Thursday’s Shootaround: UNLV survives in 2OT in an exciting night of hoops


No. 20 UNLV 94, UC-Santa Barbara 88 2OT: This game had about as wild of a finish as you’ll see in a basketball game. After Mike Moser hit his sixth and final three of the game, UNLV took a ten point lead with just two minutes left in the game. But thanks to a series of turnovers and missed free throws from UNLV and a little bit of luck for the Gauchos down the stretch, UCSB was able to force overtime. Down three with just two seconds left on the clock, Orlando Johnson — who finished with 36 points — was fouled by UNLV. He made the first and missed the second, but 7’3″ Greg Somogyi got the loose ball and scored on the putback (see the 30 second mark).


There was a bit of controversy that the game even got to that point. Joe Nunnally was called for a charge on a dunk that would have given the Gauchos a one point lead with a free throw coming. In the first overtime, UCSB hit back-to-back threes to take a three point lead. After Bellfield tied the game with 40 seconds on the clock with a three of his own, Nunnally was fouled shooting a three with 13 seconds left. At the other end of the floor, however, Chace Stanback hit a fadeaway three-pointer — that was described by Moser as “a beauty. I almost cried watching that ball go in” — that sent the game into a second overtime, where UNLV pulled away down the stretch to win it.

Mike Moser was unbelievable. He finished with 34 points (25 of which came after halftime), 10 boards and three assists, carrying the Rebels in the second half. It was Moser’s sixth double-double of the season and easily his most impressive scoring output. But the most important part of Moser’s game tonight was the six threes he hit. He came into the game shooting just 2-17 from beyond the arc, which was the only weakness in his game.

Also of note: both of the up-three, late-game strategies failed here. UNLV fouled, and UCSB got an offensive rebound. UCSB opted to play straight up, and UNLV hit a tough three.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge Day 2: After going 6-0 on Day 1 and winning the first two games of the night, I missed on three of the last four games. 9-3 ain’t bad, though.

No. 5 North Carolina 60, No. 7 Wisconsin 57: See here.

Indiana 86, North Carolina State 75: This was an important win for the Hoosiers. They went on the road and knocked off a good-if-not-great Wolfpack team in front of a national audience, and did so while getting impressive performances out of Jordy Hulls, Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. But if you are a Hoosier fan, don’t take this win to mean that Indiana is going to compete for the Big Ten title. They can score, that’s for sure. And Indiana has a shot to make the NCAA Tournament. But right now they aren’t good enough defensively or physical enough in the paint to be anything more than in the same hodge-podge that Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois currently find themselves in.

Michigan State 65, Florida State 49: Tom Izzo finally got some scoring from their perimeter, as Keith Appling went for 24 points and Brandon Wood added 16, 10 boards and five assists. That’s a good sign. For Florida State, there aren’t many good signs. This team still cannot score.

Minnesota 58, Virginia Tech 55: Ugly loss for Virginia Tech, who lost to a Minnesota team that was missing Ralph Sampson and Trevor Mbakwe. If the Hokies have any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, losing games like this aren’t going to help. The game was lost when, down one with 8.5 seconds left, Virginia Tech threw an inbounds pass that bounced off of Robert Brown’s hands and into the back court for a turnover.

Wake Forest 55, Nebraska 53: The Demon Deacons picked up a road win against Nebraska, and while Nebraska is still Nebraska, a road win for Wake Forest is not easy to come by these days. CJ Harris won it with a wide-open layup that came off some atrocious pick-and-roll defense.

Penn State 62, Boston College 54: Tim Frazier had 22 points and five assists. He was on my FanDuel fantasy team. That’s all I got from this mess.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 14 Kansas 77, Florida Atlantic 54: This is the same Kansas team, just on the mainland now. Thomas Robinson had 19 points, 17 boards and four blocks, but shot 4-13 from the floor. Tyshawn Taylor had 18 points and four assists, but Elijah Johnson? He went scoreless and had seven of the Jayhawk’s 17 turnovers.

