Late Night Snacks: No. 6 Kansas hangs on and Colorado fails to bounce back

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Games of the Day

1. No. 6 Kansas 69, Temple 62
The Owls turned the ball over just three times at Allen Fieldhouse but that wasn’t enough to take down the Jayhawks. The reason why: they shot 30.7% from the field, with Kansas big man Jeff Withey serving as a major deterrent in the paint. Khalif Wyatt led all scorers with 26 points while Kevin Young led three Jayhawks in double figures with 16 (and grabbed ten rebounds).

2. Wichita State 69, Bradley 63
Cleanthony Early scored 24 points and grabbed four rebounds to lead the Shockers to the win in Peoria. Dyricus Simms-Edwards and Walt Lemon Jr. scored 15 points apiece to lead the Braves but that wasn’t enough in a matchup of teams that entered Sunday 2-0 in Missouri Valley play. Now 14-1 on the season (3-0 MVC), Wichita State has done a lot more than simply tread water while dealing with their injury issues.

3. Tulsa 48, SMU 47
The only reason why this game is here is because a Pat Swilling Jr. three-pointer with 3.8 seconds remaining determined the outcome. Offensively the matchup of teacher (Larry Brown) and student (Danny Manning) was ugly, with the two teams combining to shoot 8-of-41 from deep. But the Mustangs didn’t find Swilling Jr. in the first half when they played zone (five three-pointers)  and they allowed him to shake free on a baseline out of bounds play for the game-winner. Swilling Jr. led all scorers with 18 points and Jalen Jones paced the Mustangs with 15.

Important Outcomes 

1. Arizona State 65, Colorado 56 
The question regarding Colorado was how they would bounce back from Thursday’s defeat at No. 3 Arizona and they looked good in the beginning as they jumped out to a 13-2 lead. But Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils refused to wild, methodically fighting their way back into the game and ultimately beating the Buffaloes to move to 2-0 in Pac-12 play. Jahii Carson made just one field goal on the night but his teammates picked up the slack, with Carrick Felix scoring a game-high 20 points and Jordan Bachynski tallying 16 points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots. Now 0-2 in league play, Colorado faces a very important weekend at home with the LA schools (USC and UCLA) visiting Boulder.

2. Virginia 61, North Carolina 52
Well, Reggie Bullock returned for North Carolina and looked good as he scored 22 points. But the other Tar Heels didn’t fare so well, shooting a combined 12-of-42 from the field in the loss in Charlottesville. Joe Harris was the lone Cavalier in double figures with 19 points but the biggest news for UVA (besides the win of course) was the return of point guard Jontel Evans. Evans, who missed the last four games due to the re-aggravation of an injury to his right foot, played 21 minutes off the bench and finished with eight points and six assists.

3. Oregon 79, Oregon State 66
Freshman Damyean Dotson scored 15 of his career-high 21 points in the first half and senior guard Johnathan Loyd gave Oregon a boost off the bench in the second half to push the Ducks past their in-state rival in Corvallis. Ahmad Starks led Oregon State with 21 points but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Dana Altman’s group in the second half, as Oregon scored 51 points in the final 20 minutes.

Starred

1. G Kenny Boynton (Florida) 
Entering Sunday’s game the senior guard shot 7-of-39 from beyond the arc in Florida’s last six games. Against Yale Boynton got out of his slump in a big way, shooting 8-of-10 from deep and scoring a game-high 28 points.

2. G Trey Burke (Michigan) 
It’s time for Burke to get more National Player of the Year pub. The sophomore finished with 19 points (7-of-10 FG), 12 assists and just one turnover in No. 2 Michigan’s 95-67 win over Iowa.

3. C Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State) 
Jeff Withey wasn’t the only 7-footer to tally nine blocks on Sunday, as Bachynski did so while also accounting for 16 points and seven rebounds in Arizona State’s 65-56 win over Colorado. Bachynski has been one of the most improved players in the country for the 13-2 Sun Devils.

Struggled

1. Tulsa and SMU from beyond the arc
Obviously there are marksmanship issues when a game finishes 48-47. But the two teams combined to shoot 8-of-41 from three, with the Golden Hurricane accounting for all eight makes (SMU was 0-of-13). At least SMU shot 17-of-20 from the foul line.

2. G Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse) 
Carter-Williams did not have one of his best days at the office in Syracuse’s 55-44 win over South Florida, shooting 1-of-13 from the field. Good news for the Orange is that Brandon Triche scored 20 and James Southerland added 17, and to his credit Carter-Williams tallied nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.

3. Grambling State
The Tigers dropped to 0-12 on the season with an 82-43 home loss to Southern. And with Mississippi Valley State picking up its first win of the season (79-68 over Alabama A&M) the Tigers are one of two teams still searching for their first victory. The other is Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Three Facts 

1. While Austin Hollins’ marksmanship from deep (hitting five straight three-pointers in the second half) stole the show in No. 9 Minnesota’s win over Northwestern there was also a milestone. Rodney Williams became the 38th player in school history to score 1,000 points, finishing the game with nine points (1,005 for his career).

