Dan D’Antoni

Associated Press

Carter, Stone shine as No. 4 Maryland beats Marshall 87-67

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Maryland center Diamond Stone is finding his scoring touch just in time for his Big Ten debut.

The freshman continued his recent strong stretch Sunday, finishing with 16 points as the fourth-ranked Terrapins pulled away for an 87-67 victory over Marshall.

“He makes it look so easy,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said of Stone, who was 8 of 10 from the field.

Forward Robert Carter added 19 points as Maryland (11-1) shook off 19 turnovers and countered Marshall’s perimeter-focused offense with a heavy emphasis on inside play.

“That was our plan,” Turgeon said. “I thought we shot too many jump shots early. But we settled down. We went inside.”

After a sluggish start to the season, Stone has scored in double figures in his last five games, including a career-best 16 points three times. And the McDonald’s All-America has done it primarily while coming off the bench, he says, for the first time “since fourth grade.”

He was Turgeon’s first sub against Marshall and played a career-high 25 minutes in his final game before Maryland opens the Big Ten season against Penn State on Wednesday.

“I kind of accepted it and I realized that we’re a team and it’s not just all about me,” Stone said of his role. “And if we’re winning and I’m coming off the bench, then it’s a good win.”

Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 points, while Melo Trimble had 13 and hit three 3-pointers, part of a season-high 13 for the Terrapins.

Stevie Browning was one of four Marshall players to score 11 points. He grabbed seven rebounds for the Thundering Herd (4-9), who made 6 of 31 3-point attempts, missing 12 straight in the second half as the Terrapins pulled away.

“Our bigs have got to shoot better,” Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We can’t go conventional, we’re not built for that. If we tried to go mano-a-mano with a team like this, they would probably pretty handily take care of us pretty quick.”

Maryland was up by 10 points at halftime and took control with a 25-10 run that stretched across much of the second half.

Trimble got it started with a jumper and a 3-pointer to make it 59-43, and Stone followed with two inside baskets.

Carter added his final points of the game on a thunderous transition dunk off a feed from Trimble, and Jake Layman and Jaylen Brantley each hit two 3-pointers.

Brantley’s second, off a pass from Trimble, made it 77-51 with 6:32 to play.

“It’s a great win for us,” Turgeon said. “If you’d told me we were going to be up 25, 26 against this team, I knew we had to play well to do it.”

TIP-INS

Marshall: The Thundering Herd fell to 5-18 all-time against current Big Ten schools, including 2-3 against Maryland. … Marshall had not played a team ranked higher than Maryland since facing No. 3 Syracuse in December 2011.

Maryland: The Terrapins improved to 7-0 at Xfinity Center. … Maryland plays one more nonconference game, at home against Bowie State on Feb. 9. … Senior guard Trevor Anzmann scored his first career points with a 3-pointer in the game’s final minute.

BRANTLEY’S REUNION

Brantley finished with eight points and hit 3 of 4 field goals against his former team, one game after scoring a career-high 14 points against Princeton.

“I think his confidence has come the furthest, and that’s really what’s important,” Turgeon said of the sophomore transfer.

`OUT OF GAS’

Marshall hit only 1 of 13 3-point attempts in the second half after missing all 13 of its second-half 3-pointers on Dec. 17 against West Virginia, its other game against a ranked opponent.

“We ran out of gas in the second half,” D’Antoni said.

UP NEXT

Marshall hosts Western Kentucky next Sunday.

Maryland hosts Penn State on Wednesday.

Marshall adds foreign big man to 2015 recruiting haul

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Marshall and head coach Dan D’Antoni continue to go the international route with recruiting as the school announced the signing of 6-foot-9 Ajdin Penava to join the 2015 class.

A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Penava most recently played for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague’s U18 Spars Sarajevo and D’Antoni is excited about the way he fits into the Thundering Herd.

“He’s very versatile, 6-foot-9, and long,” D’Antoni said in the release. “He’s skilled and he’s an outstanding student. He will fit in very well with our style of play. As a big man, he’s good with his back to the basket.”

