. He averaged 11.5 points and 4.0 assists while shooting 6-for-22 from the floor and 0-for-7 from three. N.C. State nearly lost to Georgia Southern on Friday night as well. Smith is coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered last August, but this didn’t appear to be a rust issue. This looked more like a freshman adjusting to the rigors of Division I basketball.
  3. Frank Jackson might be pretty good: With Duke’s big three out with injury, Jackson, the forgotten freshman, was terrific in two blowout wins for the Blue Devils. Coming off of the bench, Jackson averaged 19.5 points and shot 50 percent from three. There were questions in the fall whether he would be able to handle the point guard spot in college, and while those questions are still relevant – he had six assists and five turnovers this weekend – it looks like Jackson is going to be an impact player this season.
  4. So are the Syracuse point guards good?: That was the big question with the Orange entering the season. Can Franklin Howard and John Gillon handle being full-time point guards? Against Colgate, it looked like they can. The duo combined for 15 assists and just three turnovers. Granted, that didn’t come against a great team, but it is a good sign for the Orange.
  5. UCLA and Lonzo Ball look like the real deal: It’s too early to make any definitive statements on the Bruins at this point, but it’s not too early to say that they were pretty impressive in the season’s first weekend. The Bruins knocked off Pacific and CSUN while Lonzo Ball is making those Jason Kidd comparisons seem apt.

SET YOUR DVR

  • Mon. 7:00 p.m. No. 4 Villanova at No. 15 Purdue
  • Mon. 7:00 p.m. San Diego State at No. 14 Gonzaga
  • Tue. 7:00 p.m. No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Michigan State
  • Tue. 9:30 p.m. No. 1 Duke vs. No. 3 Kansas
  • Thu. 9:00 p.m. Valparaiso at No. 5 Oregon
  • Sat. 2:00 p.m. No. 17 Saint Mary’s at Dayton

No. 16 UCLA blows past Cal State Northridge in 2nd half

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins scores on a layup during a 119-80 UCLA win over the Pacific Tigers at Pauley Pavilion on November 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA sustained several blows in the first half against Cal State Northridge, then delivered a knockout punch in the second half.

That’s the way UCLA coach Steve Alford saw it as a poor first half, muddied by turnovers and missed shots, had the Bruins trailing at halftime. The No. 16 Bruins scored 62 second-half points and struck first, early and often as they dominated Cal State Northridge 102-87 on Sunday night.

Freshman Lonzo Ball made a 3-pointer and went coast-to-coast with a one-handed dunk to start a span of seven consecutive points by UCLA. The Bruins took a 47-42 lead.

“How he started the second (half), he was a heavyweight fighter ready to knock you out,” Alford said. “How we started the first half, we wanted to rope-a-dope. We don’t have anybody in our locker room that’s Muhammad Ali. They don’t understand the rope-a-dope. They’re too young. We wanted to come out throwing punches first and early and I didn’t think we did that. It’s not necessarily their fault. It’s a learning process.”

Isaac Hamilton had 22 points, and Bryce Alford 20.

The Bruins had 20 turnovers, which was troubling, but used an improved second-half shot selection and made 58.8 percent of their shots compared to just 39.4 percent in the first half.

“They came in with a chip on their shoulders,” Hamilton said. “Being ranked, a lot of teams will do that and play hard. What we have to do, and Coach says, first five minutes, you have to throw the first punch and continue from there and let the momentum swing our way.”

UCLA (2-0) had 11 turnovers in first half, shot 39.4 percent from the field and trailed 42-40.

Kendall Smith scored 21 points for the Matadors (1-1). Aaron Parks and Tavrion Dawson each added 18 points.

“I told the guys, if you believe in yourself and we can play this hard every night and push the ball with this type of energy, we’re going to win a lot of basketball games,” Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus said. “The hard thing about nonconference games, and we have a really tough nonconference schedule, is that you can play well and still lose. This game was probably won in a matter of 5-8 minutes where it got out of hand for us.”

Cal State Northridge has beaten UCLA just one time in the 10-game series history, but in the game’s first 20 minutes it appeared the Matadors could do it again. The Matadors beat the Bruins 78-74 in Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 22, 2000, almost 16 years ago. CSUN would go on to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history that season.

BIG PICTURE

Cal State Northridge: This is just what Theus – the former NBA player and coach – wanted in terms of a test by scheduling difficult preseason road games. Playing difficult opponents should serve the Matadors well in terms of confidence and better prepare them to try to contend for a Big West Conference title.

UCLA: The Bruins took a step backward in struggling against the Matadors for 20 minutes. Their undisciplined play resulted in turnovers and those mistakes must be cleaned up before the Pac-12 schedule starts. The Bruins executed much better offensively in the second half and made the right adjustments.

