Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga’s Karnowski returning for fifth year

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The man in the middle is returning to Gonzaga.

Przemek Karnowski will return to the Bulldogs for his final year after a medical redshirt waiver was granted allowing him a fifth season in Spokane, the school announced Tuesday.

“I’m excited to be coming back,” Karnowski said in a statement. “After talking with the coaches, my parents and the team, I decided this was the best decision for me. I still have a ways to go with my rehab, but I’m staying positive about the upcoming season.”

The 7-foot-1 Karnowski, a Poland native, would have, at minimum, had professional opportunities overseas, but instead will return to play for the Bulldogs once more after a back injury limited him to five games last season. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a junior in 2014-15.

With Karnowski returning along with  Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will be having newcomers Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Norvell, Johnathan Williams II and Zach Collins joining an experienced and talented group.

Gonzaga (shocker) will be the West Coast Conference favorite once more, but the Bulldogs will also be fielding a team that should open the season in most everyone’s top-15.

Strong second half propels No. 19 Arizona to win at No. 13 Gonzaga

Gabe York
Associated Press
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While neutral site games and in-season tournaments can help teams figure out who they are, there’s no test more valuable than having to do so in a hostile environment. No. 19 Arizona played its first road game Saturday afternoon, and despite trailing by as many as 14 points Sean Miller’s team found a way to beat No. 13 Gonzaga 68-63 in Spokane.

And while the Wildcats were much improved offensively in the second stanza, it was their defense and perimeter play that opened the door for a comeback.

Senior guard Gabe York led the way with 14 second-half points while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out two assists, playing the entire 20 minutes as Arizona made its charge. York scored all 14 of those points during a stretch in which Arizona outscored Gonzaga 22-10, turning a 40-28 deficit into a 50-50 tie with 12:57 remaining. The Wildcats needed someone to step forward offensively to provide a much-needed spark, and he was the one to do so.

Ryan Anderson (11 second-half points) and Allonzo Trier, who was Arizona’s best offensive player in the first half, chipped in as well, with Arizona shooting 50 percent from the field and scoring 20 points in the paint. As opposed to seemingly looking to go “shot for shot” with Gonzaga, Arizona did a better job of getting the shots that worked for them as the second half progressed which resulted in their averaging nearly 1.1 points per possession.

And for those clamoring for the Wildcats to find a “go-t0 guy,” it was York and Anderson who combined for the game-sealing pick and roll with less than 20 seconds remaining. Contrast that with the end of their loss to Providence, which had Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic doing so in a sequence that resulted in a turnover. Saturday’s finish gets Arizona closer to figuring out that particular role, which will only help them down the line.

But the improved offense would not have meant anything Saturday without better play on the defensive end. Without Kaleb Tarczewski (Przemek Karnowski didn’t play for Gonzaga), who is out with a left foot injury, Arizona had to account for the absence of its best interior defender and that was an issue against Gonzaga’s tandem of Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis.

Wiltjer, who finished with 33 points, and Sabonis (18 points, 16 rebounds), combined to score 32 of Gonzaga’s 38 first half points and to no one’s surprise they were going to be an issue throughout for Anderson, Dusan Ristic and Mark Tollefsen. As a team Gonzaga averaged 0.67 points per possession in the second half, and Wiltjer needed 15 shots to score his 13 second-half points.

So how did Arizona get Gonzaga out of its comfort zone? By making the big men make challenged shots and forcing the guards, most notably Josh Perkins who committed four of his five turnovers in the second half, to make plays. Contrast that with Arizona’s two-headed point guard of Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who combined to commit just one turnover.

The questions surrounding Gonzaga focused on their perimeter play, which is to be expected given just how much they lost from last year’s Elite Eight team. It isn’t easy to replace Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and Byron Wesley, which frankly goes without saying. Young players such as Perkins and Silas Melson will continue to develop for head coach Mark Few as the season wears on.

But on this day Arizona’s guards, led by York, won the matchup and that was a major factor in the final result.

Unlike last season’s team, which returned a lot of experience and had clear role definition almost from the start, this current group of Wildcats is still figuring things out and Saturday’s win doesn’t change that. But it does serve as an important result for a team looking to grow into a group capable of winning a third consecutive Pac-12 title.

Iowa State, Miami part of 2016 AdvoCare Invitational field

Jim Larranaga
Associated Press
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Friday afternoon the field for the 2016 AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando was announced, with Puerto Rico Tip-Off champion Miami being one of the eight teams involved.

