Late Night Snacks: No. 4 Wichita State, No. 5 San Diego State grab road wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 San Diego State 67, Boise State 65

Boise State was in complete control at home, on the verge of snagging the kind of win that could launch them back into the bubble conversation, when Xavier Thames and SDSU took control. He scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half, sparked a game-changing 15-0 run that gave the Aztecs their first second half lead, and, on the final SDSU possession, found Dwayne Polee for the game-winning three.

In the last two games, the Broncos have blown a 15-point second half lead against SDSU and an 11-point lead in the final 3:29 at UNLV. If they end up on the wrong side of the bubble, those are the two losses that are going to hurt.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) West Virginia 91, No. 21 Oklahoma 86 OT: Try to wrap your head around this: West Virginia is currently sitting tied for third in the Big 12, what is probably the consensus toughest conference in the country. West Virginia! Juwan Staten, as of this moment, might actually be the Big 12 Player of the Year. Juwan Staten! He had 20 points, 10 boards and six assists against Oklahoma and it went largely unmentioned. Bob Huggins has done one heckuva coaching job in Morgantown.

2) No. 25 Pittsburgh 59, Miami 55 OT: Lamar Patterson finished with 25 points, but his supporting struggled in one of the uglier games you’ll see this season. With four minutes left in the second half, the two teams had combined to score 21 points on 9-for-39 shooting after halftime. The good news for the Panthers? They avoid an ugly loss that would do some damage to their tournament resume, which still needs work. The bad news? This certainly didn’t help the perception that Pitt is living off of a weak schedule and their brand.

3) No. 4 Wichita State 65, Indiana State 58: The Shockers cleared the biggest hurdle in their pursuit of perfection on Wednesday night, outlasting a tough Indiana State team in Terre Haute.

STARRED:

1) Arkansas center Bobby Portis set a school scoring record for a freshman as he went for 35 points, nine boards and six blocks while shooting 14-for-17 from the floor in a 65-58 win over Alabama. He had 29 of the first 35 points for the Razorbacks. The rest of the team shot 8-for-40 from the field.

2) Delaware erased a 20 point deficit in the final nine minutes to remain undefeated in CAA play, and it was Davon Usher that was the reason why. He scored 42 points on 14-for-20 shooting and had seven steals in the 67-64 win. He scored 27 of those 40 points in the final 8:30.

3) Malcolm Brogdon had 17 points, 11 boards and seven assists in a win over Boston College, the 10th straight games that Brogdon has scored in double figures.

STRUGGLED:

1) Langston Galloway was held to just 3-for-13 shooting, finishing with just six points as No. 13 Saint Louis smacked around St. Joe’s, 65-49.

2) Tennessee’s Jordan McRae was just 6-for-18 from the field as Tennessee lost at Vanderbilt, 64-60. The Vols seem destined for another March spent curled up on the bubble’s cut line.

3) Richard Solomon was 1-for-7 from the floor and committed four fouls while Dwight Powell finished with 22 points, 11 boards and six assists as Cal followed up their win over No. 1 Arizona with their fourth loss in five games, getting drubbed at home by Stanford.

NOTABLES:

  • Portland fought back from a 22-point deficit to take a second half lead in Spokane, but Sam Dower stepped up late to push Gonzaga to the 71-66 win. The Bulldogs, who visit Memphis on Saturday, remain three games up in WCC play.
  • No. 20 Virginia moved to 9-1 in ACC play with a 77-67 win over Boston College. Of their nine league wins, eight have been by double-digit margins.
  • No. 13 Saint Louis set a school record with its 15th consecutive win, a 65.49 conquest at Saint Joseph’s. The Billikens limited the Hawks to 31.9% shooting from the field.
  • New Mexico remained a game behind San Diego State in the loss column with a 66-61 overtime victory over Wyoming. The Lobos and Aztecs don’t meet for the first time in Mountain West play until February 22.
  • With Dylon Cormier done for the season, Loyola (MD) still managed to hand American its first Patriot League defeat in Baltimore. Tyler Hubbard scored 20 points in leading the Greyhounds to the 62-58 win.
  • Purdue survived some shoddy late-game foul shooting to outlast Minnesota 77-74 in triple overtime. The game is the longest ever played at Mackey Arena.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • No. 10 Michigan 79, Nebraska 50
  • No. 14 Louisville 77, Houston 62

Nevada’s Jordan Caroline pulls out of 2018 NBA Draft

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Jordan Caroline has opted to pull his name out of the 2018 NBA Draft as he will return to Nevada for his senior season, he announced on Saturday.

The 6-foot-7 Caroline put together a strong season for the Wolf Pack as he averaged 17.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as Nevada made the Sweet 16 behind one of the most talented offenses in the country.