D’Antoni has Serbian sophomore Milan Mijovic and Aleksa Nikolic returning while incoming freshman forward Aleksandar Dozic hails from Montenegro. The international flavor on the roster has definitely helped in more commitments and we’ll have to see if D’Antoni has tapped a pipeline that will help win him games.

 

2014-2015 Season Preview: Louisiana Tech the favorite in the ever-changing Conference USA

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AP

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Conference realignment has been rampant the last few seasons, and Conference USA is still feeling the effects of it heading into the 2014-2015 season. Gone are East Carolina, Tulane and the league’s lone NCAA tournament team from last year, Tulsa. The conference welcomes in Western Kentucky as its newest member. If you’re scoring at home, that’s nine new programs and seven former members since 2013.

At least one thing looks to remain certain in 2014-2015, Louisiana Tech should finish atop the conference standings. The Bulldogs were one of four teams — Tulsa, Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss — to share the regular season title with a 13-3 record. Like previously mentioned, Tulsa left C-USA, Middle Tennessee lost four starters and Souther Miss is starting the Doc Sadler era after Donnie Tyndall accepted the Tennessee position.

Louisiana Tech returns plenty of key contributors, but none more important than head coach Michael White, who was in the conversation for several coaching vacancies this offseason.

The Bulldogs boast the league’s top back court with Kenneth ‘Speedy’ Smith running the show, Alex Hamilton back as the team’s top scorer and Raheem Appleby, who was sidelined for several weeks last season with an ankle injury. Michale Kyser mans the frontline with his 3.0 blocks per game, and he’ll be an important piece this season, as the Bulldogs’ biggest threat, UTEP, has two talented forwards.

The Miners may have finished fifth last season, but was only a game out of first in the top-heavy C-USA. Tim Floyd’s team is headlined by sophomore Vince Hunter and (12.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Julian Washburn (13.1 ppg). Another team looking to make a run at the Bulldogs is newcomer, Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers join the league from the Sun Belt, and have been to two of the last three NCAA tournaments. Ray Harper’s team is aided by senior guards T.J. Price and George Fant — the team’s top two scorers at 15.5 points and 13.3 points, respectively –who will help with the transition against better competition.

Along with Harper, C-USA has three new coaches. Mike Rhoades came over from VCU to take over at Rice while Michael Curry (Florida Atlantic) and Dan D’Antoni (Marshall) join the conference from the NBA sidelines, despite neither of them having college basketball coaching experience.

REALIGNMENT MOVES

In: Western Kentucky
Out: East Carolina, Tulane, Tulsa

PRESEASON CONFERENCE-USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kenneth ‘Speedy’ Smith, Louisiana Tech

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged single-digits (7.8 ppg) last year, but he effected the game in so many other ways. He was second in the nation in assists (7.7 apg), was 10th in the nation with a 3.23 assist-to-turnover ratio, and he was also top 10 in the nation in steals at 2.5 per game. The senior guard was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and is the only returning member of the league’s first-team from a season ago.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON CONFERENCE-USA TEAM:

  • Alex Hamilton, Louisiana Tech: Another member of Louisiana Tech’s heralded back court. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged a team-high 14.5 points per game last season.
  • Pierria Henry, Charlotte: The 49ers top scorer from a season ago averaged 12.3 points, grabbed 5.1 boards and dished 5.8 assists per game.
  • Vince Hunter, UTEP: Hunter is coming off a great freshman campaign, averaging 12.5 points and 6.4 boards per game. Part of a talented front court duo with Julian Washburn.
  • T.J. Price, Western Kentucky: One of the top newcomers to the league averaged better than 15 points per game over the past two years in the Sun Belt.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @Conference_USA

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Louisiana Tech
2. UTEP
3. Western Kentucky
4. Old Dominon
5. Charlotte
6. Middle Tennessee
7. North Texas
8. UAB
9. Southern Miss
10. Florida International
11. Rice
12. Florida Atlantic
13. UTSA
14. Marshall

2014-2015 Season Preview: Which new coaching hires will succeed?

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source: AP
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Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Every spring the coaching carousel takes over college basketball, with moves being made for a variety of reasons. For some programs the goal is to “win the press conference,” hiring a name sure to create a buzz amongst the fan base while also ensuring that the on-court product receives a similar boost. For others the press conference matters little, with the goal of finding the right man for the job being the only things that influences the athletic director’s decision. Below are five head coaches in new spots who are positioned to experience success, and five who will struggle.

