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Late Night Snacks: No turkey hangover for Villanova, Arizona

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GAME OF THE DAY: Villanova 63, No. 2 Kansas 59

In a day full of great games, Villanova knocking off No. 2 and previously undefeated Kansas takes the cake. The game was hardly pretty, but that doesn’t much matter to Jay Wright. In fact, it seemed like Wright’s game plan against Kansas was to play in the mud — a physical, grind-it-out kind of battle. Ryan Arcidiacono hit only one shot all night, but it was a critical one as his three-pointer from the corner put Villanova on top 61-59 with ten seconds remaining.


1) All five of Arizona’s starters scored in double figures as the Wildcats handed Duke their second loss of the season in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden. Aaron Gordon filled up the box score with ten points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and showed why he is in the same class as the other top freshmen across the country.

2) San Diego State acquitted themselves well when they played Arizona earlier this month — a 69-60 loss at home — but they confirmed they are a true contender in the Mountain West with an 86-80 victory over Creighton. There’s no doubting just how good Doug McDermott and the Creighton offense are, but their defense leaves much to be desired. Spotting the Aztecs a 19 point lead in the second half was too deep a hole to climb out of in the end.

3) It took three overtimes and delayed the start of the marquee game of the day between Arizona and Duke, but Drexel outlasted Alabama 85-83. The Dragons are now 4-2 with a good win over Alabama, and strong showings against UCLA and Arizona, despite both being losses. Chris Fouch was an absolute warrior today playing 54 minutes and willing Drexel’s way to the win. Bruiser Flint has a good group who will challenge for the CAA title.


1) Mercer’s Jakob Gollon had a day. The senior forward entered Friday’s game against Valparaiso averaging 6.4 points, but exploded for 37 points in the Bears’ triple overtime win over Valpo. Dropping 37 points on 17 shots is remarkably efficient. To go along with the scoring effort, Gollon also dished out seven assists and pulled down seven rebounds.

2) There may not be another player in the country whose team missed him as much last season as Penn State did with Tim Frazier. Frazier demonstrated just how important he is to the Nittany Lions as he propelled his team to an overtime victory over St. John’s going off for 29 points. He didn’t shoot particularly well — just 5-14 from the field — but he got to the free throw line 20 times, making 17 of his attempts.

3) Langston Galloway filled up the stat sheet in a big way for St. Joseph’s in a 78-66 win over Siena. The senior guard poured in 27 points (6-10 3PT), had seven rebounds, three assists, and five steals.


1) It was a bad time for Southern Mississippi to play Louisville as this was the Cardinals first game following their loss to North Carolina. The Golden Eagles, who entered the game 6-0 and are one of the top teams in Conference USA, scored just 13 first half points and shot 29% as a team for the game en route to a 69-38 loss.

2) The transition to Division 1 hasn’t been a pleasant one thus far for Abilene Christian. Entering tonight they were 2-6 with their only wins coming against sub-D1 teams, and five of the losses being blowouts. Tonight, they suffered their seventh loss of the season to West Alabama, a sub-D1 team.

3) Chris Bolden has had a rough start to the season. He was suspended for the first three games of the season for a violation of team rules, and since he has rejoined the team he has been less than stellar shooting a combined 7-34 in four games. Against Mississippi, a 77-67 loss, Bolden was 1-8 from the field. Bolden will need to be better if Georgia Tech has any chance at have a good season.


  • Missouri moved to 7-0 with an 83-70 win over Nevada. Jabari Brown, Earnest Ross, and Jordan Clarkson did nearly all the scoring as they combined for 73 points.
  • Tennessee bounced back with a 64-49 win over Xavier a day after losing to UTEP.
  • No. 5 Oklahoma State had a 44-30 halftime lead over Butler, but nearly gave it away in the second half. They ended up winning 69-67 and will meet No. 21 Memphis in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic.
  • Behind 19 points off the bench from Anthony Gill, Virginia defeated SMU, 76-73.
  • Cincinnati moved to 6-0 with a win over Kennesaw State, but the Bearcats’ schedule has been hardly challenging to date.
  • Denver lost to Pepperdine in the Great Alaska Shootout to move to 0-4. A tough start for a team looking to challenge for the Summit title.
  • Penn State earned a good win over St. John’s in overtime 89-82 at the Barclays Classic.
  • No. 15 Florida slipped by in-state rival Florida State, 67-66.
  • It wasn’t easy, but Texas squeaked past Texas-Arlington, who was 2-5 entering the game, 72-69.
  • In their first game playing without point guard Cody Doolin, San Francisco beat Vermont, 72-61.
  • Harvard beat Green Bay to advance to the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout where they will meet TCU.

2014 center Ben Lammers verbally commits to Georgia Tech

Brian Gregory
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Less than a week after narrowing his list of possible schools to three, 2014 center Ben Lammers has verbally committed to attend Georgia Tech according to (subscription required). Lammers, who attends Alamo Heights HS in San Antonio, chose Brian Gregory’s program over fellow ACC school Miami and Marquette.