2. Siena’s 11-game losing streak is the program’s longest since losing 15 in a row to end the 1995-96 season. Rider, in beating Siena 72-53, swept the season series for the first time (the Broncs joined the MAAC in 1997).

3. With their 95-67 win over Iowa, No. 2 Michigan moved to 15-0 on the season. That’s their best start since the 1985-86 team won its first 16 games on its way to a 28-5 record and a Big Ten regular season title.

Top 25 Scores

No. 2 Michigan 95, Iowa 67
No. 6 Kansas 69, Temple 62
No. 7 Syracuse 55, South Florida 44
No. 9 Minnesota 69, Northwestern 51
No. 13 Florida 79, Yale 58

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

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Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.

Bruce Pearl: ‘Good chance’ Auburn returns four players testing the waters

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Bruce Pearl told reporters on Monday that there is a “good chance” that his Auburn program will return all four of the players that are currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

“I think there’s a good chance they’re all going to consider coming back,” Pearl said. “There’s a chance they’re all going to come back, but that’s been the case since the beginning.”

“I just feel as we get closer to the deadline and they gather more and more information, I think that chance improves. It would not surprise me, still, to see a couple of them stay in.”

Those four players are Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season, while Heron was arguably their best player and Harper a steady floor general that is the piece that holds everything together. Wiley did not play after he was ruled ineligible as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. If he returns he will be eligible to play the 2018-19 season.

Heron will be the most interesting decision of the four. A former McDonald’s All-American, when he declared for the draft last month, he announced that he intended to sign with an agent. But he has told reporters in the last week that he never actually signed and is still “50-50” on whether or not he will return. He was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Wiley was, but he did not make enough of an impression to earn himself a first round guarantee. Brown and Harper are very unlikely to be drafted, but both juniors will get feedback from NBA teams on what they might need to do to play their way into the league.

Auburn is coming off of a year where they shared the SEC regular season title with Tennessee, but they struggled down the stretch of the season after Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome ankle injury. As it stands, under the assumption that Heron and Wiley are gone, we currently have the Tigers ranked as a top 15 team in the country in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

With Heron and Wiley back, however, Auburn will have the pieces to make a case as one of college basketball’s five best teams next season.

Forward Lance Thomas transferring from Louisville

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With Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility and Ray Spalding having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, new Louisville head coach Chris Mack had some holes to fill in the front court ahead of his first season at the helm. There’s now another departure to account for, as it was announced Tuesday afternoon that 6-foot-8 forward Lance Thomas has decided to transfer.

Thomas, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school, appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Losing Thomas may not appear to be a big deal based upon his production as a freshman. But, given the combination of player departures and misses on the recruiting trail this spring it can also be argued that Louisville is not in a position where it can afford any more personnel losses.

Louisville is now down to four scholarship players in the front court, wings V.J. King and Jordan Nwora and forwards Malik Williams and Steven Enoch, with Enoch eligible after sitting out last season after transferring in from UConn.

Williams made 12 starts as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game, with King averaging 8.6 points per game and Nwora 5.7 points per game. Enoch played in 29 games at UConn during the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per appearance.

Four-star wing Romeo Weems commits to DePaul

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DePaul landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2019 Tuesday afternoon, as four-star small forward Romeo Weems announced that he will be a Blue Demon. Weems, who attends New Haven HS in New Haven, Michigan, picked DePaul over Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon and is considered by most major scouting services to be a Top 50 prospect in the 2019 graduating class.

The 6-foot-6 Weems plays his grassroots basketball for The Family on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this spring. Weems also has experience playing for USA Basketball, as he was part of the Under-16 team that won the FIBA Americas U16 title last year. Weems will also be part of the training camp from which the Under-17 team will be selected next month in preparation for this summer’s FIBA Under-17 World Championships.

DePaul managing to land a commitment from a prospect of Weems’ caliber, a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions while also being productive offensively, could be the shot in the arm that Dave Leitao’s program so desperately needs if they’re to improve their standing within the Big East.

Since making the move from Conference USA in 2005, DePaul has finished above .500 in a season just once (20-14 in 2006-07) with that also being the only time in which the Blue Demons finished above .500 in Big East play (9-7). Since Leitao, who led DePaul to its most recent NCAA tournament in 2005, returned for his second stint at the school the Blue Demons have gone 29-65.

Getting out of Allstate Arena and moving to the new Wintrust Arena ahead of last season was an important move for the DePaul program, but it’s been clear that the rebuild won’t be a “quick fix.” Bringing in a talent of Weems’ caliber should help DePaul moving forward, with the key now being to recruit well enough to ensure that the talented wing has ample help when he arrives on campus next year.

Among the players currently on the roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019 are guards Devin Gage and Justin Roberts and wing Darious Hall, who will sit out the 2018-19 season after transferring to DePaul from Arkansas. Hall appeared in 35 games for the Razorbacks this past season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game.