GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse escaped with a 56-50 win over St. Francis (NY) as they scored the go-ahead bucket in the final minute thanks to Michael Gbinije. The No. 9 team in the country moved to 4-0 as they prepare for the Maui Invitational. Our Rob Dauster took a longer look on the game here.
1. No. 6 Duke 91, UNC Asheville 55: Jabari Parker became the first Duke freshman to score 20 points in his first for games, finishing with 21 points and 10 boards.
3. Providence 70, Vermont 49: The final score wasn’t as important as who showed up in the box score: Kris Dunn. He only played 21 minutes coming off the bench, but he finished with eight assists and three steals. Dunn adds another dimension to the Friar attack and allows Bryce Cotton to spend more time playing off the ball.
1. Keith Appling: Appling went for 25 points and seven assists as No. 1 Michigan State beat Portland 82-67, but the Spartans needed every bit of that performance from him. Portland was down one midway through the second half, a game after MSU barely hung on to beat Columbia.
2. Nick Johnson and Gabe York: The question mark with Arizona this season: outside shooting. York and Johnson tonight: 36 points, 13-for-18 from the floor, 7-for-10 from three.
3. R.J. Hunter, Ryan Harrow and Devonta White: Georgia State’s three-headed back court combined for 48 points and 11 assists in a win over McNeese State. They’ll get Alabama tomorrow with a chance to play in Madison Square Garden on the line.
1. C.J. Fair: Seven points on 2-for-13 shooting on a night when Syracuse needed someone to step up? Not a good sign.
2. Rhode Island: The Rams trailed Division II Metro State 40-30 at halftime of the Preseason NIT opener before rallying for a 66-63 win.
3. UCLA’s crowd: That’s not a lot of people:
The best win of the night may belong to Southern Miss, who went into Fargo and knocked off North Dakota State.
Virginia Tech junior forward C.J. Barksdale and is back from suspension and scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in a 105-92 win over VMI.
Wally Judge and Kadeem Jack each had double-doubles in Rutgers win over Canisius.
SMU struggled to defend the three-point line as they allowed a mediocre shooting Arkansas team to go 11-for-22 from behind the three-point line in a 89-78 road loss.
Tennessee got 20 points from Jordan McRae in a win over The Citadel.
All the good that the Mercer did by knocking off Seton Hall on Saturday was erased when they lost at Evansville on Monday.
Cal cruised past Southern Utah 75-47, with Tyrone Wallace going for 15 points.
Nevada lost to Cal State-Bakersfield.
Colorado’s Josh Scott scored 20 points in a win over Arkansas State.
Jaye Crockett went for 21 points and seven boards in a win over Texas Southern.
VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick
Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.
The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.
While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.
Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.
I will not be returning to Texas Southern University my time in Houston is up Ⓜ️ℹ️🅰️😏💯
Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.
The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.
Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.
Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.
Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.
Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.
The frosty relationship between Chris Webber and the University of Michigan could be thawing — thanks to an invitation from football head coach Jim Harbaugh.
On Friday, Harbaugh called in to WTKA’s “The M Zone” as show host Jamie Morris had Webber on the show. Harbaugh offered Webber the opportunity to be an honorary captain for the Michigan football team next season, to which Webber replied that he would love the opportunity.
Webber, a former member of the “Fab Five” who helped the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA tournament title-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, has not associated directly with the school, or with other members of the Fab Five, for many years.
The NCAA mandated that Webber and Michigan not associate with one another for 10 years after the Ed Martin booster scandal. Webber has always been reluctant to participate in anything Michigan or Fab Five related. When the famous Fab Five documentary was made a few years ago, Webber was the only member of the quintet not to participate in the making of the film. Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson all have a solid relationship with the University of Michigan at this point.
Although Webber still isn’t mending fences with the other Fab Five members, or the basketball program, returning to Michigan in some kind of official capacity is a big deal considering his past with the school.
Harbaugh and Webber haven’t decided on a game for next season yet as that will be something to watch for over the next several months.
Akoy Agau returning to Louisville as graduate transfer
Louisville received a boost to its frontcourt rotation on Friday as former big man Akoy Agau will return to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.
The 6-foot-8 Agau originally committed and enrolled at Louisville for a season and a half to begin his college hoops career before transferring to Georgetown. After leaving the Hoyas to play at SMU last season, Agau received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after battling injury for much of his career.
Agau gives Louisville an experienced forward who should earn some solid minutes next season. With the Mustangs during the 2017-18 season, Agau averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16.1 minutes per contest.
While this isn’t the biggest splash for the Cardinals, they have plenty of scholarships to use for next season as new head coach Chris Mack tries to find a stable rotation. Getting a graduate transfer like Agau, who should be familiar with the school and the conference at the very least, is a nice step for a one-year placeholder.