The 6-foot-10 Lammers, considered to be a top 20 prospect at his position by multiple recruiting services, joins 6-foot-2 four-star guard Tadric Jackson in Georgia Tech’s 2014 class. With the Yellow Jackets losing both Kammeon Holsey and Daniel Miller after the 2013-14 campaign, adding depth to the front court is a priority from a recruiting standpoint.

In 2014 Georgia Tech will have, in addition to Lammers, East Carolina transfer Robert Sampson and current sophomore Robert Carter to call on. But with Sampson’s decision to transfer to Georgia Tech partially influenced by a desire to improve his game facing the basket, there will still be a need for interior muscle. Even with there still being a need for big men, Georgia Tech should be strong on the perimeter for the foreseeable future.

In addition to underclassmen Chris Bolden, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Solomon Poole, the Yellow Jackets are also awaiting word on the status of Tennessee transfer Trae Golden. If Golden doesn’t receive a waiver that would allow him to play immediately, he’d also be on board for the 2014-15 campaign. Georgia Tech also adds freshmen Travis Jorgensen and 6-foot-8 wing Quinton Stephens to the program this season.

If Georgia Tech can add another interior body to the group it’s expecting to have in 2014, the program has a good shot at improving its long-term standing within the ACC.

Violation of team rules costs Georgia Tech’s Chris Bolden three games

Boston College Eagles forward Eddie Odio reaches for the ball against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Chris Bolden during the second half of their ACC Championship college basketball game in Greensboro
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With four starters back from a team that finished the 2012-13 season with a 16-15 record (6-12 ACC), the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are expected to be an improved team this year. One of the key players for head coach Brian Gregory is sophomore guard Chris Bolden, who averaged 7.3 points per game as a freshman.

Unfortunately for Bolden his season (game-wise, at least) will begin a little later than his teammates, as the school announced on Friday that he’s been suspended for the Yellow Jackets’ first three games due to a violation of team rules.

“When a violation of our team rules occurs, our intention is always to deal with it firmly and appropriately,” Gregory said in the release announcing the suspension. “We expect the young men in our program to meet certain standards, and there has to be accountability when those standards are not met.”

Bolden will miss the team’s November 1 exhibition game and then regular season contests against Presbyterian (November 8), Delaware State (November 11) and in-state rival Georgia (November 15). Of those three contests only the game against Georgia is on the road, with the Bulldogs looking to avenge their 62-54 loss to the Yellow Jackets in last season’s meeting. Bolden will see his first action of the season on November 20 when Georgia Tech hosts Dayton, Gregory’s former employer.

Youth was a major factor in the Yellow Jackets’ struggles in ACC play last season, and with players such as Bolden, fellow guard Marcus Georges-Hunt and big man Robert Carter having a season under their belts the hope is that the program will be able to improve its standing within the conference. But that will be easier said than done, thanks to the combination of other programs in a similar position getting better (Boston College and Maryland come to mind) and three former Big East schools joining the conference (Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse).

Julian Royal will transfer from Georgia Tech

Julian Royal
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Georgia Tech sophomore Julian Royal will transfer from the program and continue his education elsewhere at the conclusion of the spring semester, the program announced in a release Tuesday.

“I appreciate everything that Julian has done for our program the last two years and the work he has put in,” said Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory in a statement. “He’s a fine young man, and he has done well in school. He’s done a great job representing our program on and off the court, and we wish him all the best.”

Royal averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets this past season in just under seven minutes per game. His best game of the year came Dec. 22 when he had eight points and three rebounds in a win over The Citadel. He also had five points and three rebounds in a conference win over Wake Forest on Feb. 16.

Coming out of high school, Royal was a Top 100 recruit and chose Georgia Tech over schools that included Alabama, Georgia, Northwestern, and Wake Forest.

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

Solomon Poole cleared to play for Georgia Tech on Monday

Solomon Poole
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Georgia Tech made it through the fall semester with a 6-2 record and now get an added boost heading into the winter break, as the Yellow Jackets add freshman guard Solomon Poole to the roster.

Poole, who signed with Georgia Tech back in November and graduated from North Florida Educational Institute also this fall. Last week, he was admitted to Georgia Tech.

“Our program is really excited to have Solomon join us at this time,” Georiga Tech head coach Brian Gregory said in a press release on Friday. “I’m really proud of all the hard work he has put in to get himself into this position. I know Solomon is ready to help this team in any way he can, and in any role possible. While this is great for our program currently, it will also accelerate Solomon’s progress in the future.”

According to the release, Saturday – which marks the first day after the fall semester has ended – will be the first day the 6-foot Poole can practice with the team. Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also reported on Friday that Poole will be eligible to play on Monday against Alabama State.

Georgia Tech adds Solomon’s older brother, Stacey, next week. The elder Poole is expected to be eligible for the Dec. 22 game against the Citadel. Stacey Poole played his freshman season at Kentucky in 2010-2011.

