Late Night Snacks: Three guards shine brightest on Saturday

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 2 Wisconsin 85, No. 7 Oregon 77

The Badgers got 19 points out of Frank Kaminsky to lead five players in double figures and came back from 12 points down at the half to knock off an Oregon team that many people believe would pull off the upset. While the final score makes it look like the Badgers pulled away down the stretch, that was more the result of three late free throws. Joseph Young missed a three that would have tied the game with 15 seconds left.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 11 Dayton 55, N0. 3 Syracuse 53: The Flyers advanced to their first Sweet 16 in 30 years as Archie Miller and company were able to hang on down the stretch. Tyler Ennis went into takeover mode late, but he missed a pair of jump shots in the first 10 seconds that would have won the game for the Orange. The big question now: Will Ennis be back next season?

2. No. 7 UConn 77, No. 2 Villanova 65: The Huskies advanced to their first Sweet 16 under the guidance of Kevin Ollie, knocking off an old Big East nemesis to advance. Shabazz Napier was fantastic as always, but it was the play of guys off the bench that made the biggest difference.

3. No. 4 Michigan State 80, No. 12 Harvard 73: The Crimson gave the Spartans a scare, erasing a 17-point second half deficit to take the lead with less than five minutes remaining. But the popular pick to win the National Title survived, spurred on by a pair of massive threes from Gary Harris.

STARRED

1. Xavier Thames, San Diego State: The Aztecs sent Cinderella packing thanks to 30 points and eight assists from Thames. At one point in the second half, with No. 4 SDSU up 55-43 on No. 12 North Dakota State, Thames was responsible for 46 Aztec points and 15 of their 19 field goals.

2. Scottie Wilbekin, Florida: Wilbekin finished with 21 points, hitting big shot after big shot down the stretch, each one tougher than the last, as No. 1 Florida advanced past No. 9 Pitt, 61-45.

3. Shabazz Napier, UConn: He finished with 25 points on 9-for-13 shooting despite playing just eight first half minutes and dealing with a tweaked left ankle and a bruised right shin.

STRUGGLED

1. Texas: The No. 7 Longhorns shot just 37.1% from the floor and allowed No. 2 Michigan to hit 14 threes in a game that wasn’t all that close.

2. Russ Smith, Louisville: No. 4 Louisville advanced to the Sweet 16 despite the fact that Smith was just 6-for-19 from the field, 1-for-6 from three and committed 13 turnovers in two games.

3. Syracuse: The Orange managed just 53 points and shot 0-for-10 from three in their loss to Dayton. C.J. Fair was 4-for-14 from the floor, Trevor Cooney was 1-for-6 and Tyler Ennis took over late but finished the night just 7-for-21, missing two game-winning shots.

Washington lands second 2019 verbal commitment

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With three of its four seniors heading into the 2018-19 season being perimeter players, Washington has some holes to address in its 2019 recruiting class. Thus far Mike Hopkins and his staff have done just that, with both of the program’s commits to date being perimeter players.

The second verbal commitment was received Tuesday afternoon, as three-star combo guard Marcus Tsohonis announced that he will be a Husky. Tsohonis, a Jefferson HS (Portland, Oregon) product who played his grassroots basketball for Seattle Rotary Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit, joins four-star wing RaeQuan Battle in Washington’s 2019 class to date.

The 6-foot-4 Tsohonis, who can play on or off the ball, held offers from multiple Pac-12 programs but ultimately made the decision to make the trek north from Portland to Seattle for his collegiate career. His verbal commitment comes on the heels of an official visit to Washington that was taken this past weekend.

As noted above Washington will loose some key contributors on the perimeter after the upcoming season, with David Crisp, Mathysse Thybulle and Dominic Green all entering their final season of eligibility (big man Noah Dickerson is also a senior). The additions of Tsohonis and Battle should help Washington when it comes to filling those holes and continuing to build upon the foundation laid during Hopkins’ first season at the helm.