No. 17 Pitt 80, Duquesne 69: Dante Taylor returned to the Panther lineup to score 15 points and 11 boards as Pitt pulled away from Duquesne in the second half.

No. 18 Gonzaga 73, Notre Dame 53: It is going to be a long, long season in South Bend without Tim Abromaitis. The Irish simply don’t have anyone that can score. David Stockton had 15 points and three assists off the bench while Elias Harris went for 11 points, 15 boards and four assists.

No. 22 Creighton 85, San Diego State 83: See here.

George Mason 61, Bucknell 57: The Patriots, believe it or not, actually out-executed the Bison down the stretch. Ryan Pearson led the way with 16 points as George Mason picked up a much needed win against Patriot favorite Bucknell.

Denver 67, Utah State 54: Can we call the Pioneers for real yet? I know that the Aggies were without Brady Jardine, but behind 15 points each from Chris Udofia and Rob Lewis, Denver became the first team since Feb. 21st, 2009, to win at the Spectrum in Logan.

Elizabeth City State 69, Norfolk State 57: Yes, that’s the same Norfolk State that almost beat Marquette.

St. Joe’s 62, Drexel 49: The Hawks knocked off Drexel, dropping the Dragons to 2-3 on the season. More impressive? They did it with Carl Jones and Langston Galloway both having off nights. CJ Aiken, however, went for 13 points and nine blocks.

Brown 65, URI 56: Jim Baron benched his starters trying to light a spark under this team, but nothing. Rhody dropped to 1-6 on the year as they lost to an Ivy also-ran.

Northern Iowa 69, Iowa State 62: Anthony James had 17 points and five boards to lead the Panthers to an impressive win over the Cyclones in Ames. UNI also has a win over Old Dominion on the road.

Other notable games:

– Ohio 70, Marshall 68
– Colorado State 65, Colorado 64
– Oral Roberts 68, Missouri State 63
– South Alabama 55, UAB 47
– Washington State 69, Grambling 37
– Boise State 108, Drake 64
– New Mexico 65, Idaho State 41
– BYU 87, Northern Arizona 52
– USC 56, UC Riverside 35

Top performers:

Keith Appling, Michigan State: Appling had 24 points and seven boards, providing a perimeter punch for the Spartans as they knocked off Florida State.

Orlando Johnson, UC-Santa Barbara: As impressive as Mike Moser’s 34 points and 10 boards were, Orlando Johnson may have been better, finishing with 36 points and 10 boards as the Gauchos forced UNLV to double-overtime.

Alfonzo McKinnie, Eastern Illinois: McKinnie had 24 points and 14 boards as EIU knocked off Maine in overtime.

Doug McDermott, Creighton: McDermott played like an all-american, going for 25 points and 12 boards as the Bluejays came from behind twice to knock off San Diego State.

LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State: The talented freshman had 21 points after playing just 11 minutes the day after Thanksgiving, leading the Cowboys to a win over a talented-but-underperforming Tulsa team.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

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.

George Washington adopts new name ‘Revolutionaries’ to replace ‘Colonials’

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WASHINGTON — George Washington University’s sports teams will now be known as the Revolutionaries, the school announced.

Revolutionaries replaces Colonials, which had been GW’s name since 1926. Officials made the decision last year to drop the old name after determining it no longer unified the community.

GW said 8,000 different names were suggested and 47,000 points of feedback made during the 12-month process. Revolutionaries won out over the other final choices of Ambassadors, Blue Fog and Sentinels.

“I am very grateful for the active engagement of our community throughout the development of the new moniker,” president Mark S. Wrighton said. “This process was truly driven by our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and the result is a moniker that broadly reflects our community – and our distinguished and distinguishable GW spirit.”

George the mascot will stay and a new logo developed soon for the Revolutionaries name that takes effect for the 2023-24 school year. The university is part of the Atlantic 10 Conference.