24-hour hoops marathon


Cady Lalanne’s 23 points, 16 rebounds helps UMass stave off Manhattan in overtime

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A violation led to a fortunate series of events for Manhattan with 5.1 seconds to play, trailing UMass 61-59 on Tuesday afternoon. Tyler Wilson attempted to miss his second free throw so the Jaspers could get an offensive rebound. Instead he missed the rim, a violation, giving UMass the ball, which almost secured the victory for the Minutemen.


The unintended consequence of the violation was that Seth Berger, the in-bounder for UMass, could not run along the baseline as he would if Wilson made the free throw. The result was a missed an errant pass of Trey Davis’ fingers, which set up this.

Manhattan went into overtime with the momentum, and UMass was down ultra-athlete Maxie Esho, who fouled out with 1:47 remaining in regulation. However, like LSU and Harvard in previous years, the Jaspers left Amherst, Massachusetts with a loss, as UMass held on to a 77-68 win to win its third consecutive game in the 11 a.m. time slot of the 24-hour tipoff marathon.

UMass (3-0) never trailed in overtime, as Cady Lalanne’s up-fake gave him an uncontested layup to break a 63-63 tie with 3:30 left. Berger tipped in a Lalanne miss the next time down the floor, making it a two-possession game. From there, it was a free throw contest for the Minutemen, converting all 10 to ice the win.

Lalanne finished with a game-high 23 points and 16 rebounds.

UMass and Manhattan (0-2) entered halftime knotted at 28, but the Japsers held a five-point edge more than midway through the second half. This proved to be the turning point, as the Minutemen began to solve Manhattan’s 2-3 zone, getting the ball inside to Lalanne. This became a point of emphasis for UMass, as the 6-foot-10 Lalanne is arguably the best big man in the Atlantic 10, and Manhattan is still adjusting to a new interior with Rhamel Brown, three-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, graduating last spring.

RELATED: Must-watch video of Rich Williams’ buzzer-beating dunk to force overtime

The UMass run started when Jabarie Hinds beat the press up the middle of the floor, ran a hand-off with Derrick Gordon, who lobbed up one of his eight assists. The Gordon-Lalanne alley-oop energized the Mullins Center crowd, and after a defensive stop, Esho, UMass’ other forward, drove by his defender before the defense set up to cut the lead to one. After a Donovan Kates, UMass was patient getting the ball to Lalanne, who was being fronted, for an uncontested dunk, followed two possessions later when an offensive rebound for Lalanne resulted in two free throws, tying the score 51-51.

Ashton Pankey would respond for Manhattan with four straight points, and the two teams would trade the lead back-and-forth three more times until Lalanne connected on four-straight free throws with 30 seconds to go, the latter pair giving UMass what looked like a 61-59 win until the wild finish.

Emmy Andujar went for 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals. Five Minutemen scored in double figures — Trey Davis (14), Esho (12), Gordon (12) and Hinds (10) — behind Lalanne’s third double-double in as many games.

Manhattan looks to pick up its first win of the season against a young Binghamton team on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.. UMass will face its toughest opponent to date in Notre Dame at noon on Saturday. Both of those games, like Tuesday’s contest, are part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, and will be played at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Second half surge gives Wofford an early morning win over Iona

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On Monday, Wofford announced plans for a new arena, a gift provided by alum and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. The 92,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in September 2017. For now, the Benjamin Johnson Arena will do work just fine, as evident by the packed crowd on hand for the Terriers’ 7 a.m. tip with MAAC favorite Iona on Tuesday morning.

Wofford, the reigning Southern Conference champion, and favorite to retain that title, outdueled the Gaels, 86-73, in an offensive shootout to pick up its first win of the season.

The Terriers shot 54 percent from the field, including a 6-of-9 shooting from three in the second half (9-of-17 in the game) to turn a three-point halftime deficit into a 13-point victory.

Iona and Wofford traded the lead three times to begin the game before the Terriers began to attack the offensive glass, using second-chance points to spark a lengthy run to extend the lead to double-digits. Wofford led 60-56 when a Justin Gordon putback slam livened the 3,500 in attendance. A minute later Lee Skinner (15 points, nine rebounds) attacked the glass again leading to another second-chance bucket.

Wofford turned 11 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points.

Iona’s first half shooting as the morning coffee in Spartanburg, South Carolina: hot, converting on 56 percent its shots while connecting on 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Although in the second half, a David Laury triple would account for the Gaels’ only deep ball (1-of-5). Laury and A.J. English made eight trips each to the line, converting on 13-of-16 attempts. Unfortunately, for almost seven minutes in the second half, that was the only source of offense for Tim Cluess’ program. In that span, Wofford turned a four-point lead into an 82-66 advantage.

Laury led all scorers with 23 points. English followed with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists. Karl Cochran (20 points) was one of four Terriers in double figures along with Skinner (15), Justin Gordon (13) and Jaylen Allen (11).

Wofford’s first win comes days after an opening night loss to Stanford. The Terriers travel to Fairfield on Friday night to take on another MAAC opponent. Iona, coming off a five-point win against Cleveland State, has a road meeting with Danny Manning and Wake Forest on Friday.

