Late Night Snacks: No. 19 North Carolina, No. 16 Michigan win OT thrillers

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 19 North Carolina 85, N.C. State 84 (OT)

The individual duel between North Carolina’s Marcus Paige and N.C. State’s T.J. Warren was a sight to behold in Raleigh, with both surpassing the 30-point mark. But after a Warren free throw with 7.7 remaining in overtime gave the Wolfpack an 84-83 lead it was Paige who landed the final blow, scoring on a layup with nine tenths of a second remaining. Paige finished the game with 35 points and Warren 36, with N.C. State missing out on what would have been a much-needed quality win for its resume.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

1) No. 15 Iowa State 83, West Virginia 66

The Cyclones were able to pay back the Mountaineers for an embarrassing loss in Morgantown earlier this season, with Georges Niang going for 24 points and seven rebounds and DeAndre Kane adding 17 and 11 rebounds. WVU shot 35.8% from the field in the loss, and the result may mean the end of their slim hopes of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

2) No. 24 Texas 74, Baylor 69

The Longhorns led by as many as 18 points in the first half before holding on down the stretch, snapping the visiting Bears’ four-game win streak. Cameron Ridley accounted for 20 points and ten rebounds and Javan Felix scored 21 points to lead the way for Texas. One problem for Baylor: Isaiah Austin shooting 1-for-10 from the field.

3) No. 16 Michigan 77, Purdue 76

A Glenn Robinson III basket as time expired proved to be the difference as the Wolverines maintained their lead atop the Big Ten. Robinson, playing against the school his father led to the Elite Eight in 1994, finished the 17 points to pace four Michigan players in double figures. Terone Johnson scored 22 points and younger brother Ronnie added 21 for Purdue, which saw all five scorers finish in double figures.  

STARRED

1) Marcus Paige (North Carolina) and T.J. Warren (N.C. State)

Paige scored 35 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists in the Tar Heels’ 85-84 overtime win at N.C. State. As for Warren, he scored 36 points to lead the Wolfpack.

2) Jordan McRae (Tennessee) 

In a game the Volunteers couldn’t afford to lose, McRae posted 29 points, ten rebounds and four assists in Tennessee’ 75-68 win at Mississippi State.

3) Andrew Rowsey (UNC Asheville)

Rowsey was excellent albeit in a losing effort, scoring 37 points (12-for-20 FG) and grabbing six rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 107-100 overtime loss at Winthrop.

STRUGGLED

1) Isaiah Austin (Baylor) 

Shot 1-for-10 from the field in the Bears’ 74-69 loss at No. 24 Texas.

2) Miami 

The Hurricanes shot 26.1% from the field and 0-for-12 from beyond the arc in their 65-40 loss at No. 12 Virginia. Prior to Wednesday, Virginia hadn’t held an opponent without a made three-pointer since 1999.

3) Terran Petteway (Nebraska)

Petteway scored 13 points but did not shoot well in doing so, making just five of his 18 attempts in the Cornhuskers’ 60-49 loss at Illinois.

NOTABLES

  • Pittsburgh ended its three-game losing streak with a 66-59 win at Boston College. Talib Zanna paced the Panthers with 21 points and six rebounds, scoring 11 points in the game’s final nine and a half minutes.
  • UNLV grabbed sole possession of third place in the Mountain West with a 78-70 win over Colorado State. The starting backcourt of Bryce Dejean-Jones, Kevin Olekaibe and Deville Smith combined to score 48 points.
  • Jahii Carson scored 24 points as Arizona State rebounded from a disappointing effort at Utah by beating Stanford, 76-64.
  • One bubble team that didn’t take care of business: Richmond. The Spiders trailed by as much as 23 early in the second half before falling 69-60 at George Mason.
  • John Brown scored 27 points and grabbed ten rebounds to lead High Point to a 70-67 win over VMI, moving the Panthers into sole possession of first place in North Division of the Big South.
  • Jarvis Threatt made his return to the starting lineup and performed well, tallying 24 points, six assists and four steals in Delaware’s 70-57 win over UNCW.
  • Javon McCrea scored 15 points to lead Buffalo to a 69-64 win at Ohio, increasing the Bulls’ lead in the MAC East two two games.
  • Nick Johnson led five players in double figures with 22 points as No. 3 Arizona avenged its loss at Cal earlier this season, beating the Golden Bears 87-59.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

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.