Caroline’s return is a huge boost for Nevada as they still await the NBA draft decisions of Caleb and Cody Martin.

Currently ranked No. 17 in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25 (without the Martin twins), the Wolf Pack will still have a ton of talent around Caroline next season. Five-star freshman center Jordan Brown recently committed to Nevada. The program also a number of talented transfers entering the mix, including Tre’Shawn Thomas, Nisre Zouzoua and Ehab Amin.

If the Martin twins return to school (and that is a big if) then Nevada could have a potentially elite offense next season. But even if the Martin twins go pro, Nevada should still be the favorite in the Mountain West and a threat to once again make the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Dewan Huell returning to Miami for junior season

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Miami received some positive news on Saturday afternoon as the school announced the return of forward Dewan Huell for his junior season.

After testing the NBA draft waters without an agent, the 6-foot-11 Huell will be back for the Hurricanes. Starting all 32 games for the program last season, Huell averaged 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the floor.

“After getting feedback from NBA teams and talking it over with my family and coaches, I would like to announce that I will be returning to Miami for my junior season,” Huell said in the release. “I’m really excited to get back to work with my brothers so we can accomplish more than ever during the 2018-19 season.”

A former McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, Huell’s return gives the Hurricanes stability in the front court for next season as he’ll play with other returning players like Sam Waardenburg and Ebuka Izundu. With Miami losing both Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown early to the 2018 NBA Draft, Huell could be expected to provide more offensive production as a junior.

Bruce Weber receives contract extension at Kansas State

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Kansas State and head coach Bruce Weber have agreed to a two-year contract extension, according to a release from the school.

After leading the Wildcats to a surprising Elite Eight appearance in March, Weber will be the head coach at Kansas State through the 2022-23 season, which gives him another five seasons to work with. Weber will be paid $2.5 million in 2018-19 and he’ll receive a $100,000 increase to his salary in each remaining contract year.

Weber had already signed a two-year extension in August 2017, but this move gives the veteran head coach more job security (and positive recruiting perception) for the next few seasons.

“We are very fortunate to have not only such an outstanding basketball coach but also a man in Coach Weber who conducts his program with integrity and class and is widely respected across the nation,” Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor said. “Certainly last season was one of the most memorable postseason runs in our program’s history, and we are excited for next season and the years ahead under Coach Weber’s leadership.”

With Kansas State returning most of its roster from last season, including the return of guard Barry Brown from the 2018 NBA Draft process, expectations are sky-high for Weber and the Wildcats this season. Currently ranked as the No. 8 team in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25, Kansas State’s veteran club could give Kansas a serious run for a Big 12 regular season title this season.

Northwestern loses incoming freshman point guard

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Northwestern and incoming freshman point guard Jordan Lathon are parting ways. The 6-foot-4 Lathon was viewed as a potential candidate to replace Bryant McIntosh at lead guard for the Wildcats this season, but Northwestern has reportedly revoked his offer of admission and basketball scholarship.

It is unclear why Lathon was unable to be admitted into Northwestern, but the school’s VP for University Relations, Alan Cubbage, gave a statement to Inside NU’s Davis Rich and Caleb Friedman.

“Northwestern University has revoked its offers of admission and an athletic scholarship for Jordan Lathon, a recruit for the Northwestern men’s basketball team,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the privacy of the student, the University will have no further public comment.”

Lathon later acknowledged the situation in a tweet explaining to fans that he will no longer be attending Northwestern.

While it is unclear why Lathon and Northwestern are parting ways, other high-major programs are already very interested in bringing in Lathon for next season. Oklahoma State immediately jumped in with a scholarship offer. There is also speculation that Lathon, a native of Grandview, Missouri, could also hear from the in-state Tigers as well.

It’ll be interesting to see where Lathon lands, and how this also affects Northwestern’s point guard situation. The loss of a four-year starter like McIntosh will be tough to fill, especially since Lathon was committed to Northwestern since last June. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wildcats and head coach Chris Collins seek out a veteran point guard graduate transfer to try and get some immediate help.

Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr. returning to school

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Nebraska received some important news on Friday night as senior guard James Palmer Jr. will be back for next season.

The 6-foot-6 Palmer had tested the NBA draft waters, but he decided to return to the Cornhuskers. After putting up 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season, Palmer is expected to be an All-Big Ten candidate once again this season. Palmer shot 44 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three-point range last season.

After transferring in from Miami, Palmer became the Huskers’ go-to scorer last season in helping Nebraska to a 22-win season and NIT appearance.

With Palmer back, Nebraska will have some legitimate expectations for the upcoming season, especially if the team’s second-leading scorer, Isaac Copeland Jr., also returns from the NBA draft process.