Late Night Snacks: Kansas takes down unbeaten Toledo

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 16 Kansas 93, Toledo 83

The Jayhawks continued their difficult non-conference schedule by hosting unbeaten Toledo on Monday night and Kansas prevailed with a 93-83 victory in Lawrence. Naadir Tharpe continued his improved play of-late with 20 points and eight assists to lead the way for No. 16 Kansas as they outlasted a solid offensive effort from Toledo. Although Toledo hasn’t faced anyone the caliber of Kansas this season, they showed that they can hang with anyone in the country offensively, and they’ll be a tough team to beat in the MAC.

CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on this one and how if affects both Kansas and Toledo going forward.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 6 Oklahoma State 92, Robert Morris 66

The Cowboys picked up a home win over Robert Morris, but the news here is Oklahoma State losing center Michael Cobbins to an apparent Achilles’ tendon injury. Cobbins’ status going forward seems uncertain and we should know more in the coming days, but it would be a major loss for the Cowboys.

2) Louisiana Tech 102, Oklahoma 98, overtime

Busy night of hoops in the Sooner State, huh? Preseason mid-major darling Louisiana Tech withstood a ridiculous three-pointer from Cameron Clark at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime, as the Bulldogs held on for the four-point win over Oklahoma. This gives Louisiana Tech a nice win going into Conference USA play after the Bulldogs fell to St. Mary’s and Oklahoma State earlier in the year.

3) St. Louis 57, Vanderbilt 49

Is America sleeping on the Billikens? St. Louis has won six straight — with their only losses on the year to unbeatens: Wisconsin and Wichita State — and their defense is one of the best in the country as the Billikens completely shut down Vanderbilt’s offense in their own gym. St. Louis held the Commodores to 33 percent shooting and 17 percent shooting from the three-point line in the win and they’ll head into the Atlantic 10 with a ton of momentum.

STARRED

1) Tennessee had a great night from its supporting cast as the Volunteers rolled past Virginia 87-52. Jordan McRae (21 points) and Jarnell Stokes (20 points) led the charge as usual for Tennessee, but it was the offensive play of Josh Richardson (20 points, 8-for-9 shooting) and Antonio Barton (14 points, 5-for-6 shooting) that took Tennessee to a new level.

2) T.J. Warren led North Carolina State with 24 points and nine rebounds as the Wolfpack escaped with a 68-64 win over UNC-Greensboro on the road. Warren knocked in 1-of-2 free throws to give North Carolina State a three-point lead with 23.4 seconds remaining before the Wolfpack got a stop to seal the game.

3) Despite missing starters Gary Bell Jr. and Sam Dower Jr., No. 24 Gonzaga cruised past San Francisco 69-41 behind a balanced scoring effort as Drew Barnham knocked in five three-pointers and finished with a team-high 15 points.

STRUGGLED

1) Southern 116, Champion Baptist College 12. Nuff said.

2) BYU fell behind 40-28 at halftime and never recovered as the Cougars fell on the road to Pepperdine 80-74 in a WCC contest. The difference in this one: three-point shooting. BYU was 1-for-11 from beyond the arc while Pepperdine was 13-for-24. BYU has now dropped four straight games.

3) VMI trailed by a point at halftime against Clemson before being blown out of the water in the second half of an 80-50 road loss. VMI averages 89 points a game, but was held to a season-low of 50 points, including only 18 in the second half.

OTHER TOP 25 SCORES

  • No. 9 Baylor 81, Oral Roberts 55

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

Leave a comment

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

Allen Dean Steele /Allsport
Leave a comment

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

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.