Jabari Parker dazzles national audience, but still a step behind Andrew Wiggins


CHICAGO — Jabari Parker seemed distracted as he wandered the nearly empty United Center hallway to the team bus after Duke’s 94-83 loss to Kansas in the second game of Tuesday night’s State Farm Champions Classic.

You could hardly blame Parker for seeming out of it. The 6-foot-9 freshman phenom created a national buzz on Tuesday night by scoring 27 points while hauling down nine rebounds in the first major game of his college career — and second college game overall — and it came in his hometown of Chicago against No. 5 Kansas and the projected No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins vs. Parker has been a hot topic of discussion since the two were elite high school prospects and Tuesday gave the duo a chance for a clash on a national stage.

While Wiggins spent much of the first half in foul trouble, Parker started out hot, knocking down 6-of-10 field goals and 4-of-5 three-pointers in the first half on his way to 19 points by the break. But in the second half, Parker was clearly a bit tired and the Jayhawks threw multiple bodies at him to try to stop him, including Wiggins for a few possessions.

Parker finished 9-for-18 from the field and 4-for-7 from three-point range in 33 minutes before fouling out with 1:16 left to play. Wiggins tallied 22 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes but also earned the victory for his team.

The talk of Wiggins vs. Parker — and their future status as likely top NBA draft picks — dominated the headlines before, during and after a game that still featured two top-five teams and numerous other McDonald’s All-Americans, but Wiggins and Parker belong to college basketball for at least the next few months and the only thing that really mattered to them was Kansas beating Duke in a hard-fought, early-season game.

“Our names on our jerseys don’t say ‘Parker’ and ‘Wiggins’ it says ‘Kansas’ and ‘Duke,'” Wiggins said after the game. “At the end of the day, one team is going to win, not one player.”

A four-time Illinois Class 4A state champion at Simeon Career Academy on the Southside of Chicago, Parker isn’t accustomed to losing and clearly felt the emotion of the big night in his hometown. As the Blue Devils waited to take the United Center floor before the game, Parker stood in the tunnel with his teammates as Magic Johnson walked by and gave Duke some words of encouragement.

Clearly, this wasn’t your typical November college hoops battle.

“I think it’s remarkable that a kid that’s 18 can come in here during his second game…. in his hometown and playing against Kansas and he was sensational,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Imagine the emotion that you use? He wasn’t just worn out towards the end because of the way the game was played, I think he was emotioned out. He was terrific and that’s how you grow. I thought he handled everything well.”

As an undersized team facing Kansas’ length and athleticism on the interior, Duke also counted on Parker to defend in the post — something Jabari is getting used to at the college level — and he also paced the Blue Devils with nine rebounds.

“(Jabari) did a good job; they’re tough in the post. That’s what they’ve done the entire time that Bill has been there, is really strong low-post play,” Krzyzewski said of Parker’s post defense. “I think Jabari wore them down a little bit too. It’s how you punch; it’s how you counter. I thought Jabari did a great job.”

Both teams downplayed the individual matchup of Wiggins and Parker in favor of Duke versus Kansas, but with an estimated 70-plus NBA people in attendance at the United Center and the buzz of basketball fans across the country fixated on the matchup of the freshman phenoms, its hard not to focus on Wiggins vs. Parker as the night’s major storyline.

As Wiggins raced down the open floor for a dunk that put the Jayhawks ahead 87-81 with 1:16 left, Parker was the one to foul him on the play giving chase and was disqualified from the game with his fifth foul.

The play symbolized what America learned after Tuesday’s Champions Classic: Wiggins is still a half-step ahead of Parker for now, but the battle is much closer than many people had anticipated.

The sold-out United Center’s frenzied atmosphere made the Champions Classic feel a bit like March, but there are still four more months until we find out any real answers to the “Wiggins vs. Parker” debate.

If Tuesday night’s matchup was any indication, college basketball fans are going to have a lot of fun figuring out the answer.

Champions Classic: Kansas outlasts Duke


CHICAGO — America certainly got what it wanted in the second game of Tuesday Night’s State Farm Champions Classic: A close game between No. 4 Duke and No. 5 Kansas that saw two of the country’s top freshmen square off.

Both Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins and Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker have entered college basketball with an insane amount of preseason hype and in their first major collegiate game, they each came away impressive showings.

Parker, in front of his hometown of Chicago, finished with 27 points and nine rebounds while Wiggins, and the Jayhawks, got the last laugh, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds as he scored on a step-back jumper with 1:30 remaining and followed that up with an open-court dunk that drew Parker’s fifth foul and gave Kansas the 87-81 lead with 1:11 remaining as the Jayhawks held on for the 94-83 win.

Parker, who buried 4-of-5 first-half three-pointers and set the tone early, helped Duke to an early 42-40 halftime lead, but Kansas relied on their size, depth and athleticism to outlast the Blue Devils.

Sophomore forward Perry Ellis came up big for the Jayhawks, scoring 24 points and adding nine rebounds, while at lead guard — a question spot for the Jayhawks — junior Naadir Tharpe (seven points, five assists) and freshman Frank Mason (15 points) combined for only three turnovers between them. Freshman guard Wayne Selden also had 15 for the Jayhawks.

