Rob Dauster

VIDEO: Former CCSU coach living dream of becoming … Santa?

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Howie Dickenman is a name that everyone in the state of Connecticut knows.

It used to be because he was the longtime head coach of Central Connecticut and a for assistant to Jim Calhoun at UConn.

But now?

It’s because Dickenman is living out his dream. At his retirement press conference back in March, Dickenman said his dream was to be Santa Claus.

He’s doing it now.

PHOTO: Roy Williams writes letter to UNC fan after dog named Roy dies

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04:  Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts in the second half against the Villanova Wildcats during the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at NRG Stadium on April 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Whitney Shankland is a North Carolina fan who, according to her twitter bio, lives in Raleigh.

Whitney named her dog after UNC head coach Roy Williams. Roy, the dog, passed away recently, and Roy, the coach, found out about it.

So the coach sent the fan a condolence letter about the dog:

Anyone who has lost a pet knows that it’s not an easy thing to deal with, but I’m sure that Whitney needed the pick-me-up.

VIDEO: Northern Iowa’s Jeremy Morgan scores 38 points in one half

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Jeremy Morgan put together one of the most impressive performances that you’ll see this season.

He scored 38 points to lead Northern Iowa to a much-needed, come-from-behind win over North Dakota, which is impressive enough in its own right.

But here’s the most important part: Morgan was scoreless at halftime.

He scored all 38 of his points in the second half, and 21 of those 38 came in the final seven minutes. Check out this second half box score:

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That’s ridiculous, and I don’t know that it’s ever happened before. Morgan is one of just 16 players to score 38 points in a game since 2010.

And it could have been even better, as Morgan, who shoots 80 percent from the free throw line, missed six second half free throws.

“(Coach Ben Jacobson) trusts me,” Morgan said after the game. “He doesn’t do that a lot. When he does have an isolation situation for me on the wing it tells me that he believes in me. That meant a lot, and I tried to make plays.”

Freshmen Leaf and Ball help No. 2 UCLA beat Michigan 102-84

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins takes a jump shot at Pauley Pavilion during their game against the University of Michigan on December 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA followed up its upset victory at then-No. 1 Kentucky in a big way.

The second-ranked Bruins clamped down on defense in the second half to beat Michigan 102-84 on Saturday night in front of 13,571, the first sellout at Pauley Pavilion in nearly four years.

T.J. Leaf scored 21 points, fellow freshman Lonzo Ball added 19 and UCLA (10-0) held the Wolverines to 34 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes after playing to a 50-all tie in the first half. While their defense improved, so did the Bruins’ offense. They shot 74 percent in the second half.

“We really got smacked in the mouth in the first half,” Leaf said. “In the second half we had a different mindset and established what we wanted to do out there instead of letting them do what they wanted.”

Both teams shot over 60 percent from the floor in the first half.

Of the Wolverines’ 19 made baskets, 12 were 3-pointers. The Bruins made 10 3-pointers, with Ball making all four of his attempts. His last one from midway between the 3-point and half court lines pulled UCLA into a 50-all tie at halftime.

“Every shot I take I expect to make it,” Ball said. “I was in rhythm in the first half.”

Late in the half, the Wolverines outscored UCLA 15-2, including three 3-pointers, to take a 48-41 lead. The Bruins managed to tie it up on 3-pointers by Isaac Hamilton, Aaron Holiday and Ball.

“They’re really good with five guys that can hurt you,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We probably won’t see a team that has five guys that can attack and hurt you. In our league we may have three guys.”

Bryce Alford added 18 points and Aaron had 17 for the Bruins, who made 15 3-pointers, just off the school-record 18 they had in winning their season opener against Pacific. Holiday hit all five of his 3-point attempts.

The Bruins topped 100 points for the fourth time this season.

“We’re starting to put on a show for people and word of mouth is starting to spread,” Alford said.

Zak Irvin scored 18 points to lead the Wolverines (7-3). They were limited to just two 3-pointers in the second half.

“We’re really good going into halftime knowing what we did wrong and making adjustments, and that’s what we did,” Alford said.