SUCCESSFUL TRANSFER

CSUN Guard Kendall Smith, a transfer from UNLV, played well against the Bruins and had 12 of his 21 points in the second half. Smith, who is in his second season with CSUN but first full season, had several fastbreak, uncontested dunks, including two in the first half that propelled CS Northridge to the halftime lead.

QUOTABLE

“That’s the mindset we’ve got to have. I don’t know if … any of our other guys had that mindset to start the game. That’s kind of the mindset you learn. You’re not going to go from one game to the next and score 119 points again and win by close to 40. It doesn’t work that way. These are all learning things. We’ll get it.” – Alford on how the Bruins went from a 39-point win in their first game to trailing at halftime in their second.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

UCLA didn’t do itself any favors by trailing at halftime against Cal State Northridge, but the Bruins pulled away in the second half and shouldn’t lose any ground with a 15-point victory.

UP NEXT

Cal State Northridge continues its tough preseason schedule with a second consecutive road game at a Pac-12 school on Tuesday night at Stanford.

UCLA has several days off before hosting San Diego on Thursday, the third of four consecutive home games in a friendly stretch at Pauley Pavilion to start the season.

Backcourt helps No. 2 Kentucky run away from Canisius, 93-69

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 13: Malik Monk #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against Kiefer Douse #4 of the Canisius Golden Griffins at Rupp Arena Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated Canisius 93-69. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Isaiah Briscoe expected all those NBA workouts focused on improving his game to pay off with efforts like this.

Judging from how newcomer De’Aaron Fox shook off a rough start, Briscoe picked up some leadership pointers as well.

Briscoe and Fox each scored a career-high 21 points, Malik Monk added 16 and No. 2 Kentucky pulled away from Canisius early in the second half for a 93-69 victory Sunday night.

Briscoe topped his previous high of 20 last December at UCLA behind 9-of-13 shooting that helped Kentucky (2-0) rally from a seven-point first half deficit to build a 44-35 halftime advantage.

“I was just doing whatever I needed to do to keep my team in the game,” said Briscoe, who attended those camps before returning for his sophomore season. “We came out sluggish, we weren’t hitting shots, so I had to keep us in the game.”

Freshmen and fellow guards Fox and Monk combined to shoot 11 of 24 en route to career scoring bests in their short careers, while 6-foot-10 newcomer Bam Adebayo had 14 points and 11 rebounds a game after a foul-plagued debut Friday night.

Those contributions came only after the Wildcats endured some early struggles. A 9-2 deficit forced Kentucky coach John Calipari to call timeout and calm his team down.

“When you’re playing so many young guys, sometimes you just have to settle them down,” he said.

Briscoe spoke up as well, and the Wildcats responded with steady play that spoke volumes.

“We’ve had to face that adversity since we’ve been here,” Fox said, “but he’s done that in a few games last year. We all just listened to what he was saying.”

Kentucky shot 51 percent from the field.

Kassius Robertson had 16 points, Jermaine Crumpton 13 and Phil Valenti 12 for Canisius (0-1) in the coaching debut of Reggie Witherspoon. The Golden Griffins initially pushed the pace and had Kentucky reacting but had no long-term answer for the Wildcats’ pace and backcourt.

THE BIG PICTURE

Canisius: Solid shooting initially helped the Golden Griffins, who made 46 percent in the first half and played Kentucky nearly even on the boards (39-36). But they committed 18 turnovers leading to 29 Kentucky points and cooled off to 37 percent shooting after the break and finished 42 percent overall.

“I thought it was a fast-paced game, probably a little faster than our depth handled tonight,” Witherspoon said. “We were able to move the ball and get some good looks, but a team like this (Kentucky) recovers quickly and sometimes a good look can still be difficult. We had pockets where we played well, but weren’t able to sustain it.”

Kentucky: The Wildcats also shot a respectable 46 percent in the first half behind Briscoe’s 7-of-8 performance and had some nice ball movement between the guards down the stretch. They were less generous with the ball compared to the opener, finishing with just 10 assists on 31 baskets.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Next week might provide a definitive answer as Kentucky steps up the competition Tuesday night against No. 12 Michigan State at the Champions Classic in New York.

BAM’S BOUNCE-BACK

Adebayo had plenty of room to grow from a five-point, one-rebound debut limited to just 15 minutes by four fouls. The freshman committed just two fouls against Canisius and earned initial career bests with points, rebounds and 27 minutes.

“I just wasn’t as focused as much as I should have, and tonight I just started focusing,” he said.

UP NEXT

Canisius: Visits Cleveland State on Tuesday night in the second game of the Bluegrass Showcase, an event that also features Duquesne, Cleveland State and UT Martin playing games at campus sites.