Joining Jim Larrañaga’s Hurricanes in Orlando will be Florida, Gonzaga, Indiana State, Iowa State, Quinnipiac, Seton Hall and Stanford. Gonzaga has won the event in each of its prior two appearances, doing so in 2008 and 2012.

Each of the other seven teams will be making their first appearance at the AdvoCare Invitational.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 6 Duke, No. 12 Virginia win comfortably

Marshall Plumlee, Matt Jones, Amile Jefferson
Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 Kansas 70, No. 19 Vanderbilt 63

Wayne Selden Jr. scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Jayhawks rebounded from a early deficit to win the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Selden played well all week in Maui, and against the Commodores he made eight of his eleven shots from the field. Fellow guard Devonte’ Graham and Frank Mason III also scored in double figures, with Graham adding 12 points and Mason ten.

Damian Jones led the way offensively for Vanderbilt with 17 points while also grabbing ten rebounds and blocking four shots, but the Commodores’ cold night from three hurt them in the end. Vanderbilt shot just 6-for-27 from three on the night, while Kansas finished 8-for-16 from distance.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

UNLV 72, No. 13 Indiana 69: The Runnin’ Rebels held off the Hoosiers in Maui, winning the fifth place game at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational and going 2-1 in the event. Patrick McCaw led the way for UNLV with 20 points, six assists and five steals, and Ben Carter’s block of a Nick Zeisloft three-pointer in the final seconds preserved the victory. Zeisloft scored 17 points and James Blackmon Jr. 13 for the Hoosiers, who went 1-2 in Maui and looked nothing like the Big Ten contender many expected them to be.

No. 14 Gonzaga 80, Washington 64: The Bulldog front court once again led the way, with Kyle Wiltjer scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 16-point victory. Domas Sabonis added 17 points and nine rebounds, and Przemek Karnowski accounted for 12 points and six rebounds.

No. 18 Connecticut 74, Michigan 60: Daniel Hamilton led five Huskies in double figures with 16 points while also grabbing nine rebounds as UConn beat Michigan at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Caris LeVert led all scorers with 20 points, but his early foul trouble led to a major shift in momentum in the first half. The other Wolverines combined to shoot 11-for-44 from the field. Next up for UConn is old conference foe Syracuse in Thursday’s semifinals.

STARRED

Chris Boucher, Oregon: Boucher set a school record for blocks in a game with nine while also scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the Ducks’ win over Arkansas State.

Christen Cunningham, Samford: Cunningham shot 8-for-10 from three, scoring 26 points in the Bulldogs’ 75-58 win over Idaho.

Darien Nelson-Henry, Penn: In a game that included the nation’s leading scorer in La Salle’s Jordan Price, Nelson-Henry scored 31 points and grabbed 14 boards in the Quakers’ 80-64 win over the Explorers.

STRUGGLED

Anthony Lindauer, High Point: Lindauer went scoreless in the Panthers’ 49-46 loss at Georgia, missing all ten of his field goal attempts.

Amar Stukes, La Salle: Stukes shot 1-for-12 from the field in the Explorers’ Big Five loss to Penn, scoring two points.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 2 Maryland put together its most complete effort of the season to date in the title game of the Cancun Challenge, beating Rhode Island 86-63. Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon scored 17 apiece (on combined 13-for-14 shooting from the field) and Robert Carter Jr. added 15 for the Terrapins, who had five players score in double figures.
  • No. 6 Duke pulled away from preseason Ivy League favorite Yale in the second half winning by 19 in Durham. Matt Jones led four Blue Devils in double figures with 17 points.
  • No. 12 Virginia also pulled away in the second half of its game, outscoring Lehigh 45-28 over the final 20 minutes in their 80-54 win in Charlottesville. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with a game-high 23 points.
  • No. 21 Oregon moved to 5-0 with a 91-68 win over Arkansas State. Chris Boucher (17 points, nine rebounds, nine blocks) nearly tallied a triple-double, and Dwayne Benjamin scored 25 off the bench for the Ducks.
  • No. 25 Texas A&M beat Texas 84-73 at the Battle 4 Atlantis, winning the first meeting between the two programs since the Aggies moved from the Big 12 to the SEC. Danuel House scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Anthony Collins added 15, five and six assists. They’ll play Gonzaga in Thursday’s semifinals.

