Thursday’s Morning Shootaround: A triple dose of buzzer beaters


Purdue 63, Penn State 62: JaJuan Johnson (full post here):


One thought on Penn State — this team is a bucket by Jared Sullinger and a bucket by JaJuan Johnson away from being 5-2 in the Big Ten with wins over Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, and Illinois.

Indiana State 70, Missouri State 69: Jake Kelly (full post here):


Memphis 76, Southern Miss 75: Charles Carmouche (full post here):


No. 11 Texas 81, No. 10 Texas A&M 60: See here.

No. 1 Ohio State 70, Iowa 48: See here.

Utah 82, New Mexico 72; Colorado State 78, UNLV 63: Remember all that talk about the MWC getting four teams into the NCAA Tournament? It doesn’t look like it is going to happen. The Lobos are now 1-3 in league play and struggled late in their non-conference schedule. The Rebels are 2-3 and lost some games it should have won back in the December. These two result sets up a huge game on Saturday between UNLV and New Mexico. The loser may cost themselves a shot at a tournament bid barring a complete turn around and huge winning streak down the stretch.

Colorado State now becomes an interesting case. They are 13-5 with wins over Southern Miss, Ole Miss, and Appalachian State, but that is not a great non-conference resume. At least not tournament-worthy. But with a forward combination of Andy Ogide and Travis Franklin, keep an eye on this team. If they can spark another upset or two in MWC play, they have a shot at getting a bid.

No. 5 Duke 92, NC State 78: Duke was led by 22 points and six assists from Nolan Smith and 18 points from Kyle Singler, but it really was a team effort from the Blue Devils as they opened up a 14 point halftime lead and held off a couple of late surges by the Wolfpack. Mason Plumlee must be reading BIAH, because after I criticized Duke’s interior play, he’s been unreal. He has 40 rebounds — 15 offensive — and 10 blocks in the past three games, including 10 boards and six blocks last night. His brother had his best game of the season as well last night, finishing with 11 points and eight boards.

Duke is the only marquee team in the ACC, which means that every bubble team in the conference — which is basically everyone other than Duke — is going to give the Blue Devils their best game.

No. 15 Louisville 88, St. John’s 63: I don’t think you can get a much more ideal performance out of the Cardinals this season. Preston Knowles had 25 points, the uber-underrated Kyle Kuric had 20, and Peyton Siva had 10 points, 10 assists, and seven steals as the Cardinals rolled over the Johnnies. They shot 62% from the floor, made 13 threes, forced 25 turnovers, and had a number of highlight worthy dunks.

No. 16 Notre Dame 66, Cincinnati 58: The Irish nearly threw it into cruise control too soon. They were up big during the second half on the Bearcats before Cincy threw on a press and cut the lead to five. But it was too little, too late as the Bearcats couldn’t overcome Notre Dame’s offensive balance. All five starters scored between 11 and 13 points, but the biggest boost may have been Carleton Scott, who had six points coming off the bench in a surprise return for the Irish. They had gone 2-2 in his absence.

Marshall 75, West Virginia 71: The Mountaineers simply came out flat against arguably their biggest rival, found themselves down 24 early in the second half, and needed some poor decision making by the Thundering Herd — including fouling two three point shooters in the final minute — just to make it remotely interesting. And this is a team coming off of wins over Georgetown and Purdue? Damier Pitts had a career high 25 points.

No. 6 San Diego State 68, Air Force 55: The Aztecs improved to 20-0 on the season as they once again needed a late surge to pull away from an inferior opponent. DJ Gay continued his hot shooting, finishing with 20 points on 6-11 shooting from three.

No. 21 St. Mary’s 67, San Diego 56: Rob Jones had 18 points and 13 boards playing against his former team.

BC 70, Virginia 67: The Eagles kept pace with the Blue Devils and Florida State atop the ACC with the win. Reggie Jackson had 16 points, seven boards, and seven assists while hitting a key three late in the game to break a 58-all tie.

Florida State 55, Miami FL 53: The Seminoles overcame a first half in which they shot just 4-25 from the floor to beat the Hurricanes.

Old Dominion 64, James Madison 58: Another huge win for the Monarchs in CAA play. JMU had been in a three way tie for first place with ODU a game back.

Georgia Tech 74, Wake Forest 39: Hmm. Tech is not very good. They were up 74-32 at one point with six minutes left when their bench emptied. And to think, two years ago today, Jeff Teague and James Johnson had led the Demon Deacons to a 16-0 record and a No. 1 ranking in the country.

Richmond 68, GW 58: The Colonials blew a 33-24 halftime lead to Richmond, and thanks to 30 points and 10 boards from Justin Harper, the Spiders knocked GW from the ranks of the A-10’s unbeaten.

Cal St. Fullerton 89, Long Beach State 87: LBSU picked up their first loss in Big West play.

Other Notable Games:

  • South Carolina 81, Arkansas 74 OT
  • Oklahoma State 96, Iowa State 87 OT
  • Vandy 84, Ole Miss 74
  • Temple 73, Penn 56
  • East Carolina 74, UCF 62
  • VCU 71, Georgia State 54
  • Xavier 79, St. Bonaventure 65
  • Northern Iowa 77, Wichita State 74
  • Bucknell 75, Lafayette 56
  • UAB 67, SMU 53
  • Ball State 60, Eastern Michigan 51
  • Duquesne 78, La Salle 61
  • Hofstra 66, UNC-Wilmington 57
  • George Mason 71, Drexel 57
  • Rhode Island 64, St. Joes’s 59

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

kansas mccullar
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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”

Clemson leading scorer Hall withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Tigers

clemson pj hall
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson leading scorer PJ Hall is returning to college after withdrawing from the NBA draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10 forward took part in the NBA combine and posted his decision to put off the pros on social media.

Hall led the Tigers with 15.3 points per game this past season. He also led the Tigers with 37 blocks, along with 5.7 rebounds. Hall helped Clemson finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference while posting a program-record 14 league wins.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Hall gained experience from going through the NBA’s combine that will help the team next season. “I’m counting on him and others to help lead a very talented group,” he said.

Hall was named to the all-ACC third team last season as the Tigers went 23-10.