Kansas outrebounded the undersized Blue Devils 39-24.

Amile Jefferson scored 17 points for Duke to contribute in the scoring column and Rasheed Sulaimon (13 points), Rodney Hood (11 points) and Quinn Cook (10 points) also finished in double-figures.

The Blue Devils can score in many different ways, but they’ll need to shore up their interior defense and rebounding in order to beat elite teams that future a post presence.

Kansas can build on this early win and should be thrilled by performances off the bench by guys like Mason and freshman forward Brannen Greene (eight points).

Joel Embiid also had trouble scoring for Kansas with only two points, but contributed seven rebounds and five assists.

Champions Classic: Appling and Michigan State use experience to top Kentucky

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CHICAGO — The matchup of No. 1 Kentucky against No. 2 Michigan State was the much-anticipated “undercard” of Tuesday night’s State Farm Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago, but for Michigan State and head coach Tom Izzo it was a chance to make an early-season statement.

While many fans — and the estimated 70-plus NBA scouts in attendance in the United Center — were fixated on the latest crop of “one-and-done” freshmen, the experienced Spartans threw the first haymaker of the night and landed it squarely on the jaw of Big Blue Nation.

“We wanted to keep putting them on the ropes,” Michigan State sophomore Gary Harris said. “Punch them in the mouth first before they hit us.”

Jumping out to a 10-0 lead on Kentucky, Michigan State silenced the Wildcat faithful early and held what many consider to be one of the greatest recruiting classes in history scoreless through the first TV timeout.

(MORE: Kentucky lost, but they are going to be just fine in time)

Instead of focusing on Kentucky’s loaded freshman class, college basketball fans were quickly reminded of how good the Spartans were last season.

Senior forward Adreian Payne (15 points) and sophomore guard Gary Harris (20 points) looked like potential lottery picks in the first half, but the tremendous play of senior point guard Keith Appling kept Michigan State in control when Kentucky made a run in the second half.

Payne and Harris combined to go 10-for-14 from the floor in the first half, but Appling — who has been inconsistent at point over the course of his career — handled Kentucky to the tune of 22 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and only three turnovers in 34 minutes.

Appling credits Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo for staying on him and helping him maintain his focus.

“Listening to him and believing in what he was telling me and watching film (helped me grow),” Appling said of Izzo.

“I feel like that comes with growth, being around Coach Izzo, on and off the court, I’ve learned a lot.”

The Spartans perhaps surprised the Wildcats by outscoring them 21-2 on fast break points — thanks in-part to Kentucky’s porous transition defense — but Kentucky outrebounded the Spartans 44-32.

But as Kentucky tied the game at 66-66 with under five minutes to play, Appling knocked in a huge corner three off a pass from Denzel Valentine and Harris made another layup to push the Spartans ahead by five and kept them ahead for good.

Beating the No. 1 team in America front of former Spartan greats like Magic Johnson, Morris Peterson and Jason Richardson was a big early-season moment for Michigan State but as Harris and Appling sat at the podium, they remained focused on their goals in March and April.

“We can’t win a Big Ten championship or a title playing in this game,” Harris said

“It’s a great win, but at the same time we didn’t accomplish anything tonight,” Appling said.

“We want to be No. 1 at the end of the season, not the beginning.”

La Salle bounces back after a poor rebounding effort on Saturday

Wichita St. v La Salle
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While their 99-90 double overtime loss to Manhattan on Saturday afternoon qualified as one of the best games of the opening weekend, the way in which the defeat occurred revealed a big issue for the La Salle Explorers. That issue was rebounding, with the Jaspers out-rebounding La Salle 51-33 and finishing the game with a staggering offensive rebounding percentage of 55.8%.

So entering their game on Tuesday morning against Quinnipiac, which has been one of the nation’s best rebounding teams in each of the last two seasons, it was clear that Dr. John Giannini’s team would need a better performance on the glass in order to avoid an 0-2 start. The Explorers were by no means dominant on the glass against the Bobcats but they held their own, breaking even (43-43) on their way to the 73-67 victory.

Tyreek Duren led four Explorers in double figures with 17 points, but shot selection is another area in which La Salle will need to improve as they inch closer to the start of Atlantic 10 play. To be fair that issue’s to be expected at this stage, with La Salle beginning the (in-game) process of adjusting to life without leading scorer Ramon Galloway.

Galloway, who averaged 17.2 points per game last season, factored into nearly 29% of La Salle’s possessions and posted a shot percentage of 28.9% per kenpom.com. Even with key contributors such as Duren, Tyrone Garland and Jerrell Wright back, that’s a significant personnel loss and it will take this group some time to adjust.

As for Quinnipiac, which moved from the NEC to the MAAC during the summer, rebounding will continue to be a strength for them with senior forward Ike Azotam (17 points, seven rebounds) leading the way. And in freshman Kasim Chandler (team-high 19 points), the Bobcats have a guard fans will certainly enjoy watching develop. But on Tuesday it was La Salle’s improved rebounding effort that carried the day, resulting in both teams moving to 1-1 on the season.