NOTABLES

  • Michael Gbinije scored 26 points, Trevor Cooney added 19 and freshman Tyler Lydon racked up 18, eight rebounds and six blocks at Syracuse took care of Charlotte, 83-70, at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
  • Florida rebounded from its loss to Purdue on Sunday with an 86-62 win over Vermont. Dorian Finney-Smith accounted for 20 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
  • Wake Forest beat UCLA 80-77 to earn a third-place finish at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Devin Thomas led the Demon Deacons with 21 points and nine rebounds, with Tony Parker pacing the Bruins with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Bronson Koenig led six players in double figures with 16 points as Wisconsin beat Prairie View A&M 85-67 in Madison. Ethan Happ grabbed eight rebounds and Nigel Hayes dished out seven assists for the winners.
  • Jeremy Senglin scored 23 points as Weber State beat Murray State 75-59 to win the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida. Joel Bolomboy added 15 points and ten rebounds.
  • Geoffrey Groselle scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Creighton rolled to the Men Who Speak Up Main Event title with a 97-76 win over UMass in Las Vegas. Five Bluejays scored in double figures, and as a team they shot 51 percent from the field.

Pregame Shootaround: No. 1 North Carolina back in action

Kennedy Meeks, Joel Berry II
Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: Richmond at Wake Forest, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

Wake Forest picked up a result over the weekend that is better than some may realize, coming back to win at Bucknell after going through a 2014-15 season in which they went 2-10 on the road. Now Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons host a Richmond team that should be a factor in the Atlantic 10 race, one that’s led by forwards Terry Allen and T.J. Cline and guard ShawnDre’ Jones. Wake, which is still without the injured Codi Miller-McIntyre, will counter with talented forwards Devin Thomas and Konstantinos Mitoglou and a freshman guard in Bryant Crawford who’s gotten off to a good start to his college career.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Illinois at Providence, 7:00 p.m. (FS1)

Look, you don’t pass up any opportunity to watch Providence’s Kris Dunn do his thing at the point; he’s appointment television. Tonight’s matchup with the Fighting Illini should be interesting, as John Groce’s team has faced two solid opponents in North Florida (loss) and North Dakota State (win). Mike Thorne Jr. has played well thus far, and Illinois has junior wing Malcolm Hill as well. They aren’t at full strength, but Illinois has the pieces to challenge the Friars if not leave Providence with the win.

SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. Top-ranked North Carolina is back in action, as they’ll host Wofford in Chapel Hill (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Guards Joel Berry II, Nate Britt and wing Theo Pinson have gotten off to good starts, but it would be nice to see UNC get Justin Jackson going after two quiet outings to begin his sophomore campaign.

2. After having their season-opening game in Okinawa cancelled after one half of basketball, No. 10 Gonzaga opens its season at home against Northern Arizona (10:00 p.m.). How the Bulldog guards deal with NAU’s Kris Yanku will be interesting to watch, not to mention how Mark Few uses the triumvirate of Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domas Sabonis on the court at the same time.

3. No. 21 Purdue will look to win its third straight game, as they host Incarnate Word (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Will senior center A.J. Hammons, who’s been held out of Purdue’s exhibition and first two regular season games for unspecified reasons, be available to play? If so, this is a good opportunity to see how head coach Matt Painter will juggle the rotation of Hammons, Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan.

4. What has been a tough day for Arkansas on the recruiting front could be even tougher tonight, as the Razorback host 2-0 Akron in Fayetteville (8:00 p.m., SEC+). Moses Kingsley accounted for 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the Hogs’ season-opening win, and he’ll have to be a force throughout the season given Arkansas’ limited front court options.

5. Cincinnati, which has won its first two games in blowout fashion, hits the road to take on Bowling Green (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Mick Cronin’s Bearcats are a team to keep an eye on this season, not only in the American Athletic Conference but nationally as well.

6. Just a couple days removed from picking up a win at rival New Mexico State, New Mexico hosts Loyola-Chicago (9:00 p.m.) in what should be an entertaining matchup. While UNM’s Cullen Neal and Loyola’s Milton Doyle are two players to watch so is UNM guard Elijah Brown, who won Mountain West Player of the Week honors after scoring 31 points Sunday night.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • UC Irvine at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
  • IUPUI at NC State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Buffalo at Saint Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m.
  • Southern Utah at UNLV, 10:30 p.m.

Pregame Shootaround: The season is finally here!