1. Bruce Pearl, Auburn: Hiring Pearl was a major coup for Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs. Given the recent lack of success he needed a guy who could both reinvigorate an apathetic fan base and improve the on-court product. Pearl’s accomplished the former, and while the latter will be tougher to do strides have been made there as well. Grad transfer Antoine Mason will team up with senior K.T. Harrell on the perimeter, and junior college transfer Cinmeon Bowers will help int he post. And he has four talented recruits lined up for next season as well.

2. Cuonzo Martin, California: The hiring of Martin was met with some skepticism due to the lack of connections on the west coast. However that situation was rectified in part by the hiring of assistant Yanni Hufnagel, and Martin’s efforts to establish and strengthen those bonds haven’t gone unnoticed either. And while interior depth is a concern due to the season-ending injury suffered by Kameron Rooks, the Golden Bears do return senior David Kravish, junior Tyrone Wallace and sophomores Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews. He’s got some good pieces to work with in a Pac-12 that’s wide-open after prohibitive favorite Arizona.

MORE: Best non-conference games | NBCSports.com’s Preseason Top 25 Countdown

3. Steve Wojciechowski, Marquette: The longtime Duke assistant has his first head coaching gig and it’s a good one, as he arrives in Milwaukee to take over a program that prior to last season made eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Wojciechowski has pieces to use for the future as well, with junior Steve Taylor Jr. and sophomore Deonte Burton among those with eligibility remaining beyond the 2014-15 campaign. And he’s done well on the recruiting trail, most notably reeling in elite 2015 forward Henry Ellenson.

4. Danny Manning, Wake Forest: Manning has a tougher task in front of him now than his last job (Tulsa), but he’s already off to a good start when it comes to recruiting.

5. Kim Anderson, Missouri: Anderson was highly successful at Central Missouri, and his ability to hang onto Tim Fuller and add Rob Fulford will undoubtedly help with recruiting.

FIVE COACHES WHO WILL STRUGGLE 

1. Dan D’Antoni, Marshall: D’Antoni’s head coaching experience came at the high school level (from 1975-2005), and while the time spent in the NBA should be respected running a college program is an entirely different matter.

2. Ernie Kent, Washington State: Kent has plenty of experience coaching in the Pacific Northwest, as he spent more than a decade at Oregon. And he should be familiar with today’s Pac-12 given his recent work with the conference’s network. That being said it’s tough to win those major recruiting battles in Pullman, especially when going head-to-head with other Pac-12 programs. Add in the fact that his best player, DaVonte Lacy, is a senior and this is a far tougher job for Kent than the one he took over at Oregon.

MORE: Top 25 Potential Breakout StarsCoaches on the Hot Seat | Mid-Major All-Americans

3. Orlando Antigua, South Florida: Antigua was John Calipari’s right-hand man at Kentucky, helping to reel in some of the nation’s best recruiting classes on an annual basis. He won’t be picking from a similar pool of athletes in his new job, but the good news is that there’s a good amount of talent in Florida and there are New York connections to be tapped into as well. The concern: only three coaches who have spent multiple seasons at USF have left with a winning record, the last of which being Seth Greenberg (108-100 from 1996-2003). Maybe it’ll be easier to rebuild in the American than it would have been in the 16-team Big East, but you’re still competing against the likes of UConn, Cincinnati and Memphis.

4. Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State: Tinkle’s off to a good start in Corvallis from a recruiting standpoint, with family ties to the coaching staff netting him 2015 prospects Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr. That being said, he’s fighting against history here. Since Ralph Miller retired in 1989 no coach has left the program with a winning record, and only four coaches in the history of the program have managed to win 90 games or more with a winning percentage above .500 (Miller, Paul Valenti, Slats Gill and Bob Hager).

5. Jim Christian, Boston College: Christian was successful in two separate stints in the MAC, but things didn’t go too well when he took over a struggling TCU program. And with six seniors and a junior in Olivier Hanlan on this year’s roster at BC, rebuilding in the future could be difficult.