Four-star guard becomes LSU’s first 2019 commit

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Expected to be a factor both within the SEC and nationally this season, these are good times for the LSU men’s basketball program. Head coach Will Wade and his staff received more good news Tuesday, as 6-foot-2 combo guard James Bishop (Baltimore, Maryland/Mount St. Joseph HS) announced that he will be a Tiger next season.

Bishop, considered to be one of the top scoring guards in the class, is LSU’s first 2019 verbal commitment. Bishop’s pledge comes just over a week after his official visit to LSU, and just days after a visit to St. John’s. LSU beat out St. John’s, NC State, Marquette and VCU in the race for the Baltimore product, and given the Tigers’ current roster this is an important commitment.

LSU’s 2018 recruiting class is considered to be one of the nation’s best, with point guard Javonte Smart being one of the five-star prospects in that quintet (forwards Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams being the others). Add in sophomore Tremont Waters, who’s coming off of an outstanding freshman season, and LSU could be in a position next summer where its top two lead guards are at the very least testing the NBA draft waters.

Landing Bishop gives LSU another talented option, and some cover should the program lose either Waters or Smart — or both — in 2019.

Calhoun officially named head coach at DIII St. Joseph

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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jim Calhoun has officially been named the head coach at Division III University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut.

The Hall of Famer had already announced he would be taking the job and has been working for a year to establish a men’s basketball program at the small Catholic university, which was an all-women’s school until this school year.

Calhoun also has continued to serve in an advisory role at UConn, where he served as coach for 26 seasons and led the Huskies to three of their four national titles before retiring in 2012.

The 76-year-old will return to the sidelines with a career record of 873-380 when the Blue Jays open the season on Nov. 9 against William Paterson University.

That game will be played at Trinity College in Hartford, which has a gym that seats about 2,200 people, about 1,000 more than the gymnasium at Saint Joseph.

Oregon State announces addition of transfer Payton Dastrup

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Tuesday afternoon Oregon State announced that former BYU power forward Payton Dastrup has joined the program as a transfer. Dastrup, who averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in just under eight minutes per game last season, has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Oregon State will file a waiver on his behalf in hopes that Dastrup will be granted immediate eligibility.

Should the waiver request be denied, Dastrup will not be eligible to play until the 2019-20 season. For Oregon State’s sake, even with Dastrup’s career numbers he would fill a need for a team that bid farewell to its best big man during the spring.

Drew Eubanks’ decision to turn pro left a noticeable hole in Oregon State’s interior rotation, with senior Gligorije Rakocevic and junior Ben Kone being the most experienced returnees. Those two combined to average 3.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2017-18, with Rakocevic averaging 10.6 minutes per game in 27 appearances off the bench.

In addition to those two the Beavers add three scholarship newcomers to the mix this season in junior college transfer Kylor Kelley and freshmen Warren Washington and Jack Wilson. Dastrup has the ability to step away from the basket, which would give Oregon State a little versatility in the interior to go along with a perimeter/wing rotation led by Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr. and Ethan Thompson.

Oklahoma State lands third 2019 commitment

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Oklahoma State managed to add another verbal commitment in its 2019 class on Tuesday, as four-star combo guard Avery Anderson III announced via Twitter that he will play his college basketball for Mike Boynton. Anderson picked Oklahoma State over offers from Florida, LSU, TCU and Texas Tech.

Anderson is Oklahoma State’s third commitment in the class, as the Justin, Texas product joins twins Kalib and Keylan Boone. The Boone brothers made their pledge in mid-April, and all three took official visits to Stillwater this past weekend.

Anderson’s commitment is key for two reasons. First there’s the fact that he can be used at either guard spot, and that versatility will be valuable for Oklahoma State once he arrives on campus. Also, while Oklahoma State will be quite young in the front court this coming season that isn’t the case on the perimeter.

Of Oklahoma State’s current crop of guards/wings only two, freshman Isaac Likekele and redshirt sophomore Michael Weathers, are underclassmen. The Cowboys have just one senior in the group, Mike Cunningham, but getting a guard in the 2019 class was key for Boynton’s program.

At this point, all 13 of Oklahoma State’s scholarships for the 2019-20 season have been filled with Anderson’s commitment.