“Solomon has the explosiveness and athletic ability that fits in extremely well with our style of play,” Gregory had previously stated. “I really like his ability to create scoring opportunities for others and for himself in both the open-court and half-court situations. His tremendous work ethic and toughness will allow him to immediately compete on the ACC level.”

Poole will add a fourth-guard to Georgia Tech’s offensive alongside Marcus Georges-Hunt, Mfon Udofia, and Brandon Reed. Georges-Hunt and Udofia are the two leading scorers for the Yellow Jackets, while Reed has started every game.

Poole committed Georgia Tech back in June, picking the Yellow Jackets over other offers from Louisville, Georgia, Memphis, UCLA, and Oklahoma State.

(Photo credit: Adidas)

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Anatomy of a meaningless game: Georgia Tech-Wake Forest

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source: AP

On more than one occasion in my life, I have walked into a movie theatre with preconceived notions about the film I was about to see, negative impressions, perhaps of a clichéd romantic comedy or over-budgeted, testosterone-driven action flick.

The resulting feeling is a preeminent dissatisfaction with the movie, really before there is any justifiable reason for such a sentiment. So there I would sit, wading through the first few minutes, searching for evidence that could confirm my beliefs.

That same feeling arose within me on Thursday night as I tuned in to watch Georgia Tech against Wake Forest, a battle of the two worst teams in the ACC, sporting a combined conference record of 4-17.

As the Wake Forest pep band wheezed some song that I couldn’t quite pin a name on and these two bottom-dwelling teams prepared for the tip, I was anticipating the first sloppy turnover, errant pass, or unabashed airball to say to myself, “See? I was right. This is what basketball is like at the bottom of the ACC.”

But the Yellow Jackets and the Demon Deacons made me wait—at least for one minute and twenty-six seconds.

Like the first few introductory minutes of any bad movie, I couldn’t dislike Georgia Tech’s first play. They came out with energy. They moved the ball around. Mfon Udofia buried an open three from the top of the key.

But then, like when the dialogue in a movie takes it’s first dive into the unbearable, Georgia Tech did not disappoint.

Udofia, two possessions after hitting that three-pointer, swung the ball around to a teammate, though the “teammate” turned out to be the referee who was standing out of bounds. Turnover.

One possession after that, a block by Daniel Miller was negated when forward Kammeon Hosley double-dribbled in transition. Make that two Tech turnovers.

It seemed like an all-around problem.

As Travis McKie stepped to the line for Wake Forest, the camera angle showed the seats behind him at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which were sparsely populated.

The realization of the inconsequential nature of this game may even have spread to the broadcast crew.

Midway through the first half, the broadcasters named their sponsorship-mandated “O’Charley’s Fan of the Game.”

Before I reveal the big winner, some quick background info on O’Charley’s, whose website boldly proclaims that they “Put the ‘Ohs” in ‘Good Food’.”

It seems to be an establishment concentrated in the South and Midwest, looking like your typical chain restaurant. They’ve got some deals for you and a date. Probably could get away with a solid $30 meal for two.

Anyway, the O’Charley’s Fan of the Game was a three-year-old Wake Forest fan with a tie-dyed shirt on and, despite his inherent cuteness as a kid who looked like me when I was his age, it raised another question.

We couldn’t find any emphatic Wake Forest student to be the Fan of the Game? There was no 24-year-old Super Senior with his face painted, holding up an ironic handcrafted sign?

This must be what basketball is like at the bottom of the ACC.

The teams combined to shoot 14-of-55 from the floor in the first half and Wake Forest led by seven, 24-17, at the break.

I began to think back to what a matchup like this would have looked like close to 10 years ago.

In 2003-04, Chris Paul was a freshman at Wake Forest. He averaged nearly 14 points and six assists per game. Jarrett Jack led the Yellow Jackets to the Final Four and lost in the national title game to Connecticut.

Now Chris Paul is in “Lob City” with Blake Griffin and the only lob I saw in this game hit off the rim for a turnover. Jack is in New Orleans, chasing his dream of becoming a rodeo clown (at least according to Will Ferrell).

In all fairness, both Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are rebuilding. Tech, in their first year since Paul Hewitt left for George Mason, has a core of young players and a 2012 recruiting class headed by big man Robert Carter.

Wake Forest has a six-man class coming in 2012, including Top 100 prospect Codi Miller-McIntyre.

But looking that far ahead is like expecting the sequel to be worthwhile, all while you struggle through the movie that plays in front of you.

The second half brought more back-and-forth runs and more effort, which kept me in it until the end. Put this way: I didn’t walk out of the theatre, more based on principle than anything else. I figured I’d give it until the end, just to see how it finished out.

With 41 seconds left and Georgia Tech down six, Yellow Jacket guard Jason Morris drove the lane and kicked it out to coach Brian Gregory, who was standing on the sidelines, out of bounds. It was the 14th turnover of the night. Maybe I should have left.

Wake Forest went on to get the win, 59-50, behind 33% shooting from the floor.

GT-Wake II is slated for March 3rd in Georgia. I’ll be tuned in for that one, too.

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