Kyle Wiltjer
Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 Gonzaga, 10:00 p.m. (ESPN)

The Panthers and Bulldogs made the long trek to Okinawa for their season opener, and it should be an interesting game between the two. Pittsburgh is looking to return to the NCAA tournament after narrowly missing out last season, with point guard James Robinson and forwards Jamel Artis and Michael Young leading the way. As for Gonzaga, Mark Few has one of the top front courts in the country at his disposal featuring Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domas Sabonis (who took a hard fall in their exhibition last weekend). The question for Gonzaga: how well will a backcourt hit hard by departures perform? We’ll get your first piece of evidence Friday night.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 1 North Carolina vs. Temple, 7:00 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

The Tar Heels enter the season as one of the favorites to win the national title, and they’ll be without their best player for the next couple weeks. Marcus Paige is out with a broken bone in his non-shooting hand, which means other perimeter options will be needed to step forward as distributors and perimeter shooters. Joel Berry II, Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson are three of the perimeter players to keep an eye on for the Tar Heels, who face a Temple squad that has to account for the graduation of point guard Will Cummings. The Owls are hoping to reach the NCAA tournament after missing out in each of the last two seasons, and a good showing in Annapolis could help Jaylen Bond and company in that quest.

WHO’S ON UPSET ALERT: Auburn -2 (vs. UAB, 9:30 p.m. SEC Network)

While there’s heightened optimism on The Plains thanks to the arrival of a talented recruiting class, and rightfully so, this is a dangerous opener to Bruce Pearl’s second season at Auburn. UAB returns all five starters from a team that won the Conference USA tournament title and upset Iowa State in the NCAA tournament, including forward William Lee and guard Robert Brown. The question for UAB is how they’ll match up with Auburn’s rugged power forward Cinmeon Bowers, who averaged 12.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game as a junior. Look for this to be one of the better games of the day.

SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. Shaka Smart makes his debut as head coach at Texas and he’ll do so in Shanghai, with the Longhorns taking on a very young Washington team. Led by guard Isaiah Taylor, Texas returns four starters and added a talented recruiting class that includes Tevin Mack and Kerwin Roach.

2. There’s a lot of optimism in Milwaukee as Marquette’s talented freshman class led by Henry Ellenson opens up regular season play. However, they better be careful with a Belmont team that has plenty of experience and is the preseason pick to win the OVC. Senior guard Craig Bradshaw leads the way for Rick Byrd’s Bruins, who are tough to slow down on the offensive end of the floor.

3. The Mountain West will be involved in some intriguing opening night match-ups Friday night. Preseason favorite San Diego State hosts a dangerous Illinois State team, with another contender in Boise State visiting one of the preseason favorites in the Big Sky in Montana. And then there’s the battle of possible league dark horses, as Fresno State hosts an experienced Pepperdine squad.

4. Steve Prohm leads No. 7 Iowa State up against Colorado in Sioux Falls in his first regular season game as head coach. The Cyclones are expected to be contenders both in the Big 12 and nationally thanks to the return of players such as Georges Niang and Monté Morris. They’ll face a Colorado team that has a lot of questions to answer, but they’re anchored by one of the better post players around in senior Josh Scott.

5. Defending national champion No. 5 Duke opens its regular season with a home game against Siena. Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils added a highly regarded freshman class to some solid returnees, including sophomore guard Grayson Allen who’s expected by many to break out this season.

6. No. 22 Baylor has a difficult season opener to deal with, as they’ll host Stephen F. Austin in Waco. Brad Underwood’s Lumberjacks have reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons, and this experienced group led by senior forward Thomas Walkup will not back down from this challenge. Baylor boasts one of the nation’s best front courts led by seniors Rico Gathers Sr. and Taurean Waller-Prince.

TOP 25 SCHEDULE

  • Colorado vs. No. 7 Iowa State, 5:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 Gonzaga, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
  • North Carolina A&T at No. 23 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
  • Albany at No. 2 Kentucky, 7:00 p.m. (SEC Network)
  • No. 1 North Carolina vs. Temple, 7:00 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
  • Siena at No. 5 Duke, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Mount St. Mary’s at No. 3 Maryland, 7:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • Morgan State at No. 6 Virginia, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Michigan at No. 25 Michigan, 7:00 p.m.
  • Eastern Illinois at No. 15 Indiana, 7:00 p.m.
  • Florida Atlantic at No. 13 Michigan State, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Fairleigh Dickinson at No. 11 Villanova, 7:00 p.m.
  • Maine at No. 20 Connecticut, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Saint Francis (PA) at No. 19 Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Colorado at No. 4 Kansas, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Charleston Southern at No. 10 Wichita State, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Austin Peay at No. 18 Vanderbilt, 8:00 p.m. (SEC Network)
  • McNeese State at No. 21 LSU, 9:00 p.m. (SEC Network)
  • Western Illinois at No. 17 Wisconsin, 9:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • Pacific at No. 12 Arizona, 9:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
  • Stephen F. Austin at No. 22 Baylor, 9:30 p.m.
  • Southern Utah at No. 16 Utah, 10:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
  • Rice at No. 14 California, 11:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)