Kentucky: Faces Michigan State on Tuesday in New York. The schools last met in the same event two years ago in Chicago, a 78-74 Spartans victory that brought them within 12-11 in the series.

More AP College Basketball: collegebasketball.ap.org

Markelle Fultz shines but Washington loses opener to Yale

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 10: Head coach Lorenzo Romar of the Washington Huskies looks on in the first half against the Utah Utes at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on February 10, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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Markelle Fultz looked every bit the part of a future lottery pick in the first game of his college career, finishing with 30 points, seven boards and six assists for the Washington Huskies, but it wasn’t enough as Washington fell at home to Yale, 98-90, on Sunday night.

Yale was playing without Makai Mason, their star point guard who is out for the season after breaking bones in his foot. Yale was also playing without Jordan Bruner, a 6-foot-8 freshman that has been one of the best players in the Eli program throughout the fall.

Freshman Miye Oni had 24 points to lead five Bulldogs in double-figures in the win, but the story of this game wasn’t Yale.

It was Washington.

The Huskies had high hopes entering the year, as they added the potential No. 1 pick in Fultz. And he was sensational, thriving in the uptempo, transition game that Romar wants his guys to play. The problem with this Washington team is that they looked lost on the defensive end of the floor. Yale’s Sam Downey, who averaged just 5.7 points in the Ivy League as a junior last season, was giving Washington’s big men all they could handle in the paint. He finished with 22 points and seven boards, and that wasn’t the only issue.

Yale got just about any shot that they wanted. They got 21 offensive rebounds and scored 19 second-chance points. For the night, Yale averaged 1.29 points-per-possession and committed just seven turnovers in a game that had 76 possessions.

Fultz is a star. The numbers that he puts up this season are going to be wild, and it’s still too early to write off the Huskies. A rough game on a Sunday night on a campus that was just hours removed from a devastating football loss on a team that is loaded with young players is not the end of the world.

But if Washington isn’t going to get stops, then we could end up in a situation where college basketball’s best player is going to end up on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Recapping College Basketballs Opening Day

HONOLULU, HI - NOVEMBER 11: Josh Jackson #11 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots over Curtis Jones #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the first half of the second game of the Armed Forces Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center on November 11, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
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GAMES OF THE NIGHT: No. 11 Indiana 103, No. 3 Kansas 99 OT

The Hoosiers picked up a massive win on Friday night over No. 3 Kansas, a win that is going to look better and better as the season moves along.

No. 10 Arizona 65, No. 12 Michigan State 63

In the opening game out in Hawaii, the Wildcats picked off Michigan State and Miles Bridges thanks to a game-winning layup from Kadeem Allen with 1.9 seconds left on the clock. Tom Izzo is not going to be happy when he sees his team’s final defensive possession.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Wagner 67, No. 18 UConn 58: The Huskies were the only team in the top 25 to lose to an unranked opponent on Friday night as they fell to Wagner. UConn was outrebounded, shot just 31 percent from three and got a 4-for-15 performance from Jalen Adams.

No. 17 Saint Mary’s 81, Nevada 63: The Gaels kicked off their season with a dominating, never-in-doubt win over Nevada, who looks like they might actually be one of the top three teams in the Mountain West. Jock Landale led the way with 33 points and nine boards on 15-for-20 shooting.

Clemson 74, Georgia 64: Believe it or not, this was actually a bubble relevant outcome because … both of these teams are going to be on the bubble. Marquise Reed led the way with 19 points.

Chattanooga 82, Tennessee 69: The Mocs picked up where they left off last season, by beating their fourth high-major team on the road in the last two years. They play at UNC on Sunday.

Marquette 95, Vanderbilt 71: It was not a banner day in the SEC. Vandy actually led this game at halftime.

STARRED

Justin Jackson, North Carolina: Jackson went for a career-high 27 points as the Tar Heels cruised past Tulane in New Orleans. Jackson becoming one of the ACC’s best wing scorers is critical for the Tar Heels this season.

Caleb Swanigan, Purdue: Swanigan had 23 points, 20 boards and six assists in a 109-65 win over McNeese State. He joined Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin as the only players to post a 20-20-5 game in the last decade.

Lonzo Ball, UCLA: No. 16 UCLA put up 119 points on Pacific, and while Bryce Alford – 30 points, six threes – was the high-scorer, it was Ball’s 19 points, 11 assists, eight boards and two steals that had everyone talking.

Ethan Telfair, Idaho State: He had 25 points, 12 boards, 10 assists and six steals. The Bengals still lost.