Michigan got within five for the last time with just under eight minutes to go. UCLA went on a 17-6 run, getting 3-pointers from Holiday and Alford (two), to go up 94-78 and put the game away.

“We really executed, but we ran out of gas in the second half,” forward D.J. Wilson said. “We had some blow-byes and our defense just kind of gave up.”

The Wolverines were limited to three field goals over the final seven minutes.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Playing just once during finals week, the Bruins should stay at No. 2. They could have moved up to the top spot, but No. 1 Villanova rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat 23rd-ranked Notre Dame 74-66.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: The Wolverines’ defense took a beating. They came in giving up 58.2 points per game and had allowed 60 or fewer points in five of their previous nine games. They had forced 13 turnovers per game (UCLA had eight) and had blocked 24 shots, but didn’t have any blocks Saturday.

UCLA: The Bruins are in the midst of a series of stiff challenges. A week ago, they upset then-No. 1 Kentucky at Rupp Arena to zoom nine spots to their highest ranking since November 2007. After hosting UC Santa Barbara next week, they face Ohio State in Las Vegas on Dec. 17. They’re 2-0 against Big Ten schools so far.

INJURED BIG MAN

Thomas Welsh, UCLA’s 7-foot center, was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a bruised right knee hurt in practice. It’s not serious, but he’s questionable for Wednesday’s game. G.G. Goloman, a junior from Hungary, earned his first career start in Welsh’s place and fouled out with six points and two rebounds in 10 minutes. Welsh averages 11.1 points and 9.6 rebounds.

NEW `DO

Ball showed up with a new haircut, considerably shorter than his old style.

“It’s just time to start over, press the re-set button,” he said. “I had it like this in high school a long time.”

FACES IN THE CROWD

Actor Vince Vaughn waved a blue-and-gold pompom, former UCLA coach Steve Lavin and former Bruins star Baron Davis were among the first sellout crowd of the season. Actress Jessica Alba made it a family affair, sitting between her husband Cash Warren and father-in-law and retired UCLA star Mike Warren.

UP NEXT

Michigan: Hosts Central Arkansas on Tuesday beginning a stretch of three consecutive home games to wrap up non-conference play.

UCLA: Hosts UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Michigan State wins without starting shooting guard

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks to Matt McQuaid #20 as he comes to the bench against the Maryland Terrapins in the semifinals of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 12, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michigan State defeated Maryland 64-61. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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As if Michigan State’s injury woes weren’t enough, the Spartans played Saturday’s game against Tennessee Tech without Matt McQuaid.

McQuaid took a shot to the head in practice on Thursday. He had started eight of MSU’s ten games this season.

“I was looking at the bench and I’m sitting with McQuaid, Miles, Ben and Gavin and I said to my assistant, Dwayne Stephens, ‘All four of those guys would have probably started,’” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. Miles Bridges is out with an ankle injury while Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling could both end up missing the season with knee injuries.

“I just have to make sure those guys don’t sit next to me on the bench anymore. When it gets to be four of them it looks like we have more guys on the bench. At least if I put them in suits maybe people would think they are assistant coaches. Maybe I’ll do that.”

Freshman Josh Langford started for McQuaid and finished with 10 points.

Izzo added that he didn’t think McQuaid suffered a concussion, and that his return is totally in the hands of MSU’s team doctors.

Jawun Evans sits out Oklahoma State win with shoulder injury

LAHAINA, HI - NOVEMBER 21: Jawun Evans #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys dribbles the ball during the second half of the Maui Invitational NCAA college basketball game at the Lahaina Civic Center on November 21, 2016 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images). Oklahoma State won the game 98-90
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Oklahoma State’s star point guard Jawun Evans was unavailable in a 71-67 win at Tulsa on Saturday afternoon due to a shoulder injury he suffered in practice.

The injury is reportedly a sprained AC joint, which will be concerning to Cowboy fans considering that Evans missed the end of the 2015-16 season with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

The good news?

This injury is not only not serious, it’s to the other shoulder.

Evans has been in the top ten of the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings all season long.