STRUGGLED

Penn State: Pat Chambers needs a big year to save his job. Getting mollywhopped at home by Albany is not the best way to start that season off.

Boston College: The Eagles actually lost to Nicholls State coming off a year where they went 0-19 in the ACC.

Dennis Smith Jr., N.C. State: In his first collegiate game, Smith had 11 points and five assists on 3-for-13 shooting while leaving during the second half with a thigh issue. The Wolfpack won by two over Georgia Southern.

TOP 25

  • Playing without their three star freshmen, No. 1 Duke still steamrolled Marist.
  • No. 2 Kentucky blew out Stephen F. Austin, but one thing to note: Their three guards went 13-for-34 from the floor and 2-for-11 from three.
  • Jalen Brunson’s 17 points paced No. 4 Villanova in a blowout win over Lafayette.
  • Tyler Dorsey led six Ducks in double-figures with 21 points as No. 5 Oregon knocked off Army, 91-77.
  • Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett combined for 49 points, 15 boards and nine assists as No. 7 Xavier avoided an upset against Lehigh.
  • No. 8 Virginia blew out UNC Greensboro and no one on the team scored more than 15 points. That’s so UVA.
  • Bronson Koenig had 16 points and Nigel Hayes had 14 points and five assists in a win over Central Arkansas for No. 9 Wisconsin.
  • It took a while to wake up, but No. 13 Louisville eventually beat down Evansville at the Yum! Center.
  • Silas Melson led the way with 17 points for No. 14 Gonzaga in a win over Utah Valley.
  • No. 19 Syracuse answered our questions about their point guard play with Franklin Howard and John Gillon combining for 24 points and 15 assists in a blowout win over Colgate.
  • No. 20 West Virginia opened their season with a 28-point win over Mount St. Mary’s.
  • Kendall Yancy led five players in double-figures, but No. 21 Texas needed every minute to knock off Incarnate Word.
  • Marcus Foster and Mo Watson combined for 36 points and 11 assists as No. 22 Creighton beat UMKC.
  • 21 points, three assists, three steals. I think No. 23 Rhode Island‘s E.C. Matthews is healthy.
  • Monte’ Morris had 21 points and 11 assists while Naz Long added 18 points, 10 boards and seven assists for No. 24 Iowa State.
  • Terps fans should get used to this: Melo Trimble had 22 points and provided the heroics as No. 25 Maryland won a close game.

No. 13 Louisville rolls past Evansville in opener

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 11: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Louisville Cardinals handles the ball against Christian Benzon #2 of the Evansville Purple Aces in the first half of the game at KFC YUM! Center on November 11, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Jaylen Johnson had 17 points and 14 rebounds while Donovan Mitchell added 15 points and five rebounds to lead No. 13 Louisville to a 78-47 season-opening victory over Evansville on Friday night.

Mangok Mathiang added 11 points and eight rebounds as the Cardinals played 14 players with 10 scoring. The Cardinals stared slow but got rolling late in the first half, holding the Purple Aces without a field goal over the last 9:05 of the half to take a 43-27 halftime lead.

Senior Jaylon Brown led the Aces with 19 points but made only 5 of 13 shots from the field against the Cardinals mostly man-to-man defense. Evansville made just 16 of 57 field goals attempts.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino wanted the Cardinals to play fast and they did, especially late in the first half. The Cardinals trailed 26-20 with 9:05 but went on a 23-1 run.

Louisville outrebounded the smaller Purple Aces 52-29 and had 10 blocked shots. The Cardinals shot 47.6 percent from the field but made just three of 15 3-point attempts.

The Cardinals forced Evansville into 13 turnovers and 28.1 field goal shooting (16 of 57) in the first half.

The Purple Aces finished the first half missing their final 14 field goal attempts with six turnovers. Evansville was giving the Cardinals fits leading 26-20 with 9:05 after Brown hit two 3-pointers.

Johnson, who made just two of 10 3-point attempts last season, pulled up from the right side and swished his first attempt of 2016.

The win was the Cardinals 100th (100-14) at the Yum Center in just their sixth season there.

BIG PICTURE

Evansville: The Purple Aces had to replace several key players from a team that went 25-9 last season.

Louisville: Pitino hyped this opener as the first of several big non-conference tests for his team. The Cardinals host Long Beach State next Thursday and face LSU or Wichita State in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas before hosting Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 30.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Louisville and Evansville are separated by only about 120 miles and hadn’t played since 1957. The win by the Cardinals ties the series 13-13.

UP NEXT

Evansville: The Purple Aces host Alcorn State on Monday night.

Louisville: Hosts William & Mary on Monday night in the third meeting between the schools and first since 1952. The Cardinals lead 2-0 but face a team that went 20-11 last season.